It’s Relatively Academic: Relativity Academic Partner Program Improves Tech Competence

It’s Relatively Academic: Relativity Academic Partner Program Improves Tech Competence

Anyone who even marginally works in e-discovery or legal technology has heard of Relativity, the e-discovery software platform that permeates the legal market. Consult any survey or report in the past ten years and chances are you’ll find Relativity atop the list of software companies developing tools that make the management of electronically stored information more efficient for lawyers, paralegals, and litigation support professionals.

But not everyone knows that there’s a good deal more to Relativity than its market-leading software. Take, for instance, the Relativity Academic Partner program. That little gem has been quietly building training programs in higher education for several years.

What is the Relativity Academic Partner program? I talked recently with Janice Hollman, who leads the program for Relativity, to find out.

“The mission and vision of the Relativity Academic Partner program is to get Relativity in the classroom and get students and professors hands-on experience,” Hollman says. “But the program goes beyond just using the software. The goal is really to prepare the next generation of lawyers and paralegals to be technologically literate,” she says.

Hollman’s team is training professors and teaching students. Users of Relativity on a law school, university, or college campus are logging in to a live database that has been loaded with electronic documents from the public Enron data set. Students go through an 85-page workbook and perform exercises focused on not just learning the functionality of the software, but also the terminology and the processes involved in e-discovery.

Students are graduating with Relativity Certified User credentials, and a few have achieved Relativity Certified Administrator status. “These are critical skill sets that graduates need today,” Hollman says, adding that law students are the focus because “even if they as attorneys never log in to a database, everyone is constantly reminded that the model rules require attorneys to at least understand technology, and this program helps there as well.”

The Relativity Academic Partner program, currently in over 90 schools, is starting to go international—they just launched a program at the National College of Ireland, which selected Relativity as their e-discovery platform. They have also conducted pilots in China and the UK.

And the great thing about the program is that there are no cost barriers to gain access; it is 100% free.

I’m a huge advocate for increased technology in education, particularly in law schools, and what Relativity is doing with the Academic Partner program strikes me as really smart. I’m old enough to remember when Westlaw and Lexis were launched and later introduced in schools. The result has been at least a few generations of lawyers who grew up conducting legal research and Shepardizing cases using a computer instead of rummaging through stacks of books in a law library.

Time will tell whether Relativity will have the same impact. But, clearly, Hollman and her team are off to a great start.

To learn more or obtain additional information, reach out to

Mike Quartararo

Mike Quartararo is the President of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), a professional member association providing training and certification in e-discovery. He is also the author of the 2016 book Project Management in Electronic Discovery and a consultant providing e-discovery, project management and legal technology advisory and training services to law firms and Fortune 500 corporations across the globe. You can reach him via email at Follow him on Twitter @mikequartararo.

Published at Tue, 03 Dec 2019 17:00:19 +0000

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