Discovering ediscovery – A newcomer’s impression

01 July 2014 by Adrienn Toth

On seeing a fellow colleague, new to the team, volunteering himself to write for Kroll Ontrack’s blog, I knew it was time I threw my hat into the ring. So the first question that presented itself was – “what am I going to write about in my third week on the job”?! To this question, I only had one possible answer – share my experience of joining a new firm and understanding then promoting a new type of solution to the legal market. This truly is a new experience for me. I’ve already bored all colleagues within close proximity about that fact that I’ve been in the same company and selling the same type of information solutions since leaving university.

My first real exposure to Kroll Ontrack took place, as you’d expect, when I was being considered for the role during the interview process. Although, having worked in the legal sector previously, they were one of the few ediscovery providers that I had heard of; I did not have any in-depth knowledge of them as a company. What struck me initially was the professionalism of the people I now work with and this notion has since been further bolstered by their willingness to collaborate and provide helpful advice. This has without doubt accelerated my learning process and is a testament to the team here at Kroll. I now appreciate how integral this is to the service and solutions which we offer from the client’s perspective and how this should be trumpeted when it comes to prospecting those who don’t currently instruct us on a regular basis.

Moving to the concept of ediscovery itself, I quickly formed an ‘idiots’ impression as to the importance of these type of solutions, if only to provide a succinct response to incessant questioning by both old colleagues and customers as to what type of work I was moving into. I won’t reveal exactly what that response was for fear of highlighting any gaps in my knowledge but suffice it to say that this has already been refined on several occasions as I move along the ediscovery learning curve. My induction phase which took place in my first week provided on overview of the whole business, from the identification and collection of data to the teams who work with law firms during the review and finally the production process. This bird’s eye view of the business really made it clear how the various functions which play a part in an ediscovery project fit together.

As the days rolled by I began to feel more comfortable with what’s expected of me at Kroll and the solutions we offer to our clients but I will admit that in the early stages the amount of information I was desperate to take on board did, on occasion, feel overwhelming. I suspect, however, this is a natural emotion for someone moving roles having spent such a long period with an organisation previously. One point I do feel is relevant is that many members of the team here are so firmly embedded in the world of ediscovery that a natural consequence is to make assumptions as to a newcomer’s knowledge especially when it comes to technical jargon and concepts, which in many cases were completely foreign to me. I therefore made it a priority to question anything I didn’t feel I’d grasped fully but this does lead to a wider point to consider from the customer’s perspective.

It’s true that some of our clients are extremely knowledgeable about the ediscovery process and we’re seeing the introduction of more roles in law firms and companies which seek to provide support and consistency in terms of the way these projects are handled to ensure they’re deal with in the most efficient and cost effective manner. I have no doubt that these clients will be among the first to routinely employ predictive coding (already I’m slipping into the ediscovery lexicon)! A topic for another day or possibly one already covered by the resident experts here on the blog) is how to use these smart technologies to identify pertinent documents to litigation in the UK. On the other hand, there are thousands of clients out there who are involving themselves in these projects for the first time and the experience of my colleagues and the consultancy aspect of the business is so crucial. We pride ourselves on being able to work effectively with clients no matter their level of expertise.

In summary, I’ve really enjoyed my first couple of weeks in the business and everyone here has been incredibly accommodating. With my first few customer visits to take place in the coming weeks, I look forward to learning more about customers’ need and expectations, while strengthening/developing relationships with those companies and law firms where handling volumes of electronically stored data in the face of litigation can be dealt with more pragmatically.