I am fast approaching my 20th anniversary in litigation technology. April 2016 will mark the beginning of my third decade in a career that I never could have planned.
Very few people actually plan to end up in this field. I was a Mathematics major in college, and wanted to be a math teacher. After graduation, I ended up teaching data entry staff how to “code” documents that would end up in databases that the U.S. Department of Justice would use for document review. I learned a lot about Discovery, I learned a lot about process and workflow management, and I learned a lot of unique terminology: code, OCR, Bates number, blowback, load file. In 1996, there were no educational programs that provided instruction in litigation technology. I learned on the job. It was the wild, wild West.
I’ve had the opportunity in classes, recently, to be able to talk with others who’ve had their own similar experiences. As we were sharing a ride to LAX after a class, one of my students and I were reminiscing about the old Dataflight days. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I swear their office was above a dry-cleaners in the hills of Bel Air. During a class with the DOJ, all of us were sharing old war stories about nightmare scanning projects and having to troubleshoot “jacked-up” load files. It’s always a pleasure to connect with other “old timers.”
Times are changing. Our technology is evolving to meet the needs of an ever changing world, and our products are evidence of that. I’ve seen the Evolution of Concordance, and can’t wait to see what more we can do. CaseMap is still a unique, unrivaled product. TextMap knocks our completion out of the market. Sanction is the preferred trial presentation package. LAW PreDiscovery has become the standard for document processing, and Early Data Analyzer only makes it better. Have I missed anyone? This is the team of litigation technology products that I’ve always wanted to work with, and I know many others who would agree.
Every class I teach, whether it’s online or in the classroom, I get to work with people who are brand new to this. They’re like me when I was just out of college, and didn’t understand the difference between subjective and objective coding, or how to logically unitize a box of paper. But today they have to deal with electronic discovery, they need to cull large data sets, and they need to streamline document processing, review and production. I look forward to teaching the next generation of litigation technology professionals on the next generation of leading litigation technology.
Chad M. Wilmer
Instructor, Litigation Services Training & Consulting, BLSS