Yes, I know it has been weeks since kCura’s Relativity Fest in Chicago, but that was the first of a series of events, each of which got in the way of reporting on the last. I gave a brief summary of the Autumn’s activities in my article Not much time at my desk as the Autumn season begins. Now I can go back over some of them to pull out whatever still seems important.
Relativity Fest has outgrown its previous home and moved this year to the larger Hilton Chicago. As always, its agenda included practical workshops for users, legal subjects from judges and practitioners, and sessions on eDiscovery practice; between them these cover the full range of people and skills involved in eDiscovery. As always with kCura, hard work was mixed with fun. Part of kCura’s success has been the way it combines the serious stuff with a feeling of “community” (I hate the word, but it is sometimes useful) in which all the participants have a share – lawyers, developers, partners, users and technical people.
I went there for multiple purposes – to catch up with what kCura is doing, to talk about the hot issue of cross-border discovery and to record some video interviews with users and others.
Apart from software developments and an ever more impressive list of statistics about users and volumes, kCura launched the new Relativity Academic Partner Program whose purpose is to give law and paralegal students access to hands-on eDiscovery training to prepare them for the future of litigation. Nearly 50 Law schools and paralegal programs are already part of this, with access to resources like in-person training and the Relativity Customer Portal, where instructors can exchange ideas online and have access to the kCura support team. There is an interview with Cinthia Motley, adjunct professor at Chicago Kent College of Law, on the Relativity Blog.
David Horrigan moderated a heavyweight judicial panel which covered a wide range of subjects with inevitable authority on the topic Learn what judges want litigators to know about technology and cooperation. You can find a video of that session here.
I was already booked to talk about cross-border discovery, and the Schrems Safe Harbour decision gave a new focus to the subject.
First I took part in a session at the Relativity Fest Executive Summit along with Timothy McHugh of William Blair, Sean Pike of IDC and kCura’s own David Horrigan. Between us, we looked at future trends in eDiscovery for law firms and their clients; my particular focus was on the non-US market, and on potential growth of work as a result of Schrems and broader privacy and data protection developments.
We had a formal panel on that subject as well. David Horrigan, Patrick Burke of Seyfarth Shaw and I talked to a packed room about the implications of data protection enforcement as it conflicted with US demands for litigation and regulation, including practical guidance for those faced with actually tackling the issues. Patrick Burke and I have been doing this together for many years (that’s us on the right) and, in my video interview with him he gave us a succinct but comprehensive summary of the issues and the potential solutions. The video of our panel can be found here (and yes, I should have had my hair cut).
The other main component of my visit was to interview Relativity users, including Richard Lutkus of Seyfarth Shaw and Hytham Aly of Altep. Many of our videos are recorded in noisy corridors or cramped hotel bedrooms. kCura did us proud, with space in the impressive Normandie lounge, created from panels and furniture from the French ocean liner SS Normandy. The picture shows our setup, with my son Will in charge.
This was a great event whatever your purpose in going. In addition to the work and social aspects of the event itself, Will and I had the opportunity to spend a sunny day walking round Chicago, with lunch at my favourite restaurant in the US, the Purple Pig.