Niche industry’s small holiday peeves

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It’s the Chinese New Year period. Not long after the Christmas and New Year holidays.

There’s a small but recurring frustration I share with colleagues in my niche industry in social gatherings and especially during the holiday seasons: It’s hard to explain what I do. It’s an industry that has been forecasted to be worth over US$22 billion in market value in five years time. Yet, I struggle to explain what I do succinctly every time.

The Relativity Blog has interviewed several eDiscovery professionals about this struggle in the post “How to Describe e-Discovery to Your Family Over the Holidays.” Similarly, the NZ E-Discovery Blog wrote about this in “What do I do?” Clearly, I am not alone in my struggle.

“What do you do for a living, exactly?”

It is certainly important to know how to introduce oneself. That’s what says in “Here’s How You Make a Quick and Perfect Introduction,” and there are at least two popular Tedx talks dedicate to this: “How to introduce yourself by Kevin Bahler,” and “How to introduce yourself like a leader by Laura Sicola.”

Here is my attempt to frame a self-introduction:

I work with DTI Epiq, the largest global enterprise technology solutions provider for the legal sector. I head the review and expert services teams in China and Japan and cover the Asia-Pacific region (APAC). I am also DTI Epiq’s in-house legal counsel for APAC. DTI Epiq provides “eDiscovery” technologies and services to support large-scale, complex international litigation, investigations, and arbitration. These include machine-learning empowered technology assisted review, digital forensics, and cloud-based document review solutions.

I am still working on this.

“What is eDiscovery?”

According to Wikipedia, “eDiscovery”:

refers to discovery in legal proceedings such as litigation, government investigations, or Freedom of Information Act requests, where the information sought is in electronic format (often referred to as electronically stored information or ESI). Electronic discovery is subject to rules of civil procedure and agreed-upon processes, often involving review for privilege and relevance before data are turned over to the requesting party.

In the past, I have written about the eDiscovery process, technology implementation, and the law on the use of advanced technologies in litigation as rule by courts. I have also presented on applying eDiscovery technologies and methodologies in Asia in various types of legal proceedings and practice areas. I have done so in industry conferences, discussion forums, training seminars and webinars, including LegalTech Asia, LegalTech webinar series, Duxes Anti-Corruption Compliance Summit in Beijing, Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Conference, and the Sedona Conference workshop in Hong Kong.

Still, I struggle to explain what I do succinctly every time.

A sign of the times

Philosopher Alain de Botton said that struggling to explain one’s job is emblematic of the middle class in advance economies, where citizens work in highly specialised roles in niche industries. You can imagine the dinner party banter. “I am a content marketing executive, brand manager, data migration analyst, pensions payroll administrator, sales engineer, etc.” If you need more than two or three clumsy tries to explain your job, you are a worker in an advance economy.

Just one more source of social faux pas during the holiday season then!

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