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Congratulations to the 2023 Hero Award Winners

September 21, 2023

XChange is off to a fantastic start, and we've already learned a lot about trends in e-discovery, privacy, digital forensics, and legal governance risk and compliance, but a big part of those learnings come from the members of the community, not just the people up on the panel conversations and in front of the training sessions. On Wednesday night, Exterro took some time out to recognize some of those members of the community in a special ceremony, bestowing the 2023 Hero Awards. These awards honor experts and professionals in privacy, legal, and forensics, who demonstrate excellence in strategy, technology, process, teamwork and overall influence and achievement.

We've already announced the winner of the Judge Shira Scheindlin Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Judge Scheindin to this year's recipient, Ariana Tadler. Judge Scheindlin spoke of this year's award recipient, "Ariana Tadler has been a thought leader in the e-discovery world for more than two decades. She chaired Working Group 1 of the Sedona Conference which drafted the original ESI Guidelines. She has served on the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which shapes the rules for all federal courts. As a six-year member of that Committee, she has kept all e-discovery issues top of mind before the Committee. While doing all of this, she has been a highly successful class action lawyer and a leading e-discovery provider founding her own woman-owned business. In short, Ariana is a phenomenal person, personality, lawyer, and leader!”

But we also kept some surprises for at the conference, and all three additional Hero Award recipients found out on Wednesday night. 

The winner of our award for Cost, Confidence, and Control is Kim Harlowe, Senior Director of Litigation Support and Technology for Altria. Kim is responsible for managing litigation technology and e-discovery projects for product liability and commercial litigation, including the collection, processing and production of ESI, as well as supporting regulatory work. Among her recent achievements, she has:

  • Developed a defined group of key vendors that we work with across all matters. This saves money and drives consistency and efficiency across matters. They also identified ways to use these trusted vendors in new business areas, thereby expanding the scope of the relationship.

  • Recycle and repurpose data and work product across cases. This reduces burden and cost but more importantly reduces inconsistency (e.g. privilege decisions and confidentiality calls).

  • Constantly look for ways to use existing technology creatively (beyond how the technology was intended to be used) in order to address current challenges. There is often functionality that you have at your fingertips, you just have to be open to seeing it and using it in a unique way.

The second award winner was for our Customer Hero award, which is especially near and dear to us, because of our goal of making our users rock stars within their organizations. This year's recipient is Ed Erkes, eDiscovery Examiner for Aflac. Ed worked in the corporate forensic field and then in consulting for a decade, after which they moved into the e-discovery field and implemented an enterprise eDiscovery tool at an Atlanta company and maintained it for 4 years. In 2018, they started working at their current company, a major insurance company, and in early 2020 implemented the Exterro E-Discovery Solution.

During the past three years, 78 lawyers and other Privacy, HR and Compliance investigators at the company have been trained on the Exterro system to do their work and their comments have been things like “this has changed our lives and how we operate”. The Exterro system has also allowed the company to reconcile the active holds to the various data systems and reduce the amount of data incorrectly on hold by more than 10TBs.

And our final award recipient, of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Hero Award, is Lavell Payne Brown of Nationwide Insurance. Lavell  is an attorney who leads an in-house Center of Excellence which owns the entire litigation portfolio for Nationwide, which sits at the intersection of legal and technical, and serves as the liaison between e-discovery and matter owning attorneys. They are able to show millions of savings in hard dollars due to successfully bringing much of the litigation process in-house and centralizing management of it.

At work, Lavell works to lift others by engaging in work like chairing committees for minorities, sitting on the Council for the Office of the CLO, editing and producing the quarterly company DE&I Newsletter, advising on the Talent and Retention group, and involvement in the Pro-Bono committee. She also shows up in her community, chairing the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) Committee in her town, and serving on the school district equity steering committee.

Congratulations to all our 2023 Hero Award Winners!

To learn more about the Hero Awards and Exterro XChange, visit our website.

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