Over the last fourteen years, Relativity Fest has become one of, if not the, eDiscovery customer event conferences. Attendance hit roughly 1,800 (37% partners). This may be smaller than the peak 10k+ LegalWeek New York years, but I believe that Relativity’s community dominates the large, complex discovery review market space despite recent competitor acquisitions. That draws global corporations, firms and providers on the cutting edge of discovery. I will try to give you my overall takeaways and save briefings for individual blogs. Here we go.

Event Atmosphere

The Relativity team created a high energy event that focused on fewer, quality sessions with larger audiences. There were few (if any) ‘pitch sessions’ positioning products. I enjoyed the sessions with corporate/firm panels that went deep on metrics, alternative usage scenarios and AI. I believe that much of the content was streamed for remote attendees.

They gave time to finish conversations and get to next session, which I appreciated in the sprawling Hyatt complex. It was my impression that there were fewer, smaller sponsor booths spaced out by social ‘couch pits’ that created good networking hubs. Relativity created a professional, relaxed atmosphere with little of the frenetic business development and resume shopping energy that dominates New York.

Although the Relativity service partners were present, the event sponsors seemed to be mostly technology and academic/industry players. That meant the evening networking events were well attended instead of everyone scattering to adjacent dinners and happy hours.

Keynote and Product Announcements

CEO Phil Saunders

With under a year at Relativity’s helm, CEO Phil Saunders tackled their commitment to Server (partners) AND RelativityOne (cloud customers) right up front. I have listened to the grumblings from Relativity’s service partners complaining about RelativityOne stealing their customers since its launch. In this age of market consolidation and radical increasing content complexity I have little sympathy for players who cannot transform their $/GB addiction into value based managed service offerings. Phil made it clear that RelativityOne is Relativity’s ‘North Star’ while committing to Server and the partners.

Relativity aiR (GPT driven review) was the big announcement. They are taking a Natural Language direction for different usage workflows. New matter profiles form the basis for prompt generation to predict responsiveness with rationales and identify key documents. The new UI has prediction and overlay highlights. User feedback for dynamic learning of models. Based on Microsoft Azure OpenAI. A case study was quoted as having 85% precision and 98% recall after training.

Other roadmap/release highlights:

  • Workspace recycle bin for 7 days. Recover workspace fast.
  • Cross matter reports. Billing insights report.
  • Q1 2024 new legal hold and collect. M365, Slack, Google. SP collect late 2023. Collect direct to review workspaces.
  • New automated Import/Export module. Increased performance and auto custodian assignment.
  • TextIQ-Heretik become Contracts, PI Detect and Data Breach Response. No keynote announcements on any changes to enterprise costs for modules. Customer created AI modules for these applications.
    • PI detection, review and report.
    • 26 early adopter customers to date.
    • Ability to automatically identify and redact PI prior to production.
  • Focus on short message processing and review. Messages are not docs, but treated that way on most platforms.
  • Review center improved workflow, displacing Active Learning workflow.

eDJ Recap

Relativity Fest 2023 was a blast. Great sessions, speakers and audience interaction abounded. I missed the popular Microsoft Purview session as it was across from David Horrigan’s ‘e-Discovery State of the Union’. Joe Patrice had my favorite definition of GPT as ‘Mansplaining as a service’. I did manage to get briefing time with the Microsoft team (next blog). The space themed Relativity Networking Party went late and was ‘out of this world’ spectacular. Relativity Fest is much more than a ‘customer conference’. The focus on the overall eDiscovery community, ethics, scholarship/mentoring, career advancement and more show their commitment to the broader advancement of the market.

Personal note: I wanted to express my thanks to the kind words from long time peers and new acquaintances. When we shut down the market analyst team I struggled with continuing my research and writing without compensation. I was not sure whether it was worth stealing that time from consulting clients. Receiving such unsolicited affirmation of my content and perspectives was a fabulous surprise. I made the right call and will continue to publish and speak unfiltered as time and budget allows. Thank you all.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Book a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call if he has availability. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer an investigative journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being published. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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