That merger has now completed its formal stages and there is an infographic here showing the main quantitative features of the merged business, with figures for customer focus, scale, expertise, and technology. As I said in my earlier article, pure size tells only part of the story. The broad geographical spread matters very much to multinational clients, particularly those who need to give discovery simultaneously from locations around the world. The ability to invest in products like Nuix and Relativity, and in the skills to use them them, matters also. Perhaps the main point derived from my interview with Andy Macdonald was his saying that it becomes easier to attract talent because “people like to work at growing businesses.”
One of the most interesting things about the merged company in fact derives from a decision made before the merger – Advanced Discovery has launched an Irish practice with the opening of a Dublin-based office and data centre and the appointment of Greg Deane as regional director. There is a press release about this here.
It is easy to predict that Dublin will become a an increasingly important location for discovery business as the reality of Brexit bites. The UK Parliament has just passed the act which brings into force the full effect of the General Data Protection Regulation, three days before the GDPR itself takes effect. That was always going to happen because the UK is still bound by EU requirements until Brexit takes effect.
It is less clear how much of that will survive Brexit. To many of the Brexiters, privacy and data protection (along with environmental and employee protection), are seen as burdens holding business back. If they can bully Theresa May into Brexit, they can bully her into watering down data protection (not that she is either enthusiastic or informed about it) if that suits the business interests of the leading Brexiters and their backers.
Given the economic and commercial important of foreign data flows, that would be an appalling act of self-harm, even by Brexit standards, and is perhaps unlikely to happen. There are nevertheless significant attractions in an English-speaking, well-educated workforce in the same time zone as London and bound by the same data protection practices as obtain in the EU, and this may well be a significant contributor to the success of Dublin-based eDiscovery businesses.