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The Value of Partnership in a Crisis

Sam Bock

In this uncertain time, one thing is for sure: The COVID-19 crisis will have lasting effects on our economy and our lives. While we don’t yet know what those will be, it’s safe to say they’ll require some uncomfortable adjustment.

The good news? You don’t have to face this alone.

With unsettling headlines about the pandemic constantly looming, it’s all too easy to feel isolated and underwater. But the Relativity community is a resilient and friendly one, and we’re humbled to hear from so many of you that leaning on each other has been a big help as you’ve done your best to maintain business operations and keep your chin up in this unpredictable landscape.

For first-hand insight into just how valuable relationships have been for the legal industry of late—and how they’ll help pave the way forward—we turned to the experts: our network of partners. Here’s what they had to say about the transition to remote work, what advice they have for others in the community, and what they see on the horizon as we all find our “new normal.”

“Our industry can be stressful and often involves tight deadlines and out-of-hours work. Building strong relationships with clients has always been key to our success at Anexsys. This has set us up well for the transition to remote work—I've even managed to introduce my daughter to a few clients on calls, and I think we all enjoy something a little different before jumping into work during this strange time.”

Stu Craft, Director of Technical Services, Anexsys

“RelativityOne has been key to BDO’s ability to serve our e-discovery clients without disruption in the COVID-19 crisis. The combination of RelativityOne, an inherently remote cloud-based offering; BDO’s transition to a cloud-based infrastructure; and both BDO’s and Relativity’s rapid conversion to remote workforces has given BDO the ability to support our clients without disruption while simultaneously protecting our most critical asset: our employees.”

Jenna Aira-Ventrella, National Leader, Global Forensic Technology Services, BDO

“This crisis is ultimately putting everyone in a situation where they need to innovate, react, and adapt in a very short space of time. This is the ultimate resilience challenge. Flexibility and adaptation are key; we need to embrace the change and try to see it as an opportunity.”

Inés Rubio, Global Practice Lead – eDiscovery & Forensics, BSI

“This is a great time to get to know clients in a more meaningful way. We are all disconnected right now, so having conversations which are not limited to just business builds more meaningful relationships with clients, partners, and providers alike.”

Chris O’Connor, Director of eDiscovery Strategy, CDS

“Surprisingly, this crisis has been a catalyst for a positive change and has brought out the best in many of us. During this period, relationships with colleagues and clients have become more personal and insightful, and there are fewer emails and more phone calls and video conferences.”

Josh Hass, Vice President, Forensic Services, Charles River Associates

“Prepare for the worst and expect the best. This isn’t the first crisis our industry has faced, and it’s not going to be the last. We will emerge from this with a distinct paradigm shift in how we all do business and have new expectations for what is ‘accepted’ or ‘normal’ in terms of workflow, work location, cloud or offsite resources, and other ways we approach the way work is done, including document review.”

Marc Zamsky, COO, Compliance

“We are looking at an incredibly accelerated path toward a more resilient business model post COVID-19. Market forces and government stances will compel companies and professional services to collaborate in more virtual mediums, using analytically driven support models in thinking of emerging enterprise risks.”

Al Park, Global Technology Consulting Leader, Control Risks

“We are better placed than so many other industries not only to survive, but to deliver relevant and valuable services during this crisis. Our clients, their clients, relevant stakeholders, and gatekeepers will all need to learn to thrive in a cloud-based world. When we emerge from the crisis, business as usual will have been modified to adopt many of the location-agnostic solutions that became necessary during the crisis.”

Kylie Petersen, Director, Consulting, elaw

“To the extent we’re seeing people in this industry still needing to go into an office, it’s often because they are running their own data center and are unable to fully manage it remotely. I think the case for moving to a cloud-based platform like RelativityOne was already pretty clear before the COVID-19 crisis, but this has brought to light yet another way in which on-premises infrastructure can pose unwanted risks.”

John Reikes, Vice President, Disputes and Investigations, Elevate

“We have found providing technical assistance to our customers who are unfamiliar with a work-from-home environment has increased the trust between Everest and our clients. Our customers rely on our securities expertise and have trusted us with not only business matters, but personal concerns for web security at home.”

Jesus Gainza, Senior Project Manager, Everest Technologies

“I think it is important to remember that clients are people first. Many of us are adjusting to new work environments, some while kids are at home, all while adhering to safety advisories. It’s a lot to take in. I don’t think I can have a conversation that is business-focused until I understand, as a human, how my clients are doing and adapting to our ‘new normal.’ My advice to anyone navigating client relationships is pretty basic but sometimes overlooked: Treat people how you would like to be treated right now.”

Wendy King, Senior Managing Director, FTI Technology

“The dramatic changes created by COVID-19 mean our clients are under stress, so we can be a constant reassuring presence by delivering the same quality service during this challenging time. We are feeling the benefit of already having well-established digital communication channels with our clients. While we may not be able to share the same physical space, we are well set up to share the same working space. Shared online platforms and collaborative working spaces such as RelativityOne have provided a huge advantage to our team and our clients.”

Rebecca Grant, Executive Director, icourts

“Our senior project managers are working strategically with clients to get the very best performance out of the review process, whether using active learning, email threading, or other functionality within RelativityOne. This is particularly relevant where clients may have a reduction in staff, effectively having to do more with less resources. We are also seeing clients take the opportunity to pursue training on new technologies such as analytics.”

Patrick Rowan, Associate Director, IT Group

“I think that the shared challenges we’re facing as a result of COVID-19 have had a humanizing and unifying effect. In an industry steeped in formality and process, there’s suddenly potential for your pet to join a mediation, or for opposing counsel’s baby to interrupt a 26(f) meet and confer conference. With the line between our personal and work lives blurred, we’ve been forced to adapt and embrace the human element of all this—and that’s a good thing. It’s a reality check, and there’s opportunity in that.”

Ben Sexton, Vice President of eDiscovery and Analytics, JND eDiscovery

“The last several weeks have certainly presented a unique challenge for everyone. Fortunately, the depth of our relationships has helped us to quickly identify the right areas of focus and to ensure that our clients can sustain their critical operations during this challenging time. We’re truly in this together with each and every client, and that is the heart of what Morae is all about.”

J.B. Costilow, Managing Director, Morae

“Our ability to deliver remote services has been invaluable during this crisis. Our clients always understood that much of our services were delivered remotely and, as such, our business has had the opportunity to deliver increased continuity to our clients.”

Sean Lynch, Director, Legal and Compliance Solutions, Ricoh Canada

How are you leaning on your network during this crisis? Let us know how you’re doing by joining us in the Relativity Community, where you can learn, connect, and even grow with your peers.

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Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.