The NZ E-Discovery Blog  Facilitating proportionate and efficient e-discovery

What do I do?

July 21st, 2016

One of the problems I still encounter is explaining to people what it is that I actually do.

If I sit down to a dinner with someone away from the industry (I’m afraid that is quite a lot as there are not many eDiscovery specialists in New Zealand), when the inevitably “what do you do” question arises – explaining what an eDiscovery consultant does is never easy !

Where do I start? 

It was much easier when I worked in a law firm. Then I must be a lawyer, simple !

So you work with lawyers then? Now tell me, I have a friend that is going through a marriage break-up, how does he keep his car ??

Mention an accountant, lawyer, doctor or builder and I think we all have a pretty good idea of what they do. However mention eDiscovery, or an eDiscovery consultant and you often draw blank looks.

Luckily today there are more topical conversation starters. Recently we have had the Panama Papers and Hillary Clinton emails which most people have heard of these and both heavily involving eDiscovery.

If I still haven’t helped to explain, I can even go further and cite an episode of CSI, Scandal or more recently The Good Wife. Sure they may be sensationalised and may not be exactly what happens in practice, but it is a start !    

After referencing some topical issues or their favourite TV show, it helps me explain more about what I do.  

Put simply I assist lawyers to leverage technology to help obtain the evidence they require for Court. In doing so I advise on methods to meet their requirements and help them to achieve this efficiently and cost effectively.

The lack of understanding of eDiscovery is not just confined to someone away from the industry. Within the legal profession many struggle to appreciate why they may need specialist expertise to assist them with discovery.  Their understanding is not helped if they still see discovery as expensive and a chore – yet they continue to manage it themselves in-house.

It does not have to be this way !

I always gain considerable satisfaction when I can ease the pain (both in burden and expense) and simplify the discovery process.  Some of my most satisfying work is when my advice really makes a difference and can help solve problems for the law firm saving them time and their clients’ money.

With the volumes of electronic information continuing to impact all of our lives, eDiscovery will have more mainstream exposure and importance.

This can only help in explaining what I do.


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