Collaboration – How a cup of coffee and a discussion about the interaction between clients, the legal team and their eDiscovery providers led to (amongst other things) the foundation of ELMS

Jun 22, 2020

This is a story about one of the paths I am following in this year of disrupting myself and for me it has reinforced why collaboration is critical.

It actually started in a coffee shop over 10 years ago when I had coffee with Kate Clark. Kate was working in a law firm I routinely used and provided the eDiscovery Services for them.  (This is the really costly bit of litigation involving all the documents you have to find and review). 

And in that conversation I talked about the problem I had, which in many respects boiled down to a siloed supply chain. The lawyers would talk to me about what they had to do for the case and I’d go talk to our business and the IT department and the lawyers would go and work an eDiscovery providers, and along the way we’d probably get some quotes which no one really understood. And we’d try and work out the best approach.  Rinse and repeat. Endless confusion, misunderstanding and inefficiency.

Kate very handily went off and set up a standalone eDiscovery consulting firm who I then was able to use extensively in future work – I have always thought of Kate as the person I could use to integrate all of these participants and enable communication and problem solving.  Now eDsicovery I admit is not seen as the most interesting component of litigation, but over the years we went off and broke some rules as we worked out new ways of doing things, including hosting a litigation database inside a corporate cloud (saving millions). I always made sure Kate was at the table with the lawyers when we were discussing technology solutions.  We saved money, we mitigated business disruption by building that collaborative approach and we constantly looked for ways to do it better. 

As many of you know, I stepped away at the beginning of this year from a job that I had held for a very long time (and loved but it was time for change) This has vitally given me space to explore new things, one of which has been the privilege to to come in and work with Kate on her business. Thank you Kate for this opportunity! It is proving to be another powerful piece of collaboration and fun as we try so many new things in such a short amount of time.  

So even though this collaboration isn’t in my day to day space of construction and procurement strategy, it has brought home to me, at a very personal level, what the benefits of collaboration really are. Deep relationships and diverse, integrated teams really do solve problems and let you seize opportunities over the long term. It works in my mind for the very simple reasons that we change the conversations we are having.

I hope you are having some equally successful collaborations. I have a few more wonderful collaborations underway as well and I look forward to sharing those with you in the future.

by Kiri Parr, Director at Kiri Parr Pty Ltd