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Scholarship winners learn ins and outs of e-discovery at Relativity Fest 2016

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Relativity Fest

When the e-discovery industry’s top talent gathered at kCura’s Relativity Fest 2016, they were joined by 11 special guests, the first winners of the Relativity Academic Partners program scholarship.

Digital data is here and new legal practitioners need to know how to handle it. The scholarship students spent the conference learning to do so in panels, forums, and hands-on lab sessions.

Across the board, the students were convinced e-discovery know-how would prepare them for their careers. Here are some of their key takeaways:

E-Discovery IQ puts students at the head of the pack

Eric Iverson, a recent graduate of University of Minnesota Law School, left Relativity Fest with a better knowledge of the tools he can use to conduct e-discovery efficiently, which gives him an advantage when planning discovery strategy.

“I know some of my classmates aren’t familiar with this,” Iverson said. “They don’t know what tools are out there, or what the issues are in big data and e-discovery, but I’ve had this really great experience in seeing what platforms like Relativity can really do.

That window into strategy is crucial for every member of a legal practice. Paige Reed, from the Portland Community College paralegal program, also saw the benefit of learning e-discovery early.

“This is the wave of the future,” Reed said. “To say I had this experience with e-discovery technology sets me apart.”

Technology is growing fast – it’s important to keep up

Relativity Fest has become the place to go for the latest in platform announcements and developer innovations. The scholarship students joined professionals in exploring new applications and tools designed to accelerate e-discovery.

“It was very eye-opening to me,” said Alexa Santangelo, a paralegal student at the Community College of Philadelphia. “e-Discovery is so long and voluminous, but there’s a lot of firms and providers in the field helping do this in a more efficient way.”

One example of a technological game changer came from e-discovery firm LDiscovery, who won two Relativity Innovation Awards for their A/V Suite for Relativity. The ability to review audio and video components, without switching back-and-forth between various pieces of software, has already made e-discovery more efficient and secure for the company.

Creative solutions like LDiscovery’s made Santangelo and her peers excited to find their own technology solutions in the future.

“Technology is going to continue to get better and better, if you want to accept it or not,” she said. “To know it and be proficient now will be beneficial later if I come to a job that requires that understanding.”

The e-Discovery community is always accepting new members

The Relativity Academic Partner program scholarship was open to students attending ABA-approved law schools or paralegal programs in the United States. The 11 winners were a varied group, coming from community colleges and large state schools, some just starting their careers and some switching them. For all, the conference was a foot in the door to an expansive industry.

“The opportunity to actually interact with people who are working in the field was really excellent,” said William Warner, who is studying for a second career as a paralegal at Loyola University Chicago. One of his conference highlights was when a friendly social discussion turned into a practical lesson on how project management skills are crucial in e-discovery.

“There’s no doubt that we have a leg up,” he said. “We’ve been here, we talked to the people in the field, we know what to expect and how to position ourselves.”

Relativity Academic Partners

The Relativity Academic Partners program was announced at Relativity Fest 2015 and has grown to over 70 schools. The initiative provides law schools and paralegal programs with access to Relativity and practical e-discovery curriculum at no cost. It also trains instructors to use Relativity and helps schools network with industry professionals, who often act as guest lecturers.

For more information about potential future scholarship opportunities, visit the Relativity Academic Partners program website.

Janice Hollman Janice is the Academic Relationship Manager for Relativity who is focused on helping law schools and paralegal programs integrate Relativity into their course offerings. She also teaches legal software, e-discovery, and advanced litigation courses at Portland Community College. If you are interested in the Relativity Academic Partner program, send an email to academic@kcura.com.