Ari Mandel’s Journey to Becoming a Relativity Innovation Award Nominee

Recently, Gulfstream Legal Group’s VP of Discovery Services learned he had been nominated by a client for a Relativity Innovation Award for Customer Experience. Ari recently talked about the state of the legal industry and what principles he employs that helped him gain the nomination for this prominent award.

What’s going on in business (and particularly, law firms and legal departments) surrounding customer experience?

Businesses today are more data driven, responsive, relatable, and personally driven than ever before. Customers will drive business to and are loyal to the brands they love and respect — brands that have a sense of purpose, are innovative, make their professional and personal lives better, and put their customers first. Law firms and legal departments that represent those brands need to know their partners in business will reflect the same values and vision they project to their customers, and provide the personal support required for them to maintain their own high level of customer service.

What do you do differently that makes you stand out and be recognized for Relativity’s Innovation in Customer Experience award?

What I do differently is to go beyond the customer first philosophy, and form professional and personal bonds with our individual clients so we may work together to ensure their eDiscovery projects are a success. Whether it is late nights helping on a project, after hour phone calls to provide advice, or even personally sitting in a client’s office to provide an extra set of hands, I adore having a professional and personal relationship with our clients so they know they can always call me for anything.

For me, though, that is just the beginning. Helping a client succeed and grow within our industry is one great reason of many for why I form that bond. Being able to make their work life better so they may also succeed and enjoy their personal lives is also a great reward for me and motivates me to ensure my clients always have the tools and support they need.

Will you share some recent examples of what you did for clients that makes you an innovative leader in customer experience?

A client recently came to me with a time sensitive discovery issue. They have a proprietary ticketing system to track all customer related support requests and chats and needed to transfer the information to conduct a relevancy and privilege review, prior to submitting relevant tickets to production. With the proprietary data format available for data transfer, I created a custom workflow to simplify and streamline the transfer into a repeatable process that our technical team could manage. Without the innovative custom solution, the client would have been unable to produce these documents in a usable format.

Another client had several decades of historical data stored in multiple offline databases that needed to be accessible and linked to matter data, and the client needed to be able to report on that data for a variety of different perspectives. After reviewing the data with the client, I was able to normalize the data into a tiered linked object structure to load into Relativity, allowing the case team and document reviewers to use the information as part of the case. This allowed the document reviewers to use the already coded information from the historical databases to capture information found in documents, without having to manually enter the names. Having this information accurately captured allowed the case team to report on the data and present information about the data, with supporting documents, to help support their case during subsequent hearings.

What do all eDiscovery providers need to do to increase client satisfaction and improve the industry?

I think my biggest suggestion is more education. Providers need to help ensure that their staff is keeping current with their technology offerings, industry technology trends, emerging technology, legal trends and cases, and general technology practices/software knowledge from the corporate perspective. While these topics may seem broad and overreaching for most staffed employees, these topics help to provide great insight into what a client needs, ways we can be proactively prepared to help our clients, and ready to assist when a client throws a data curve ball.

The Relativity Innovation Award for Customer Experience will be given out at this year’s Relativity Fest, October 26 – 28 in Chicago. Good luck to Ari and the other nominees!