Adam Feinberg, Sr. Vice President Professional Services, BIA
1. Tell us a bit about your position and responsibilities. What do you do for BIA?
I am the Senior Vice President of Professional Services. My teams (computer forensics, data collection, project management, document review, review site hosting and advisory services) are responsible for executing the deliverables outlined in the statement of work for our clients who are involved in regulatory investigations or litigation. I also serve as a technical expert advising our clients in computer forensics, data mapping and ESI collection strategy. Over the last several years, I have become more involved in BIA’s Knowledge Leadership series which was developed to educate the communities of practice involved in governance and discovery. I have presented a number of webinars and live strategic briefings which have been held in various cities nationwide inside corporations and law firms on topics such as computer forensics, eDiscovery project management and exiting employee data retention strategies.
2. How long have you been in this position?
I have been in this position for 5 years but have been working for BIA for almost 12 years.
3. Tell us how you got here.
I am reminded of the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon where Bugs comes out of the sand saying he should have taken the left turn at Albuquerque when asked how he got to a certain location. In the years before joining BIA, I did data recovery, managed IT networks and organizations. I began my career at BIA as a forensic technician and trainer in the early days of the company and soon after became the head of our computer forensics practice. As we grew, I became in charge of Quality Assurance and process across the company then took over all of professional services.
4. What drove you to seek certification in e-discovery and particularly the CEDS?
I have been certified in a number of competencies in the network, computer and forensics fields over the years, so I am a strong believer in seeking out and achieving industry confirmation that you are well qualified to do the things you are doing.
Many folks in our industry hold themselves out as subject matter experts or highly knowledgeable and until a few years ago, we had no independent mechanism to validate core competency. When CEDS was developed, I looked the areas of competency being tested and saw that it had correlation to what I do in my day-to-day here at BIA. After passing the exam, I understood that this was not for the “faint of heart” and really required a good working, experiential knowledge of the matter at hand. I felt that our clients would appreciate working with a company who devoted resources to confirm and certify its staff. We currently have eight CEDS certified professionals on staff and a few more are studying to take the exam.
5. How has it benefitted you in your career?
I think that any time you are able to challenge yourself professionally, you have a direct benefit. Actually testing your knowledge across multiple eDiscovery areas shows where you are strong and where you might need additional focus in learning/experience. I think that having an independently validated certification, like CEDS, tells your peers and clients that you have attained a high level of competency in the work that you do as it relates to eDiscovery.
6. What are your overall observations of the e-discovery profession?
This is a tough question. What exactly is the “ediscovery profession”? We have eDiscovery professionals in corporations, law firms, vendors and consultants. Each have core sets of competency and agendas depending on where they sit within the overall eDiscovery process.
Generally, eDiscovery is an adhoc, reactionary exercise. While there are a number of processes and workflow that are applied in response, organizations often are unprepared to efficiently and effectively deal with litigation or regulatory request.
From where I sit, it appears that organizations are starting to look at eDiscovery preparedness using the lens of IG/RIM as these groups have process, workflow experience managing and leveraging data and records for the benefit of the corporation. In addition, these groups often deal with the security of the data that will need to leave the corporation for legal and other purposes.
7. What would like to see out of an organization like ACEDS?
I would like to see specialty certifications such as eDiscovery Project Management or Data Mapping. I would also like to see ACEDS strengthen the requirements for the ACEDS test and put some emphasis behind recertification and maintaining your CEDS credential. Law, technology and best practices evolve over time so testing/recertification should follow suit.
8. What are some job challenges that you face on a regular basis?
Time compression is always one of the most critical factors. Like most of our contemporaries, we all too often get calls from clients who need to gather data yesterday and from locations that are not central to their headquarters. Indeed, that need has driven much of our TotalDiscovery development and taken us to a place today where answering those challenges – getting to the data extremely fast and cost effectively – is much easier to accomplish than ever before. Time compression and aggressive deadlines will always be a challenge, but it’s continually getting easier to face those challenges.
Another challenge I see the ever increasing use of cloud resources, mobile devices and applications and the “Internet of Things”. Until recently, data was relatively confined to a few locations within or closely tethered to the organization. Data can now be anywhere and everywhere. Today, organizations must be proactive in doing data mapping, not just for eDiscovery, but for Information Governance and Security as well.
Without a proactive approach, eDiscovery specifically and Information Governance generally can quickly become a rabbit hole nightmare. But then again, that shouldn’t be a surprise, should it? Preparation and proactive measures benefit nearly any effort – from business to sports to life – it’s just that finally it’s being realized much more than ever before in our industry, and that’s a good thing. We’ve been preaching enterprise based, holistic solutions for the past decade, and it’s nice to see the industry really embrace that approach.
9. Tell us one fun fact about yourself that you would like others to know.
I am kind of the chief running officer here at BIA. I started running a few years ago after my wife completed a sprint triathlon. My time behind a desk was taking a toll and I needed to get active. Since then, I have completed close to 50 road races including two marathons.
Last year, I sponsored 13 people in our Kalamazoo, Michigan office in running multiple races (5K, 10K and half Marathon) that were part of the Borgess Marathon races. Five of us were on a half marathon corporate team. I am proud to say that we came in 2nd among all corporate teams. The first place team was the local running store chain, so we were in good company.
A few weeks ago, I paced one of my team members (Daniel Rivera who also is CEDS certified) here in NY at his very first 5K race. We are starting a running group in the NYC office and a few other people are interested in being more active.
We all spend a lot of time together at work, sitting at our desks and looking at our computer screens. It is nice to get together outside the office and build a different camaraderie helping and encouraging each other maintain an active lifestyle.
10. Anything you would like to add?
We all have our comfort zones but you have to shed your skin every once in a while to grow. When I first started running, a 5K race seemed impossible. 14 months later I ran a marathon. Keep challenging yourself on a regular basis. You may surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.