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How The eDiscovery Industry Can Navigate The Big Quit

Take Advantage Of This Rare Opportunity To Attract Great Talent

You’ve likely heard about the big quit. It may even have impacted your organization by now. The U.S. Department of Labor recently noted that 4.3 million people left their job in January of 2022 alone. As I speak with leaders of eDiscovery practices across the nation, I hear concerns about how this is, or might be, impacting their operations. The eDiscovery industry is not immune to the big quit. In fact, I have a sense that we are right in the thick of it.

But I honestly do not see this as all bad news. Yes, there may be some short-term pain from people quitting unexpectedly and leaving you in a lurch; I acknowledge that. But there is a silver lining here that I don’t think enough people are considering. I believe you’ve never had a better opportunity to attract great talent. When talent-in-transition goes looking for a new opportunity, they might just be looking at your organization. I’d like to share some ideas that could make your organization the preferred destination for eDiscovery talent in motion.

Why Are People Leaving?

The eDiscovery industry is a high-stress and high-stakes work environment. But this alone does not account for so many people looking for new jobs. After reflecting on the big quit for the last few weeks, speaking with colleagues and talking to clients who’ve been impacted by this, I’ve come up with what I consider to be the top 5 reasons people are moving on:

  1. eDiscovery workers are overstressed. This is a pressure-packed industry that has a lot of “hurry up and wait” followed by unrelenting bursts of activity. This industry is rarely predictable, constant or placid. Instead, it’s often unpredictable, disruptive and turbulent. While there is truth to the notion that “that’s how things in this business work”, the sentiment of workers I hear tends to sound something like this: “no matter how hard I work or how many hours I put in, it’s never enough. I can’t seem to satisfy the requirements of the role and of the company.” That frustration builds up over time and people leave because of it.
  2. eDiscovery workers want leaders, not bosses. I consider this to be a young industry, not just because it’s relatively new in the working world but also because it’s so full of young professionals. I’ve noticed a generation gap in eDiscovery: most of the workers are early in their careers while most of the bosses are mature in their careers. That’s usually not a problem unless those young people don’t feel like they’re getting what they need from the leaders. You’ve likely heard the saying that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. My sense is that many mature leaders are struggling to understand what younger workers expect from a leader. This gap in expectations can cause worker dissatisfaction, stimulating departures.
  3. Industry consolidation continues. As organizations merge or get acquired, a perhaps unanticipated message also goes out to eDiscovery workers—your job is not safe. Workers know that mergers and acquisitions can result in the duplicative effort analysis, where people who have similar roles are put at-risk. I have a sense that this is contributing to all-time-low employee loyalty.
  4. eDiscovery workers believe there are better options out there. A generation of young workers grew up believing that their average tenure with a company would be no more than 3 years. For many people, that 3 years ended when the pandemic abated. People went into the pandemic fearful and with their heads down. Now that the pandemic is ending, they’re looking to shed the fear and take a bold new step.
  5. Inflation is driving some decisions. Workers in technology roles usually get their raises by trading up, not by performing well internally. To stay ahead of rising prices for consumer goods and cost of living, some tech workers are getting a raise by taking a better-paying job elsewhere.

My sense is that all five of these factors are in play right now. While any one or two of these factors may have been difficult to contend with on their own, when they’re combined, you get the perfect storm. What do you do about it?

How Can eDiscovery Leaders Take Advantage Of This?

If what I’ve stated above accounts for most of the reasons that eDiscovery workers are quitting, what should you do? How should you view this moment and what steps should you be considering right now? I believe you’ve never had a better opportunity to attract talent-in-transition. But to win in this new paradigm, you need to deeply understand what today’s eDiscovery workers want from their careers.

You’ve probably heard the old adage that you attract more bees with honey than vinegar. I think that saying is quite appropriate for where we are today. In that spirit, I’d like to put forward five ideas for helping your organization put your honey on display, so you win in this competitive landscape.  

  1. Redefine what it means to be a leader. Why do I list this as my first recommendation? If you put the word “leadership” into the search field on Amazon books, you’ll discover thousands of titles. And yet, when I think back over the number of offices I’ve visited and the number of video calls I’ve been on where I see someone’s office—I cannot recall seeing a single book about leadership. This tells me that leadership is not very well prized (and I would suggest not very well understood) in this industry. I also can only recall one conversation about this topic with an eDiscovery leader over the prior 4 years. If your organization begins to prioritize and emphasize leadership, you’ll easily stand out from the pack.
  2. Prize culture over financial performance. One of the main reasons I believe people quit is because they feel like the company they work for doesn’t really care about them. I define culture, quite simply, as what it feels like to work here. There are numerous ways you can improve what it feels like to work at your company: offer flexible working hours; balance workloads so no one person feels overwhelmed; make your expectations clear so workers get the psychological benefit of knowing they’ve hit the mark; practice transparent communication about your business and where things are going; buy some books on culture and even consider hiring a culture consultant. All these changes will send a message to your current workers and those you want to attract. This is like saying—we really want to compete in this new era and recognize that the old way of doing things doesn’t work any longer.
  3. Emphasize psychological safety. This point offers a direct answer to the industry consolidation challenge. You cannot control industry changes. But you are in control of how you message to people what those changes might look like for your organization. Everyone is dialed into channel WIIFM—what’s in it for me. If you’re communication does not tell people what’s in it for them, they’ll draw conclusions that may not be in your favor. Remember, in the absence of factual information, people will supply their own narrative. The more straightforward and transparent you are in your communications, the more your workers will trust you.
  4. Get clarity about the skillsets you need for the future of your practice. This moment in time represents a great opportunity to pivot by rethinking the kinds of talent you need internally. I encourage you to make a detailed list of the types of skills you think you’ll need over the coming 3-5 years. Then you can be proactive in looking for those skills. Consider working with a recruiter to help you find those people. Be prepared to tell a story that goes well beyond simply financial compensation. Today’s workers are looking for more than a paycheck. They want interesting work, a great team, trusted leaders and a mission they can believe in.
  5. Be prepared to reevaluate your entire package: salary, benefits, flexible working conditions, support for childcare, ongoing education, leadership track positions. Give people the chance to be coached. Because this is a young industry, there are a lot of people looking for the opportunity to grow into future leaders. If your organization has not considered a formal coaching program, it’s a good idea to do so now.

Where To Go From Here

The big quit is definitely having an impact on the eDiscovery industry. If your organization hasn’t felt it yet, it’s probably coming. I believe when these types of disruption confront us, we have two options: we can embrace them and take advantage of them or we can hunker down, try to ride out the storm and keep doing things the way we’ve always done them.

My sense is that there will be big winners and big losers from the big quit. The companies who pivot in this moment and put these five ideas into practice will likely come out on top. Those who hunker down and do nothing may very well find themselves without the workers they rely on today. If you have questions about anything I’ve said here, let’s have a conversation.

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Nico Van der Beken


Former Big 4 Partner and renowned forensics expert Nico Van der Beken is a key member of our Advisory Board. Following a distinguished career assisting major law firms and corporations involved in criminal, civil, regulatory, and internal investigations as a partner at KPMG Switzerland, Nico today provides advisory services to global eDiscovery businesses. Employing his specialized knowledge in Investigations, Intelligence, Diligence, Digital Forensics, Cryptocurrency Forensics, Data Analytics, eDiscovery, and Cyber Response, Nico provides expert insights into the European market and steers strategic growth for GeorgeJon.

In an industry where knowledge is power and experience begets performance and profitability, GeorgeJon is constantly absorbing and documenting real-world solutions to proactively improve client systems. Tapping the knowledge of a 25-year industry veteran augments this knowledge base with a client-side focus and market-specific insights. A leader of Forensic Technology teams at PwC, Deloitte and KPMG, and a co-founder of the Swiss office for Stroz Friedberg, Nico aligns GeorgeJon’s proven solutions with client expectations and needs.

Nico is also the co-founder of Undecom, the first global internet search platform specifically designed to congregate investigators, forensic experts, detectives, intelligence professionals, security experts, and customers from all over the world. He holds an Executive MBA in Technology Management from the Université de Fribourg and a Master of Science in Industrial Sciences from Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen.

Amy Mejia


Amy Mejia has spent her career enhancing people operations and leading strategic HR initiatives for growing companies across a wide range of industries. She develops and evolves GeorgeJon’s HR processes and programs on a daily basis, including talent management and development, employee engagement, compensation/benefits, and much more. She is perpetually focused on helping GeorgeJon achieve ever-evolving goals by optimizing company-wide productivity and satisfaction.

Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern Illinois University, a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification from the HR Certification Institute, and is a Society for HR Management (SHRM) Certified Professional (CP). She is a Chicago native and mother of two young boys.

Kaya Kowalczyk


Kaya drives GeorgeJon’s marketing strategies and initiatives. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of marketing, branding, and communications to enhance the company’s visibility, attract target audiences, and support business growth. Works closely with the executive team and collaborates with cross-functional departments to achieve marketing goals and ensure alignment with the company’s overall objectives.

During Kaya’s 18 years at GeorgeJon, she has excelled at myriad technical and business roles, developing a comprehensive understanding of GJ’s operating model while implementing programs that nurture the sustainable growth and healthy maturation of the organization. 

Reynolds Broker


Reynolds is the primary advisor, spokesperson, and tactical right hand for the Executive Team (Founder, COO, CTO). As an innovative strategist, consultant, and implementer, he spearheads the successful execution of mission-critical projects and strategic initiatives across the organization, specializing in organizational alignment, business operations governance, and marketing/communications management. His diverse professional and educational experience is rooted in the technology, corporate finance, and government affairs sectors.

Reynolds holds an International MBA in Corporate Finance and Spanish from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Georgia.

Darrin Hernandez, CPA


Darrin Hernandez is the Vice President of Finance for GeorgeJon, responsible for ensuring corporate financial vitality, including accounting strategy, cash flow, reporting, forecasting, budgeting, and legal/insurance/tax compliance. Possessing a unique background that meshes accounting & finance expertise and executive management with emerging technology initiatives, Darrin is uniquely qualified to bring stability and foresight to GeorgeJon’s financial endeavors.

Over the course of his twenty-year career in corporate finance and accounting, Darrin has established himself as an authority in tech-enabled services and SaaS businesses. Prior experience in the cyber-security, bookings management as an online marketplace, and digital transformation consulting spaces provided invaluable insights for anticipating and adjusting to the ever-changing landscape that permeates the tech industry. Being nimble, adaptable, and prepared is necessary to deliver stability for fast-growing companies, and Darrin is the man with the plan.

Darrin has a B.S. in Accounting from Northern Illinois University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids.

Allison Jessee


Allison Jessee is the Chief Revenue Officer at GeorgeJon. With 20+ years of experience in sales, account management, and customer success, Allison has demonstrated a profound commitment to driving growth and success for both GeorgeJon and its customers. She delivers deep industry knowledge, strategic vision, and an endless passion for innovation to guide customers through the complexities of data ecosystems while future-proofing operations.

Allison’s expertise in sales automation, strategy and sales execution, and customer relationship management makes her the ideal leader to guide GeorgeJon’s revenue growth.

Formerly Vice President of Customer Success at GeorgeJon, Allison led a team of customer success managers dedicated to optimizing eDiscovery ecosystems and data management solutions for some of the world’s leading law firms and corporations. Her collaborative approach with the sales, marketing, and tech teams has been instrumental in developing and executing strategies that have increased customer retention and satisfaction.

Prior to her tenure at GeorgeJon, Allison was the Vice President of Customer Success and Account Management at UPSTACK, where she played a pivotal role in launching and scaling a cloud-based platform for IT infrastructure services. Her experience also includes serving as the Director of Client Engagement at HBR Consulting, where she managed a diverse portfolio of clients in the legal industry and delivered strategic and operational solutions for Data Center, Network, and eDiscovery Hosting.

Ryan Merholz


Ryan Merholz is the Vice President of Engineering at GeorgeJon. An experienced eDiscovery industry veteran, Ryan oversees our support, professional services, and security programs to ensure world-class customer experiences for our global client base.

Ryan’s service acumen and technical expertise was honed over 15+ years in the eDiscovery realm at Relativity, where he built and led customer support/success, program management and consulting teams. He led the transition of Relativity’s support organization to the cloud and evolved their approach to customer success management for service providers. He is also a passionate advocate for workplace inclusion, diversity and belonging.

Ryan has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio Northern University and lives in the Chicago suburbs with his family. When not working, Ryan enjoys going to the theater, trying new restaurants, and walking his dogs.

Tom Matarelli


Tom Matarelli is the Chief Sales Officer at GeorgeJon. A proven eDiscovery innovator, thought leader, and community contributor, Tom’s leadership skills, global perspective and technical expertise provide deep knowledge to our global customer base. He brings 15+ years of experience in Governance Risk Compliance and Legal Technology to the GJ Leadership Team. 

Tom has held leadership roles at multiple eDiscovery technology providers, including Relativity, Vertical Discovery / Ligl, and Reveal. Starting his career as a CPA, Tom quickly moved into forensic accounting and investigations, eventually focusing on forensic technology for eDiscovery. He migrated this knowledge base to the software market, joining Relativity to build and lead their global advisory practice. He has helped law firms and corporations adopt AI-based workflows for eDiscovery, investigations, audits, and corporate compliance.

Tom holds a BA in Accounting and Marketing from Western Illinois University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is active in the local community, mentoring Chicago Public School students and coaching little league baseball.

George Orr


George Orr is a transformational leader who informs and drives the day-to-day operations of GeorgeJon. Working in close partnership with George Nedwick, CEO, he strategizes and implements both daily and long-term initiatives for the business.

Orr held multiple executive roles at Relativity, leading customer teams focused on support, professional services, customer success, and the growth of the certified professional community throughout his tenure. Orr was an original member of the Relativity “go-to-market team” in 2007, and helped grow the company in revenue and employees (5-1500). Orr brings his operational expertise and understanding of the eDiscovery customer landscape to the GeorgeJon team.

When not in the office, George can usually be found at a Pearl Jam concert or taking on new adventures with his family.

George Nedwick


George Nedwick is the founder, owner, and principal architect of GeorgeJon (GJ). Under George’s leadership, the company has grown from an IT startup to an internationally acclaimed industry leader serving a global client base.

George is a world-class systems architect who has spent fifteen years perfecting a performant, scalable, modular eDiscovery framework that can be replicated and managed on a universal scale. Recognizing a deficiency in technical expertise, storage capabilities, and cost-effective oversight within the eDiscovery industry, George methodically built a team to address this challenge. This includes forging partnerships with hardware manufacturers (Dell), software providers, and leading industry software providers to develop best practice methodologies for optimized infrastructure, specifically designed to meet the demanding needs of eDiscovery users.

George has developed clients in multiple vertical markets, including multinational corporations, leading law firms, government agencies, consulting firms, and premium service providers. He has proven expertise in working with sensitive/classified data and is well versed in navigating complex international data export laws. George has also moved the firm into creation and delivery of proprietary hardware, specifically monitoring appliances that can be placed at client sites to allow for remote access and 24/7 monitoring of all infrastructure components.