By Bill Piwonka
I walked into our office this morning to the sight of deflated balloons and the remnants of Exterro’s celebratory E-Discovery Day cake in our kitchen area. But while visually a bit dispiriting, I’m choosing to bask in the afterglow of a fantastic day yesterday.
From its inception, E-Discovery Day has always been about recognizing the efforts of everyone involved in this profession. We originally billed it as a day to celebrate the growing and vital role E-Discovery plays in the legal process, and envisioned it as a vendor-neutral, industry wide event. In 2015 the events mostly took place online, but we got feedback that while the sessions were educational and valuable, people wanted to gather and interact in person. Thus, this year organized “meet ups” were scheduled.
This desire to meet physically taps into a very human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group, which I remember discussing in a psychology class back in college. We all have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than ourselves – this need to belong is a need to give, and receive attention to and from others.
Seth Godin tapped into this in his concept of “tribes.” He writes, “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another […] and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
While the information shared yesterday in both the online and in person sessions was incredibly educational, the thing I am taking away is the vibrancy, power and value of our e-discovery community. And I know I’m not alone in these sentiments, as expressed by a number of panelists who took time out of their day to share their experiences and expertise with our “tribe” of e-discovery professionals. Below I’ll share their own words, when asked why they were so excited for E-Discovery Day:
- “As E-Discovery professionals, we are supporting the litigators/warriors in the courtroom AND we love to have a good time - I’m excited there are all sorts of e-discovery events where people can celebrate together. - Mary Mack, Executive Director, ACEDS
- “I’m happy we have this opportunity to network with the rest of the industry, to see a lot of diverse perspectives coming together, and to have this forum to celebrate what we do and what we are passionate about.” – Ross Dubinsky, Manager, Morae Legal
- “The community is experiencing raised awareness - events like this bring a sense of connectedness to the community.” -David Rohde, Senior Director, Epiq Systems
- “Today it’s about community. There is a great community of folks - everyone reaching out to create education. E-Discovery can be an isolating task - but when you go out in the community and see people with similar goals, it’s really excellent. I’m most grateful today for community.” –David Yerich, Esq. Director of Discovery, UnitedHealth Group
- “E-Discovery Day is the reflection of the community. When I started practicing, and the name partners of the firm were close to retiring, the firm had grown so large that lawyers in the same firm didn’t know each other. But this is true community - it has grown enormously, but it is still small enough that we know each other well.” – George Socha, Co-Founder, EDRM
So while E-Discovery Day has come and gone, I’m confident that we as an industry are stronger today, and will continue to deliver ever more valuable contributions to our respective organizations.