Eoghan O’Mahony, a Senior Director and disputes and investigations expert in Ireland, explains how building a cohesive team around each client engagement is critical to handle complex document review effectively, especially as the size and scope of matters continues to increase.
Eoghan, first off, will you share some background about your role and the types of projects you typically lead?
My primary focus is overseeing managed document review matters and leading teams of review lawyers throughout those engagements. My remit includes everything from investigations and data breaches to data subject access requests and antitrust cases.
I’m primarily focused in the EMEA region, working closely with the U.K. team, as well as colleagues in Germany, Spain and Dubai. That said, what we have is very much a global practice, and I often work with review teams in the Americas and other regions.
What I enjoy most about this work is the challenge of assimilating large quantities of information, uncovering the core of an issue and then solving that with a unique team and workflow. Also, the variety we encounter on these reviews. This work is always changing, from the types of clients and industries to the nature of the matter, to the volume and variety of data involved. There’s always a fresh challenge to surmount and something new to learn.
What is your strategy for assembling high impact project teams?
We maintain a large group of document review team leads who are contracted on a project basis, and many of them report directly to me when an engagement kicks off. These team members are specialists in their field and are absolutely pivotal to the performance and success of each engagement. We've worked hard to nurture, grow and retain our review lead pool, bringing back the same people time and again to build up their experience.
Likewise, with the reviewers who report to the team leads, after each engagement, we identify who have been the most effective reviewers and how we can develop their skills and experience through additional training. This is a continuous process of strengthening the people we contract, because the stronger their capabilities are, the better our overall output becomes ultimately. We invest in ensuring we have the best people working on every project every time.
In your view, what role does technology play in handling large investigations or discovery matters, and how do human expertise and technology intersect in managed review engagements?
As the volume of work continues to increase year on year, it's incumbent on us to use the full suite of tools to analyse data as efficiently as possible. Applying technology alongside the expertise of our teams provides an efficient, accurate and timely way to narrow down to a core document set that requires human review. Human reviewers fill in any gaps in the technology’s capabilities, while the technology allows reviewers to work faster and smarter.
Our Find Facts Fast offering is a prime example. This workflow employs a wide suite of analytics tools and subject matter experts working together, using various e-discovery platforms to evaluate large populations of data and surface critical information as quickly as possible.
How has remote work changed FTI Technology’s approach to managed review?
Remote working is the single biggest change in review management in recent years. As virtual teams, we have a great opportunity to build an incredible talent pool that isn’t limited by geographic location. We can also resource projects at short notice because we can cast a wider net. For example, for a recent Find Facts Fast matter, we secured 100 document review lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic in only 48 hours.
Aside from the changes due to remote working, are there any other major shifts at hand, or any trends keeping clients awake at night?
There are two key areas that stand out, and where we’re seeing a definite increase in work. The first is competition-related matters, particularly in merger clearance. As mergers, acquisitions and consolidations pick up, there’s been more scrutiny from regulatory authorities examining whether those deals pose threats to market competition. These types of investigations tend to be high pressure, with very short timelines and vast quantities of data.
The same can be said for data breach investigations. With data privacy and data protection persisting as major focal points for large corporations, there’s been an uptick in work relating to investigating data breaches as well as establishing preparedness for such investigations.
Finally, is there anything about yourself outside of work that you’d like to share?
I've always been an outdoorsy person, which is ironic, considering how much time I spend in front of a computer screen. I enjoy technology, but I love getting away from it as well. In particular, I love the mountains. So, whether it's going on a skiing trip, mountaineering or downhill mountain biking, I really enjoy spending time in the mountains.
Music is also important to me. I've been playing the drums for 30 years now and I really enjoy taking time out playing music with friends.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.