eDiscovery Leaders Live
September 12th

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Stephanie Giammarco and Rick Ordemann of RSM US LLP

George Socha
George Socha

eDiscovery Leaders Live: Stephanie Giammarco and Rick Ordemann of RSM US LLP


Stephanie Giammarco, Partner, Financial Investigations and Dispute Advisory Services Leader, at RSM US LLP and Rick Ordemann, Director, also at RSM, join George Socha, Senior Vice President of Brand Awareness at Reveal, for ACEDS #eDiscoveryLeadersLive.

Stephanie focuses on forensic technology and data analytics, including the application of robotic process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence. For over 25 years, she has worked with organizations and their counsel on domestic and international investigations and litigation, garnering significant media attention. Areas of focus include financial statement and securities fraud, class action lawsuits, labor and employment litigation, theft of trade secrets, internal investigations, and breach of contract. Her teams have been responsible for the collection, preservation, and analysis of documents and data belonging to thousands of custodians, yielding billions of data points. Most recently, Stephanie was appointed leader of the Data Clearinghouse for the NPM Adjustment to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, reporting to 36 state attorneys general and multiple tobacco manufacturers in the annual analysis of over 100 data sets to assess compliance with the settlement agreement.

Rick provides eDiscovery and forensic technology services. His focus is on assisting clients analyze and review unstructured data in support of eDiscovery matters and corporate investigations. Rick has extensive experience working with many Fortune 500 companies and Am Law 100 law firms. He is a subject matter professional and thought leader in the use of ML/AI technology with more than 10 years of consulting experience in both the public and private sectors.

Stephanie and Rick covered three broad areas during our discussion: the differences between litigation and investigations, the benefits of combining domain knowledge with advanced skills in machine learning and augmented intelligence, and the importance of speaking the truth about AI.

Key Highlights

    • [1:09] Introducing Stephanie and Rick.
    • [2:04] How Stephanie got into eDiscovery.
    • [2:51] How Rick got into eDiscovery.
    • [3:13] What Rick does today.
    • [3:36] What Stephanie does today.
    • [4:05] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – the big picture differences.
    • [4:39] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – purpose.
    • [5:01] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – timing.
    • [5:36] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – sequencing.
    • [5:58] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – confidentiality.
    • [6:36] Stephanie: Litigation versus investigations – scope.
    • [7:18] Stephanie: How the differences play out.
    • [8:46] Rick: Combining industry domain knowledge with advanced skills.
    • [9:35] Rick: Combining – the automotive industry as an example.
    • [10:47] Rick: How life-long learning enhances work on investigations.
    • [11:27] Rick: Applying existing domain knowledge to new investigations – enhancing one’s ability to focus on key aspects early on.
    • [13:12] Rick: Turning to lifetime learning when one lacks domain knowledge.
    • [14:30] Stephanie: Using and updating libraries of industry and domain search terms to support team efforts.
    • [15:50] Stephanie: What to do when clients aren’t so forthcoming with information.
    • [17:52] Rick: Using disarming initial conversations to deal with intense situations.
    • [18:48] Rick: Speaking the truth about AI – no easy buttons and no black boxes.
    • [20:01] Rick: Augmented intelligence – human + machine > human or machine.
    • [20:46] Rick: Helping folks who are skittish about using AI.
    • [22:25] Rick: Addressing the black box problem – opening the box and looking inside.
    • [24:25] Stephanie: Addressing the black box problem – using show and tell.
    • [25:50] Stephanie: The value of iterative feedback, especially in an investigation.
    • [27:15] Rick: Choosing who you partner with to perform this type of work –can they explain, pivot, defend.
    • [28:27] Stephanie: Takeaways.

Key Quotes 

  • “It really is specific to whether or not you are conducting a litigation versus an investigation in terms of what you do. Obviously, the tools primarily are the same, but I think that there is real value in understanding that big because you tailor what we do accordingly.” – Stephanie
  • “One of those key aspects is combining the domain knowledge along with the technical skills…. The benefit there is having an understanding of the acronyms, of what typical trade practices are involved, and when you start to look at different industries, people speak very differently.” – Rick
  • “There are ways that people talk, there is specific knowledge about the way things operation with automobiles if you’re looking a product liability type issues, and having that little bit of expertise combined with the analytics skill set and the ability to move through the data as swiftly as possible and get that iterative feedback loop with counsel really helps create a more holistic kind of experience as opposed to constantly having to go out to a different subject matter expert….” – Rick
  • “The more common [AI] tools do not operate in a black box. They can be explained. They are not easy buttons; they’re important tools that need that human component to really be able to perform…. It’s really that iterative loop between machine and human that’s vitally important.” – Rick
  • “We recently did a very large investigation and we used our search terms to start and we found a bunch of relevant documents. Then we used Brainspace and we identified a whole bunch of documents that had no keywords but were very relevant to the investigation. Our client didn’t really care how we got there; they needed the information that was most relevant to this investigation.” – Stephanie

Connect with Stephanie and Rick