Blog

San Francisco Days, San Francisco Nights

Since joining DiscoverReady about two months ago, I’ve been enjoying my “San Francisco Days” tremendously.  Last week I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Corporate Counsel Conference West Coast, on the topic of “Reducing the Cost of E-Discovery.”  In addition to exploring how litigants can reduce costs by focusing on the e-discovery themes of reasonableness, proportionality, transparency, and cooperation, I also discussed how to reduce the cost – and increase the quality – of document review by adopting a process-driven, well-documented approach.  Our moderator, Mark Michels of Cisco, did a wonderful job of keeping the discussion lively, interactive, and provocative.  And instead of the predictable, boring introductions typical of most moderators, Mark asked each of the panelists to introduce themselves, give a brief overview of their background, and answer the question “Why do you do what you do?” A great question. And the perfect segue for my first DiscoverReady blog post.

I came to the San Francisco Bay Area four years ago.  I relocated from Atlanta, where I was a partner at Paul, Hastings. I had spent eleven years with the firm as a management-side employment litigator, with a practice focused on defending Fortune 100 and other large companies in their most complex, high-stakes employment litigation, including class actions and collective actions.  I also developed an expertise in e-discovery and large-scale document discovery projects.  In 2006 I accepted the firm’s offer to move to its Palo Alto office, where we thought there was great opportunity to grow my practice by working with the sophisticated companies in Silicon Valley and the bay area.  Indeed, the opportunities came fast, and I began representing leading companies in the region, including vibrant organizations on the cutting edge of technology.

Through my work for these companies, and through my networking across the Bay Area, I quickly came to understand that a thrilling entrepreneurial spirit pervades the business culture here.  The desire to constantly innovate, the fearlessness of starting a new venture, the creativity of everyone from product designers to CFOs to software engineers – the vibe in the business community is electric.  I began to wonder if I could somehow tap into that energy and try something new and different.  A career wanderlust soon set in. … And then, thankfully, along came DiscoverReady.

When DiscoverReady approached me about becoming its San Francisco Bay Area Marketplace Leader, I recognized almost instantly what a good fit this role would be.  I would be leveraging my years of experience as a litigator in complex cases who managed large e-discovery projects and document reviews, but I wouldn’t be practicing law.  Instead, I would become a business leader, managing and growing the company’s operations in the bay area.  When I met Jim and Steve, our company’s founders, I knew that they were true entrepreneurs – visionaries who saw a way to take a process that was the bane of every litigant (tedious, expensive document review) and make it better.  They surrounded themselves with a team of bright, creative people who also believe in always striving to do things better, looking ahead to what’s new, and turning the next great idea into reality.  I decided I wanted to be a part of that team – a team that inspires me every day to “do what I do,” and to do it better.

Back to my San Francisco Days . . . In addition to the Corporate Counsel Conference last week, I’ve attended some other great conferences, including annual meetings of the Sedona Conference working group on e-discovery, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the ABA Labor & Employment Section.  I’ve been meeting with clients and prospective clients to talk about how DiscoverReady can help them solve their discovery problems.  And I’ve generally been enjoying the transition from “lawyer” to “business leader.”  My “San Francisco Nights” have been a little more fun since I joined the company, too.  I went with some clients and colleagues to a World Series game and watched the Giants crush the Rangers – and then a few later I celebrated in the street with thousands of other ecstatic Giants fans!  I’ve also been enjoying dinners with clients and DiscoverReady peers, taking advantage of our unmatched local food and wine scene.

I’m extremely excited about the launch of our operations here.  Look for news soon on where our new office will be located.  Once the doors are open, I’m sure we’ll be throwing a party – I hope to see you there!

Maureen O'Neill