On the Main Stage

On the Main Stage: Women in eDiscovery Should be Featured at AI Conferences

Yesterday, I made the case for why women who focus on eDiscovery have the skills and experience to present as AI thought leaders. Today, I will give you my list of compelling speakers for AI conferences.

We should start by recognizing that the technology leaders I will mention have broad skills that transcend eDiscovery but are recognized as thought leaders in a particular aspect of the eDiscovery discipline and understand the significance of artificial intelligence in the context of a larger legal ecosystem. Also keep in mind that “eDiscovery” includes a wide spectrum of considerations broadly described in the industry-standard “Electronic Discovery Reference Model” (EDRM). The discipline involves information governance (defined by the EDRM to include information technology, security, privacy, risk, legal, records management and business); electronic data identification; preservation and collection; processing, review, and analysis; production, and presentation.

So please note my focus here is on women in legal technology, and particularly those who work primarily in eDiscovery. While several of the AI thought leaders I propose herein happen to be women of color, I want to acknowledge at the outset that underrepresentation of all people of color in legal technology is a much larger issue worthy of separate treatment.

Maura Grossman is a lawyer, research professor and former director of Women in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Her research is widely cited in case law approving the use of Technology Assisted Review (TAR) for electronic discovery. She has served as a special master in the Southern District of New York (a federal jurisdiction noteworthy for its prolific eDiscovery authority).

Joy Heath Rush is CEO of the International Legal Technology Association, the premier member association for legal technology with more than 25,000 members around the world. Heath Rush develops strategy to serve diverse constituencies across the industry, all of which are impacted by AI in important ways. It is significant to note that women were well represented on AI panels at ILTA’s recent annual conference (46%). By no means is that a refutation of the larger issue of under-representation in the industry; but it demonstrates the impact of purposeful speaker selection and supports my optimism.

Ariana Tadler has a unique perspective because she is both a renowned litigator and founding principal of a New York law firm (Tadler Law) where she practices electronic discovery in the context of complex civil litigation, and a founding principal of an eDiscovery company (meta-e Discovery). Alison Grounds is the founder and managing partner of Troutman Pepper eMerge, a wholly owned subsidiary of the firm which provides integrated discovery services for legal matters. Both are authorities on the intersection of complex technology, legal strategy, and practice economics.

Long before the advent of ChatGPT, renowned law firm leaders like Caroline Sweeney (Dorsey & Whitney), Florinda Baldridge (Norton Rose Fulbright), Julie Brown (Vorys, Sater Seymour & Pease), Rachelle Rennagel (Pillsbury Winthrop) and Stephanie Clerkin (Korein Tillery) were setting standards for the use and development of analytic technology that serves as the foundation for GenAI. Each is a seasoned speaker and would draw on a wealth of eDiscovery practice experience for panels on myriad AI topics including:

  • Information governance and knowledge management for AI readiness
  • Strategies for how to select AI technology
  • Building AI business and use cases
  • Implementation and adoption of AI solutions
  • Developing defensible AI protocols
  • Monetizing AI services

Legal consumers need guidance on several issues impacting the rapidly changing AI technology market. Recognized eDiscovery thought leaders who can speak to a wide range of considerations include Joy Murao (best practices for leveraging people, process, and technology), TracyAnn Eggen (cybersecurity, forensics, and data governance), Deeanna Fleener (legal service delivery and process optimization), Colleen Freeman (compliance, investigations, multinational issues), Maribel Rivera (strategic legal technology marketing, brand development, diversity and inclusion), Beth Finkle (data privacy, compliance, professional legal technology organization leadership), Debbie Reynolds (data privacy) and Monica Harris (engineering and product development).

Dynamic speakers on AI entrepreneurship and start-ups include Cheryl Wilson Griffin (Legal Tech Consultants), Kalina Leopold (Lupl), Melissa Rogozinski (RPC Strategies), and Minoo Razavi (ActiveNav).

International standards and regulation will play a significant role in AI development in our global economy. From her base in Sydney, Australia, Beth Patterson operates at the intersection of policy and strategic consultation to businesses across the ecosystem as a member of the EDRM Global Advisory Council and CEO of ESP Connect. Jo Sherman has founded three technology companies and acts as a strategic technology advisor and consultant to international law firms, justice agencies, and courts including those in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

As I perused Nikki Shaver’s list of female AI experts, I am delighted that our lists do not contain much overlap. I wholeheartedly agree that Nikki and those I know on Nikki’s list are AI experts; but I am sure she would agree that her list is incomplete. I hope you think my list is terribly insufficient also because you know many other female thought leaders who I have failed to mention. I challenge you to publish something naming them, so that the public, our industry, and future LLMs, are better informed to identify AI expertise.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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