Glenn, congratulations on the achievement. Can you explain what it means to be certified as a Relativity Master?

Thank you. Relativity offers many certifications that help e-discovery professionals validate their proficiency in various aspects of the platform. These range across project administration, processing, analytics, infrastructure and other speciality areas. I've been earning and maintaining several Relativity certifications throughout my career, and finally reached Master status this year.

What's unique and important from an FTI Consulting standpoint is that across our teams in the US, EMEA. and APAC, our experts hold dozens of certifications in many different areas. We're able to combine that collective knowledge and experience all toward solving problems for our clients.

How long have you been working toward this?

I was introduced to Relativity in July 2010, on the very first day of my career. I was placed in a role supporting Relativity, on a project involving both Brian Stuart and Jon Chan – who both now sit as Senior Managing Directors in the FTI Technology team - and I needed to get up to speed quickly. My approach was to go beyond understanding the front-end functionality. I wanted to be able to take it apart, put it back together and build new things on top of it. After about a year of digging in, I sat for the first exam in the certification series—which is focused on how the product works and how to optimize its functionality. I earned my Relativity Certified Administrator designation at that point. After that, I went through the process for the Relativity Certified Sales Professional, which included giving a 30-minute demo of the tool and how to use its search and analytics features.

Aside from maintaining my existing certifications, I took a bit of a break from the programme to spend more time innovating with the product in real-world scenarios. I like to make sure I understand every aspect in detail before taking the certification exam. I finally jumped back in over the last six months or so and took the final three certifications to reach Master status.

There are fewer than 130 Relativity Masters in the world. Why do you think that is?

Relativity keeps the bar quite high. The recommendation is at least 6-12 months of experience with the platform before taking a speciality exam—and a minimum score of 80 per cent is required to earn certification. I don't think people should be intimidated by the challenge. It's okay to fail the first time around. The key is learning from that experience, accepting where the gaps in your knowledge may be, and then using that to be even more prepared the next time.

I've spent between 50-70 hours for each certification, on top of my day-to-day work. Even if you know the platform, you might not be a specialist in certain areas. It requires taking time to hunker down, get the full background, and learn how to test it, break it, and put it back together.

How much upkeep is involved in maintaining these certifications?

Relativity requires a set of Relativity Continuing Education credits (RCEs) each year to maintain your certification. However, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to earn credits, including attending Relativity Fest, participating in webinars, and by authoring an article or white paper. This is important to stay up to date on the technology as it evolves, which is happening all the time at a quick pace.

Relativity recently launched a new Training Pro Certification. Do you plan to pursue that one as well?

I'm looking into it. I'm very passionate about making sure our team is given the best training, and that all members can stand as experts. The Training Pro certification would make it so we can develop a closer integration between our internal training programmes, the Relativity offered training courses, and ultimately help individuals on our team earn Relativity certifications. That's important to me in supporting my colleagues with their development as well as strengthening our collective expertise for our clients. I hope I'm only the first of many people here at FTI to earn Master status.

I also intend to pursue the Relativity Infrastructure Specialist certification. It's a tough one, but one that I think would benefit our clients. It teaches speciality in building out unique instances with Relativity, such as for mobile remote engagements or scaling and extending the features to meet complex needs. I like the challenge of chasing that new knowledge and innovating solutions for our clients.

That brings up an important question: what value do your team's certifications, and your Master status, bring to clients?

Relativity is a powerful platform, and for us to help solve our client's challenges, we need expertise across the entire feature set. With certifications, we have that. I think of it as an orchestra—each person has a unique speciality (such as in processing, analytics or infrastructure) and we can play to those strengths as needed to create an overall better result.

Another value add is that many of the certification exams give exposure to real-world scenarios and how to adjust Relativity to achieve certain benefits, like reduced costs or de-duplication. This gives our team new ways of looking at problems and Relativity's solutions to them, so we can optimise workflows and make our processes faster, more accurate and more cost-effective.