By Ari Kaplan with Amy Hinzmann and Maria Crawford.
Amy, tell us about your background and your mission as the new president of Compliance.
I am a lawyer by training and practiced for a short while in Dallas before going in-house at Merrill Lynch. I was there for about four years, including some time in London, focusing on securities litigation from the broker-dealer perspective. In 2008, I moved to DiscoverReady and essentially wore every hat, from sales to review to analytics, until Consilio, where I was most recently the chief experience officer. As president of Compliance, my focus is now on growth and scale. I am responsible for leading our sales organization, as well as our operational organization to continue the client-centric culture that Compliance has established as we continue to grow our offerings, scale existing offerings, and look at relevant adjacencies that we want to start to delve into based on the needs of our clients.
Marla, you spent over a decade as in-house counsel and more than two decades practicing at a large law firm. How will that experience shape your role as the company's first general counsel?
My professional career has been really a series of building blocks. I spent 22 years at Jones Day, where I worked on a range of cases, including those in products liability, intellectual property, and securities litigation. I spent 15 or more years there on the discovery phase of litigation and was one of the first e-discovery lawyers, having worked on the Enron case. During the 10 years I spent at Goldman Sachs as in-house counsel, I saw the inner workings of how corporate America handles its legal matters. Those two experiences together really have prepared me to become the first general counsel of Compliance and it is really a very exciting opportunity.
Amy, how has Compliance evolved since it was founded over 20 years ago?
Compliance earned its reputation as a powerhouse in the staffing world and established itself as an organization with a client-centric culture, focusing on providing talent. More recently, the company has been concentrating on its technology offering and discovery-as-a-service, DaaS. What attracted me to the company is its dynamic approach. Our clients come to us with a vast assortment of projects, needs, and demands. As a result, Compliance offers the flexibility to scale and meet the needs for the largest, fast-paced projects that require the most support, as well as those small projects they want to evaluate themselves. That flexibility is representative of the Compliance journey.
Marla, what e-discovery issues are in-house counsel most concerned about today?
There is a great focus on efficiency both in terms of cost and time spent. Everybody is looking for solutions to do things in a better way and that's what excited me about coming to Compliance because I will be able to convert the feedback from my peers in the industry into reality. I will be helping Compliance address pain points for industry practitioners. For example, the Compliance discovery-as-a-service, DaaS offering is new, unique, and super cool. It is essentially an app that gives users an opportunity to do as much as they want to themselves.
Amy, are your clients expecting a different approach to e-discovery in the pandemic?
Clients are more willing to take a different approach and the most obvious example is the willingness to engage in remote review projects, which was something that we thought had a lot of potential in the past, but just never really gained widespread adoption. Once judges began enforcing discovery deadlines and litigants had to perform remote document review, it opened a lot of minds. I am not sure if it has opened all the doors, but more people are talking about what is possible. Also, the vendor-client relationship has become even stronger because we have been able to answer questions for clients who are concerned about remote review or other vulnerabilities that may exist. We have been able to champion one another in a way that may not have been as necessary before.
Marla, how are in-house teams now managing discovery remotely?
Many companies had already set up remote collection processes and were allowing employees to work from home. It was also common for them to have distributed sales teams across the country, but the pandemic has moved everything forward. We are really seeing preparations put into practice and those who were wary of remote review now relying upon it. Many have performed due diligence to certify the safety of these practices and have expanded on the idea that we don't all have to be sitting in the same place at the same time to perform excellent work. This idea of remote review, collections, and work generally has been proven so why not give people this flexibility.
Amy, where do you see e-discovery headed?
E-discovery is headed is beyond discovery. We have such an amazing set of skills in the e-discovery industry that are transferable to so many adjacencies. Marla and I both come from large financial services companies with problems that require a broad set of skills to solve, create efficiencies, and reduce costs for enterprise clients.
Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the
legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change, and introduce new technology at http://www.ReinventingProfessionals.com.
Listen to his conversation with Amy Osteen here: https://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/outsourced-in-house-counsel/