Tamara Porter, Director of Business Development, eDiscovery, joined our team six years ago and has led our efforts in supporting enterprise in-house legal teams across Western Canada. We recently spoke with Tamara about her rich background in the realm of tech and business development, her plans on how she will continue to support the success of our industry and why, she believes, there is “never a dull moment” in the world of legal tech.
1. Tell us about how you got to where you are now.
After graduating with a degree in Economics and Commerce from the University of Calgary, I spent a year living in Tokyo, Japan, working with Executives from Hitachi and Mitsubishi on their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and English business correspondence skills.
Once I returned to Canada, I started my career in Technology and Business Development and worked with two tech startups. At the first tech engineering company, I joined as the tenth — and first female — employee. There, I spent 15 years managing the Business Development of six major US states including New York and California. In 2001, I was tasked with opening a satellite office in London to grow our client and partner footprint throughout Europe. During my time with the organization, the company grew to 165 employees and we completed installations for more than 400 clients across seven countries.
In 2012, I took on a VP of Business Development role with a Calgary-based energy capital planning and management software startup. My role was to ‘take it to market’ by initiating all business development, marketing and sales functions before it was successfully acquired by a large software company in 2015.
I joined Ricoh and the legal industry in late 2015 to expand our market presence across Western Canada and I continue to support a large variety of corporate in-house legal teams from each major Western Canadian city through their digital transformation and eDiscovery journeys.
2. What are the biggest challenges for your clients?
Managing enormous volumes of data when faced with a legal matter under a pressing timeline. More and more large enterprise organizations are facing monumental collections spanning 20 years or more. This results in multiple terabytes of data now requiring eDiscovery services to meet the evidence requirements of the matter. The significant costs of attempting to take this on within the timelines they are given are extremely prohibitive, especially when trying to complete it in any of the traditional or linear ways.
3. What technology or solution excites you the most about the future?
There are so many new developments in legal tech and in response to the pandemic — adoption has been accelerated. Every client has a unique digital transformation journey and I believe it is very important to consult with an expert on what is best for your overarching business objectives. We strongly emphasize that technology is only as effective as its purpose and implementation. My desire is for our clients to make the most of their investment in solutions that bring the best of people, process and technology together for their organizations’ benefit.
Outside of legal tech, I am also passionate about learning about other technological advancements and am particularly excited about the future of health care because of mRNA technology. Not only is this technology changing the course of a global pandemic, but it can also be used to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells. I am looking forward to seeing all the future uses and positive secondary impacts of this groundbreaking and life changing biotechnology.
4. What's next for you in supporting the success of the industry?
With the inclusion of Information Governance into the eDiscovery Reference Model, we have recently incorporated our partner ActiveNav into the greater eDiscovery workflow. By utilizing their content governance software to skim and index our clients’ data, we can quickly deploy solutions for organizations facing very large collections. This can even be used even across multi-jurisdictions, to simplify and hasten a collection for the required eDiscovery and review work.
Personally, I want to continue to increase awareness among and support in-house legal teams on the important task of improving their data estates. Taking a proactive approach and making the investment in cleaning up your organization’s data ahead of time will pay great dividends for all corporate teams over time when faced with a legal event in the future.
5. What advice would you have for someone working in the field?
Legal Services is an incredibly interesting industry and can be a roller coaster at times. It is consistently challenging to tackle what needs to get done and every single legal event is unique. With an industry that is filled with great minds, evolving strategies for legal workflows and the use of constantly improving legal tech solutions, there is never a dull moment.
My advice would be to embrace collaboration, stay open minded on what is possible and, of course, be steadfastly empathetic to the challenges that our clients continually face. Our Ricoh eDiscovery team never ceases to amaze me with their ability to make an undeniable impact with their legal and technical expertise and the legal technology now available to us.
Thank you, Tamara, for taking the time to speak to us. To learn more about our File Analysis and Migration offerings, as mentioned above, click here. To connect with Tamara, you can find her personal LinkedIn profile here.
You may also be interested in...
ActiveNav develops industry leading file analysis software that enables the discovery, transformation and ongoing control of unstructured data. Steve Matthews, Senior Vice President of Global Accounts, spoke to us about his role leading ActiveNav’s commercial sales efforts.
We spoke with Andrea Williams, V.P. of Technology & Emerging Solutions at Ricoh eDiscovery, about the early days of eDiscovery, the changes ahead and why she believes it is essential to try new things.