Georgia Foster knows a thing or two about instilling a culture of innovation and growth. In her role as APAC managing director at global legal and compliance technology company Relativity, Foster runs the team driving growth across the region.
Previously she ran Uber’s corporate division in Australia/New Zealand, and before that was on LinkedIn’s global team.
Foster sat down with IHC to chat about e-discovery and compliance challenges facing in-house legal teams, how in-house counsel can encourage legal tech innovation, how to secure data, how in-house legal work will change and how Asia is the new frontier for technology adoption.
Tell Us About Relativity And Why You Chose To Join The Team
Relativity makes software to help users organize data, discover the truth and act on it. Our global SaaS platform, RelativityOne, manages large volumes of data and quickly identifies key issues during legal investigations. And our AI-powered communication surveillance platform, Relativity Trace, proactively detects regulatory misconduct like insider trading, collusion and other non-compliant behavior. Relativity has clients in 49 countries serving thousands of legal, financial services and government organizations.
When I joined Relativity last September, what stood out immediately was the incredible community of people rallied around the technology. The entire team is comprised of passionate and smart individuals, hungry to make a difference in the world. As I spoke with more customers, it became clear this culture has translated to an incredible product and a global community of more than 300,000 annual users sharing their expertise to solve important problems.
What really sets Relativity apart and was key to my decision to join the team, is that its technology doesn’t just help customers solve important legal problems, but it acknowledges a responsibility to leverage its unique capabilities and ecosystem to solve racial and social justice problems within our municipal communities. I’m excited and proud to be part of a team working to break down technology barriers.
Can You Identify The Greatest E-discovery And Compliance Challenges Facing In-House Legal Teams Today?
In-house legal teams are expected to do more than ever with tight resources. Also, the ability to locate facts inside large sets of varying data types can no longer be done manually. Not only are the costs and resources too high, but it invites additional risk into the business.
In-house legal teams are expected to do more than ever with tight resources. Also, the ability to locate facts inside large sets of varying data types can no longer be done manually
Whether in-house teams are proactively searching information to detect misconduct before it escalates, or reacting to a formal investigation, the most common challenges in the market include the ability to gather from and search across modern file types, finding only the most relevant electronic information and keeping data secure.
Worldwide, more than 23 billion text messages are sent each day, 12 million people log in to Slack and over 500 thousand organizations use Microsoft Teams. Covid-19 accelerated the pace of change for how we all work and communicate. As data volumes skyrocket, the shape of data changes and teams move more work in-house, it’s critical that our customers can automate and streamline processes and gain insights quickly. Relativity anticipated the changing shape of data and is actively investing in next-generation legal and compliance features. This means in-house teams can use RelativityOne and Relativity Trace together with our global network of service providers to manage a wide variety of difficult data types and reveal contextual clues quickly with AI-powered solutions, all while keeping their data within a single, secure platform.
What Is One Thing People Underestimate About Legal Tech And How Can In-House Counsel Make The Business Case For It?
It may seem like the time and cost of implementing and maintaining a legal software solution matches the time and cost of salaries to do the same job. The reality is legal tech has adapted to meet an ever-evolving volume of data management challenges. With AI technology solutions, users are completing tasks in a matter of hours that previously took weeks. This gives them more time to focus on value-additive – sometimes revenue-generating – work, rather than on costly administrative tasks. Relativity’s AI enables users to tackle challenges in compliance, investigations and e-discovery and reduces review time by up to 99%. Relativity recently acquired Text IQ, a top 100 AI company, to further elevate our AI capabilities and allow Relativity to solve new legal and compliance challenges for its customers, like privilege reviews. Conducting privilege reviews can take thousands of hours and is a process prone to human error – leaving enterprises open to the risks of sharing privileged information.
How Are In-House Legal Teams Keeping Their Data Secure?
By now we’re all familiar with the threat of cyberattacks. In 2020, it was reported that more than 80% of organizations in APAC suffered a cyberattack. Relativity’s Calder7 security team regularly researches the threat landscape for APAC and has found several threat actors specifically targeting the region. Bad actors are continually adapting to changing political and social events to maximize profits from cybercrime.
Many in-house teams are moving to cloud-based storage to take advantage of increased security measures and faster security upgrades. The best way to mitigate security risks and protect sensitive data is to avoid moving it between systems and instead use a fully integrated, end-to-end cloud solution like RelativityOne. Some in-house teams are also creating “defense in depth” strategies by preparing their colleagues for social engineering attacks, securing remote work setups and continually prompting them to patch vulnerabilities in their systems, as well as
third-party systems in the legal supply chain.
Securing data is a critical component of doing business today, and legal teams can be a highvalue target due to their proximity to sensitive digital information.
How Do You See In-House Legal Work Changing In The Next Few Years?
I expect to see more corporations upgrade to end-to-end, cloud-based e-discovery and compliance solutions to simplify, scale and secure their data. Data will continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of an ever-widening array of challenges ranging from personal data protection rules to anti-corruption efforts and foreign inbound litigation. Gartner predicts that by 2023, more than 70% of enterprise IT leaders will upgrade to end-to-end e-discovery software to reduce time and legal costs. The e-discovery industry has also incorporated SaaS solutions built on the public cloud for the benefits of scaling and performance, better security and access to innovation. Remote work mandates over the past year have only accelerated the demand for cloud-based solutions. As a result, cloud-based solutions are quickly becoming the standard and RelativityOne continues to be our fastest growing product (its customer base more than doubled in 2020 and APAC is the most active region in the community).
Your Team Just Launched New Relativityone Locations In Singapore And South Korea. Why Now?
The global nature of modern business, remote work and other factors increase the need for our customers to operate around the world, so launching RelativityOne in new data centers ensures they’re set up for success and can grow with their clients.
In selecting new locations, we do a lot of due diligence to assess possible demand and opportunity. The acceleration of digital transformation across Southeast Asia and the shift to remote work structures has increased the demand for technology and cloud adoption in Singapore. For South Korea, digital forensics will play a larger role in companies’ foreign litigation, and amid the pandemic, many international companies are looking to partner with South Korean law firms and litigation service providers to conduct e-discovery inspections across borders.
These trends, coupled with demand from our partner community, led us to priorities Singapore and South Korea this year. And we expect to grow as Asia becomes a definitive new frontier for technology adoption.
Georgia Foster is APAC managing director
*This article is the IHC Magazine’s off-shore update for July 2021 issue. Click here to read the full magazine