Stu Craft recently joined the team in EMEA as a Managing Director. He brings more than a decade of software development and e-discovery experience to the team and will focus on helping clients solve challenges across emerging data sources and other new data issues. In this Q&A, he discusses how e-discovery is changing and the trends he will follow closely this year.
Welcome to FTI Technology, Stu. Will you talk a bit about your experience in the e-discovery industry and what you’ll be focused on as part of the EMEA e-discovery practice?
My background is in computer science and software development—so in other words, I’m a full-fledged technology geek. I’ve spent nearly the last decade working specifically in the legal technology and e-discovery space across all phases of the EDRM. I’m particularly interested in solving problems in technical cases. In my previous role, I was Director of Technical Services at U.K.-based litigation support firm Anexsys, where I oversaw technology platforms and managed service offerings.
Here at FTI Technology, I’ll be responsible for driving innovation and solution development alongside other leaders in our EMEA e-discovery and document review practices. We’re focusing on emerging data sources and addressing our clients' tough problems or limitations in their e-discovery workflows and tools. Because our team comprises experts in legal, regulatory and investigatory matters, we know how to code technology in a way that is effective, compliant and defensible.
Why did you choose FTI?
The people are what make FTI different from other firms. From the first set of interviews through onboarding, I've been so impressed with our people's knowledge, experience and overall attitudes. The teams here also tackle very interesting and complex problems, which I find exciting. It’s energising to be a part of that and have an opportunity to continue my own learning and development while helping others do the same. FTI was also accommodating to give me the flexibility I needed to balance work and family. They didn’t hesitate when I requested a four-day work week to allow me to spend more time with my wife and two young children.
E-discovery has changed quite a bit in the last two years with the shift to remote work. What do you see as the biggest changes coming in the year ahead?
Yes, the new way of working has introduced a massive influx of emerging data sources into the e-discovery and investigations paradigm. Teams (and data sources/locations) are dispersed, more third-party applications are in use for corporate communication and productivity and audio and video files are increasingly relevant in legal and regulatory matters. Traditional tools and workflows are simply not set up to deal with these issues. I think this year will bring a lot of change in terms of the technologies and workflows used to collect data from emerging and dispersed data sources and prepare it for review. It’s an area our teams are highly focused on.
Which technologies are you most excited to be working with?
Serverless technologies can be game-changing, with the ability to use computing power as and when needed, which aligns well with the “burst” profile of the work in our industry. I’m also looking forward to leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to train systems beyond the traditional predictive coding workflows we use for document review as I feel there is a range of untapped potential in this space. Finally, with the increase in data understanding it is key, so using the latest data visualisation technologies to create interactive and dynamic reports for our clients will be critical.
Is there anything you’d like to share about your life outside of work?
Yes! I very much like to treat work as an extension of my family and pride myself on being the same person at home and at work. Family is important to me—I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and my wife and I have just welcomed a son to our family. It’s a really special and fleeting time in life, and I appreciate the fortunate position I’m in to be able to work a modified week along with my wife so we can better prioritise each other and our children. In addition to being a proud father and husband, I’m an active person. I enjoy running, cycling and being outdoors as much as possible. I also recently renewed a childhood fascination with Lego.
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.