I am thrilled to join Reveal as Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness, helping guide development of Reveal’s eDiscovery platform and consulting with Reveal customers on the effective deployment of legal technology.
With over three decades in the legal industry, I have followed a long road to arrive at this destination. At each step, I have sought to deploy the best available technology to support and enhance the practice of law. As a law student, I built a sneaker-ware matter management system for the school’s legal aid clinic. As a practicing litigator, I dove into database systems almost from day one as a way to better organize and understand case information. I drove the transition from photocopies of discovery documents to the use of those documents as images on CD, the better to be able to get at and work with the information in those documents. I was an early adopter of real-time court reporting, using it the matters I worked on as well as taking the technology firmwise. And, starting in the early 1990s, I made extensive use of electronically stored information to conduct investigations and work up lawsuits and take them to trial. As a consultant, I continue that push, conducting extensive surveys of the eDiscovery market, helping craft eDiscovery processes and technology, and most notably co-creating EDRM.
Now I am moving in a direction both new and old. I have joined an eDiscovery software company with a global footprint that offers a cutting edge, full-featured platform now powered by artificial intelligence thanks to Reveal’s acquisition of NexLP. And, at Reveal, I am working once again to deploy the best available technology to support and enhance the practice of law.
Why, of all the directions I could have taken, Reveal?
Fifteen minutes back
First, I wanted to stay in eDiscovery. Even though this is an arena and a discipline I have worked to build and improve since the early 1990s, there remains much to be done. Early on, I saw eDiscovery as a way to “give 15 minutes back” and I have not yet finished pursuing that goal.
What does “give 15 minutes back” mean? I worked for many years on a set of fight-for-the-company-life lawsuits. With great regularity, the in-house attorney in charnge of the matters would find a way to pass the cases on to yet another attorney at the company; no one in the corporate legal department saw bearing responsibility for that docket as a career-enhancing opportunity. Meeting with me for the first time, the then-newest in-house counsel saddled with those cases told me I needed to understand something before we could proceed. His company paid us a lot of money to handle the cases, he said; they could have been paying a lot more had they chosen a coastal firm, but was part of the reason they went with a firm based in the Midwest.
Still, it was a lot of money and he wanted me to understand where it came from. It was not from the company’s share price and he hoped it never would be. Our fees did not come out of the pockets of senior management and, he remarked, that would never happen. Rather – the client was an old-line manufacturing company – the cost was borne, figuratively, by the workers on the manufacturing line who at the end of the week had to stay in the plant one hour more rather than going out to the bar or home to their families.
My goal then and still: improve the way discovery is practiced (and legal services delivered) so as to give those workers each fifteen minutes back. How can that be done for eDiscovery? Streamline document review, as well as reduce the need to review documents in the first place; use artificial intelligence software, including supervised and unsupervised machine learning, to help find and reveal insight hidden in the data as well as to build and stress-test stories the data can tell; and keep automating processes that otherwise would have to be done manually.
I wanted a home that shared that vision and Reveal checks that box.
Software rather than services
As I looked at the eDiscovery landscape, it seemed to me that, at least for me, a software company would be the most interesting next place to be. Through a software company, I would have, I felt, a much better chance to effect “15 minute back” change than at a service provider or law firm or working in a corporate or governmental position.
In addition, with the enormous strides eDiscovery software has taken and with advances in technology generally, the world of software is, I think, on the verge of taking even larger steps forward. I wanted a seat at that table, and the best way, it seemed, was by joining an eDiscovery software provider that was well-positioned to take those steps.
Check, again, for Reveal.
A well-positioned software company
Locating, understanding, and making effective use of electronically stored information continues to be a challenging proposition. At least as quickly as we solve old problems, we confront new ones. The volume of data legal professionals need to deal with continues to explode with no leveling off in sight. The types of data continue to multiply and as they do, they move farther and farther away from content that can be dealt with as if it had been committed to paper.
One of the most exciting advances when it comes to potentially addressing these challenges is the nascent and growing incorporation of artificial intelligence into eDiscovery capabilities. Model libraries, natural language processing, image classification, sentiment analysis, text analytics, active learning, and data visualization are just some of the ways AI is being used to improve eDiscovery.
With that in mind, I looked for an eDiscovery software company poised to take advantage of the potential offered by artificial intelligence. Reveal checks that box as well, especially with its acquisition of NexLP. The addition of NexLP makes Reveal’s the industry’s only true AI-powered eDiscovery platform. It also means that Reveal now has the industry’s largest data science team.
A company going places
I sought a company on the move, one with a lot of positive momentum, one at the forefront of technology, one positioned to make an impact globally.
Reveal also checks that box. From its origins in 2009, Chicago-based Reveal has expanded both organically and through acquisitions. In 2015, Reveal acquired Geon Corporation, expanding its presence into Ireland, the UK, and the EU. In 2019, Reveal acquired Mindseye Solutions, augmenting Reveal’s SaaS, data processing, early case assessment, and review and analysis capabilities. Last month, Reveal acquired NexLP and their industry-leading artificial intelligence functionality.
Reveal now has a platform that it offers through the cloud, in 19 data centers worldwide, as well as in hybrid, on-premise, and mobile versions. The platform can be used at every stage of the EDRM process. It can automatically detect over 160 languages and offers multilingual user interfaces. And Reveal just released its most recent iteration of the platform, version 10, a modern, lightweight, clean and uniform interface that makes the platform easier to use and its power more accessible.
Great people, great culture
Finally, and most importantly, I needed an organization with great people and a great culture, where bright, energetic, positive, creative people work together to achieve shared common objectives that further not just the goals of the organization but the needs of those who use its offerings.
Once again, check, with an outstanding team headed by the likes of Wendell Jisa, Ann Marie Vietti, Alex Becker, Matthew Brothers McGrew, Jay Leib, Dr. Irina Matveeva, Eugene O’Neill, and Imer Perezic.
Attorneys and allied professionals have only just begun to tap into the power that AI-driven capabilities and other advanced technologies can deliver. My goal, at Reveal, is to help build the best available technology to support and enhance the practice of law, delivering a robotic exoskeleton attorneys and their colleagues can don to achieve results previously considered impossible.
If you want to join me on this ride, take the first step by subscribing to Reveal’s eDiscovery newsletter where I will chronicle this process, solicit suggestions and feedback, and offer insights.