Profile

John
Pilznienski

FORTÉ Manager, IG and E-Discovery

Q:

Why is e-discovery often considered a necessary evil, instead of a valuable component of providing legal services?

A:

The e-discovery process is really just about gathering evidence. Too often the process of identifying evidence is confusing, costly, and time-consuming. It’s natural to want to avoid a process that is perceived as painful and providing little benefit. Whether the evidence itself is probative or dispositive, the key to a successful legal strategy is to identify and understand the critical evidence in the case. It doesn’t have to be painful. It’s time to start loving e-discovery.

Q:

What is the biggest misperception to overcome regarding e-discovery?

A:

That you need to be tech-savvy to be effective in managing e-discovery. The most important ingredient is understanding the value of identifying and analyzing evidence. A practitioner that is engaged and applies the same analytical skill to discovery as they bring to legal analysis is likely to be the most successful.

Q:

What about the role of artificial intelligence?

A:

It is just another tool in the tool belt. It should not be feared or avoided any more than a plumber should avoid using a pipe wrench. We are already using it on a daily basis when we shop online. We have been using it in e-discovery for years to help identify important evidence.

Q:

What is the biggest trend in this industry?

A:

Consolidation. Standardization. Maturity. There are experienced e-discovery professionals that didn’t exist in 2006 when the Federal Rules change led to a fundamental shift in the discovery process. There is no need to tolerate the costs, inefficiencies, and ad hoc approach to e-discovery any longer. We know better now, and can do better.

John is a FORTÉ manager based in Washington, D.C. He is a former legal practitioner and technologist with more than 20 years of experience working in the legal industry, and a decade of experience working in e-discovery and technology. John has worked for several Am Law 20 firms, as well as with leading e-discovery service providers and consultancies.

In addition to assisting lawyers, case teams, and clients with e-discovery processes, John is experienced in conducting information governance (IG) policy and e-discovery readiness assessments, applying machine-learning technologies to e-discovery matters, and consulting with counsel and IT personnel regarding data preservation and collection best practices.

John received his B.A. from the University of Rochester and his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.

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