Chris, welcome to FTI. What can you tell us about your new role and your plans for the coming months?

Thank you. I’m really happy to be here and working beside some of my former colleagues from one of the Big Four accounting firms, including Sandeep Jadav. Sandeep and I will be partnering to co-lead the Technology practice across all of Asia. The firm is growing rapidly in the region, so we’re making sure our team is ready to scale and address that growth. It’s also important to me to make sure our teams are balanced, so that our stable of great consultants are growing their skills and doing work that interests them. I’ll be focusing on building up our teams and developing our leadership in Japan, Singapore, China and other parts of Asia where we’re seeing increasing demand.

A lot of my time will also be focused on expanding our Ringtail and Relativity services in the region, so that corporations and law firms in Asia have adequate support for using the leading e-discovery tools.

What attracted you to FTI?

Relationships are really important to me and have been a major part of my career progression. I have personal and professional connections to many of FTI’s global leaders, which made the decision to join this team an easy one.

I’m also motivated by FTI’s flexibility and entrepreneurial style in the type and scope of projects we can take on, which wasn’t always the case in my former roles. FTI’s investment in a global structure and our team-based approach allows us to remain agile and always be working at short notice in the client’s best interest.

On a personal level, my wife, three boys, oversized dog and I love Asia and the lifestyle that comes with living here. This role at FTI enabled me to make a positive career move without relocating my family from the home and community we’ve established here in Hong Kong.

Can you share some previous experiences or challenging matters that stand out as the most relevant for the work you will be doing in Asia?

In my previous role, I worked on a major bankruptcy case in the U.S. that involved teams from all over the world. I helped lead data preservation in Chicago and New York, collaborating across teams from the U.S., UK, South America and India. It was a highly challenging case, but one of my most rewarding. In addition to gaining experience working on a high pressure cross-border matter, I made many life-long professional connections.

Another more recent matter, a DOJ pharma investigation focused in Asia, included collection of data from locations in 10 different countries. I ran point for that case and navigated major cross-border implications, which provided me with some great insights into the varying laws throughout the region. There have been dozens of other matters across Asia in which I’ve worked closely with counsel to ensure e-discovery processes are defensible and compliant with varying data protection requirements and other regulations.

Those experiences of working with local counsel, and helping them understand processes that are new to them, are invaluable for the work we’re doing at FTI. The lessons I’ve learned over the years allow me to serve as my clients’ trusted partner along every step of the e-discovery journey.

You’ve talked about the increase in regulatory actions beyond the U.S. and Europe. What are some examples of how this issue is impacting companies in Asia?

Yes, regulators in Asia are cutting their teeth on different types of investigations and ramping up their enforcement activities. It’s happening across a number of countries in the region. There’s also increasing sensitivity among regulators around data security and privacy. We’re at the forefront of these trends and have extensive experience supporting on both ends. Our team works diligently to remain abreast of nuanced and changing jurisdictional requirements, so we can help clients fulfill requests in a timely, defensible way.

What’s your opinion on the state of advanced analytics and predictive coding adoption in Asia?

The short answer is it’s a journey. I’m a big advocate of using predictive coding – there are a number of ways to apply it for different needs and use cases. Analytics can make a huge impact on high stakes matters like regulatory investigations, and we have the expertise needed to help clients through the process. We also help clients see the value in applying the tools in very targeted ways for smaller matters, such as refining keywords or finding key facts quickly.

Either way, we do a lot of educating with clients to help them understand the full breadth of features available and the value they provide for different types of cases. There are a handful of active investigations right now in which we’re demonstrating the time and cost savings that can be achieved with analytic review and predictive coding. When counsel can see it in action, and have a chance to compare costs and performance between using analytics versus an entirely manual approach, they become much more open minded to the technology.

There has been a recent trend of other consulting firms expanding their legal services to Asia. How does FTI stand out?

The types of services we offer are different from what we’re seeing other firms bring to the market. Our experts are here to augment and support – not compete with – the work being done by the majority of law firms. We’re bringing unique perspectives and experience in data protection, e-discovery workflows, new approaches to digital forensics and the application of advanced analytics. We’re not seeing a unified strength in these specialties among other providers in the region. Our offerings are entirely complimentary to the needs of local counsel and address their specific pain points, which is what will set us apart from other providers now and over the long term.