Welcome to our “CEDS Spotlight” where we will feature ACEDS members who have recently become CEDS certified. Every one of our members is unique and so are their e-discovery journeys. We hope this will be a terrific way for you to get to know the ACEDS community.
[Maribel] Hi I’m Maribel Rivera, the senior director of community relations at ACEDS. Today I’m delighted for us to showcase Juan Di Luca. Juan is the founder of Data Analysis Services and cross border e-discovery project manager and he’s also an attorney. Juan is located in London and he’s here with me today just to give us a little bit of information and background about him. Hi Juan, how are you doing?
[Juan] Very good, very good. And you?
[Maribel] I’m doing great, thank you. Thank you so much for being with us. I know we’ve got a bit of a time difference, so I’m happy that we could get together and do this spotlight for you.
[Juan] Thank you so much.
[Maribel] Great. So, Juan can you share a little bit about your background with me?
[Juan] Yes, yes. I’m a lawyer from the civil law country from Venezuela. I moved to the U.S. did my LLM there, did a paralegal degree there, and then I moved to the UK for work and then life have me here for the last ten years.
[Maribel] Wonderful, and can you share just a little bit with me about your expertise and how you fell into e-discovery?
[Juan] Yes, as soon as I finished my LLM in Washington D.C. an organization was looking for lawyers with international background and languages and that was me. I had a background both in civil law and common law and speak Spanish and they were looking for lawyers with different languages and Spanish was one of those. So they asked me to help them with an investigative document reviewer. Then that investigation finished and they realized that I was also Italian citizen and I was able to work in Europe and they have a portion of the investigation in Belgium, Brussels. And I came to Europe for work and met with other organizations who were looking for people who could help them to grow the e-discovery business and to, actually knowledge, in Europe about e-discovery. Back then in 2007 not too many people in Europe knew about this area, and they were looking for people to help them to develop the e-discovery as a business, as a business model, and that was me. I started working with them, learning, and I started my career there basically, as a, in the document review area, became project manager and then I moved into business development and eventually serving a client in Switzerland opened an opportunity for me to start my own company, and that’s what I have been doing since then.
[Maribel] That’s amazing. So you have a lot of cross border experience it sounds like, just dealing with e-discovery in general.
[Juan] Yes, that’s the case. I guess my take on this is that the U.S. is always the starting point and I guess it’s where the e-discovery area is more mature and more developed. And I think having that experience to start with is, plus my experience working as a foreign legal consultant in the U.S. with law firms really helped me to have a good base, and I brought all of that experience and then in Europe the same needs that we had in the U.S. We found those in here in different locations and different countries and in differences of laws. But the basics were the same and we managed to provide services in different locations including, I have even worked in the Middle East.
[Maribel] Can you share a little bit with me about how you heard about ACEDS and why you decided to get certified?
[Juan] Yes, it’s a nice certification everywhere, especially in the U.S. I think in Europe there is a still little bit more of need for people and professionals in my area to learn about ACEDS, and also to learn about the value of the certification. They always tell, when people ask me about this certification I always explain to them that this is an agnostic approach to e-discovery and it’s not married to any specific technology. And that’s a huge value because every other certification out there in the market usually it relates to one specific technology. Which is great, but in a way it’s quite narrow and as technology is moving so fast and it’s changing faster than we can actually comprehend, it’s always difficult to keep up getting certification with different technologies after a few years are obsolete and we need to. So the good thing about ACEDS is that it’s a good base, it’s a good foundation, while it’s strong in knowledge and it doesn’t relate to any specific portion of technology or tool, so it brings a broader idea about the area instead of one specific part.
[Maribel] So it kind of gives you that foundation that you’re looking for.
[Juan] Exactly. Yes, and I would say more than a foundation because it is quite intense and quite deep in knowledge. But you’re right, I take it as a foundation in the sense that it can apply to, you can use that as a start point to work with every other technology in the market for any area within the e-discovery model.
[Maribel] Well, given that you’ve mentioned that. So, can you share a little bit about how long it took you to prepare for the exam and your thoughts after you took the exam. How you felt?
[Juan] Oh the exam is quite intense. I was surprised. As lawyers, you always think that there is nothing harder than law school and if you managed law school it should be fine to take any exam in the future. But yes, I was knowing, I guess you lose practice but, it’s something that you really need to put your head around. It’s not something that you can take lightly. The best approach is to try to study all the material in the shortest period of time possible and take the exam. But having said that, it took me three months to prepare for the exam.
[Maribel] Oh wow, okay.
[Maribel] Three months.
[Juan] But obviously. Yeah, you’re sharing work-life. You know, work and personal life and all that. It took me a little longer than what I expected to do some reading again, especially of the material I covered in the beginning. So I guess
[Juan] if I would have to do it again I would say no more than two months would be ideal. Eight weeks.
[Maribel] Is there anything, is there anything that you can, you gained from taking the certification that you didn’t know before?
[Juan] Oh, as far as knowledge, the material itself.
[Juan] Yes, definitely the material is structured according to the EDRM model so basically you follow, the reading goes together with the model we use as a service, so it makes perfect sense. But, it also goes deep into the tells in every single stage, and more. So, there is extra information on every single step of the EDRM where you can go deeper if you want. So, yes definitely I learned a lot about the different steps, and I see every other professionals, each one have all specialized, mostly specialized, in one or two areas of the EDRM so we knowledge of all the rest but we can work on that. So, because I am a lawyer I tend to work more on the later part of the EDRM because the earlier part of the EDRM is more technical. Where they gather the data from computers and they work with hard drives, so that specific portion is usually done by people with more technical background. But having said that, there is people there with legal background and the lawyers managing the investigation, I’m in full control of that. So don’t take my experience of that, but my experience specific experience is that I work mostly on the end with the service, once the data is already in the platform for review. So with the examination, I have the opportunity of learning about the earlier part of the model, so that was quite important.
[Maribel] I mean overall it sounds like anyone who’s doing e-discovery you would suggest that they take the training and the certification, but for attorneys do you think that that’s important for them to understand that and get that foundation as well?
[Juan] Completely, completely. And I think it makes perfect sense for attorneys coming from the common law system either in the UK or the US, attorneys with that background only, it’s more natural because the discovery part of the legal process is what they learn in law school. So this is just the application of technology to that portion of the legal process, so for them it’s more natural. It’s basically getting the certification to understand how technology applies to the exchange of evidence or the analysis of evidence, so it’s easier. I think it’s also super important for lawyers coming from civil law countries, or with civil law backgrounds for this era and this date any middle sized organization or big organizations anywhere in the world. Especially, in Latin Americas that we have a whole continent there, we have Spain and so on. All of those countries, although they don’t exchange evidence as they do in common law countries they are part of a global market. In a way, they have to learn. They think they don’t need it but they do to learn about it. So I think in a nutshell I think it’s important for everyone should at least understand the basics. And the certification I think is the best way to know the whole process and take it from there. Yeah.
[Maribel] That’s excellent, thank you so much. How does it feel to be part of the ACEDS community? Can you share? I’ve been part of the community for five or six years now.
[Juan] It’s amazing.
[Maribel] So how does it feel having that community?
[Juan] Oh I’m happy to do the ACEDS certification was already been busy. I tried one dinner, it really helps. Remember that the e-discovery area is new, it’s not that new the technology and all this I think has been in place for over 20 years, but having, even though we have been working on this for that many years there is not any specific career or school for e-discovery. So there is a huge gap and basically knowledge comes through experience, more or less, and it’s really hard for organizations and for people to really measure backgrounds. So it’s always, it’s an empirical process where you need to prove that you know. And it’s a difficult area because there is a huge need for professionals but there is not a specific structure, place where people could learn about the area. And I think it’s one of the few, I think it’s the only one, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. But as far as I know it’s the only one, it’s the only certification that has an agnostic approach to e-discovery and I think that’s the real value because if you have somebody who wants to learn about e-discovery or wants to get certified, ACEDS can provide that combination. Can give you a certification that talks about the whole process and it doesn’t relate to one specific technology or company. So it has a little more value because you guys, don’t, you are not suggesting if you get the certification you should work with this technology or the other technology. You guys don’t do that. You just teach the knowledge and the basics and the structure and then each professional takes it from there depending on who they are working for or the tools they’re working with.
[Maribel] Excellent, thank you so much. So, I’m not going to keep you too much longer but I have one last question for you. What, right now are you reading that you think our community should read?
[Juan] Well I’m not sure if the community should read it.
[Juan] I love an author called Paulo Coelho. He’s an author that basically talks about his journey in life and somehow I tend to identify with his books. I’m reading “The Alchemist” and it’s one of those books that you can read many times and always get something different each time that you have the opportunity of reading that. Yes, so that’s what I’m doing now.
[Maribel] I have to agree with you I think it’s, his books it’s where you are in your own journey depends how you read that book. So I can totally relate to that. Great.
[Juan] Great that’s it.
[Maribel] Well thank you, thank you so much for being with us Juan. I really appreciate it and I really thank you for being part of our community.
[Juan] Thank you so much for the opportunity and looking forward to keep learning from the ACEDS and being part of the community.
[Maribel] Thank you.
[Juan] Thank you so much.