Craig Earnshaw
Office:
200 Aldersgate
Aldersgate Street
EC1A 4HD
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 3727 1146
Fax:
+44 20 3727 1007

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.

Craig Earnshaw is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting in London where he founded the European Technology Consulting practice in 2006. Craig has worked in the electronic evidence field since the mid-1990s, amassing considerable experience in both the technical and strategic application of forensic technology for his clients. Craig provides advice to clients in a wide variety of contentious and non-contentious situations, including disputes, investigations, and regulatory inquiries, often incorporating cross-border and data privacy issues.

Describe your career to date.

Having graduated from the University of Durham with a BSc in computer science, I was given the opportunity to build a forensic technology practice at an independent forensic accounting firm in the mid-1990s. This was a great opportunity but a massive challenge as I was coming straight out of university. Over the course of almost 10 years, and during a critical period in the evolution of the disciplines of digital forensics and e-discovery, we built one of the most respected practices in the UK, handling a significant portfolio of disputes, investigations and expert appointments in the UK, around Europe and in the United States.

FTI Consulting then approached me to establish and grow a European forensic technology practice. By this time, electronic evidence was a frequent feature in many contentious situations, and more readily being accepted by the judiciary and regulators. The challenge was, therefore, to create a European practice to deliver solutions to clients from FTI’s much more substantive (and global) client base, to handle the forensic technology issues that they faced. We also had to continue to innovate those solutions, to combine technology with the other capabilities at FTI, and to lead the thinking in the market: examples being our information governance practice, our first-to-market financial instant messaging capabilities, and our recent contract intelligence offerings.

You offer specialist insight into the field of electronic evidence. What made you decide to focus on this space?

Technology and information is the lifeblood of any modern corporation. It’s impossible to handle a dispute or investigation without analysing the relevant electronic information, be that an email, a WhatsApp message, an accounting entry or the timing of an equity trade.

The ever-increasing volume of data generated by corporations, together with evolving technologies, mean that the potential sources of information that could help resolve disputes and investigations are always growing. We are constantly adapting and innovating to ensure that we provide the right solution to a particular client situation.

On what types of matters are clients coming to you most frequently?

A large portion of our work focuses on major regulatory investigations and cross-border litigation, where clients require a forensic technology and e-discovery partner who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them to provide support and expert guidance throughout all stages of the process, in contrast to a “vendor”-type engagement where the decision is primarily based on the lowest-priced provider.

With the changing approach in terms of timetable and scope from the regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, we’re also seeing an increase in merger clearance work, as well as consulting engagements to enable clients to adapt their business to accommodate the requirements of new legislation such as GDPR and the e-Privacy Directive.

How does the breadth of expertise in FTI’s team assist you in your work as a forensic expert?

At FTI we have the benefit of being part of a global multidisciplinary advisory firm that provides clients with a wide range of expert consulting services, such as financial investigations, business intelligence, corporate restructuring and strategic communications. Having access to market-leading experts in these fields around the world enables us to deliver solutions that combine the latest technology and domain expertise to our clients, helping them to solve the complete challenge that they face, as opposed to a single component of it.

You have a highly international practice. What effect, if any, do you expect Brexit to have on cross-border forensics work?

With all of the uncertainty around the relationship between the UK and the EU27 in the run-up to, and following, Brexit we’re seeing clients across the EU increasingly prefer that their data remains within the EU27 countries, and not come to the UK. We’ve responded by expanding our continental European and Middle Eastern capabilities, including, most recently, launching the ability to process and host data in a facility in France.

Brexit is also driving demand for our contract intelligence capabilities as corporations are seeking a clearer understanding of the content of, and impact of Brexit on, their contracts.

What changes should colleagues and clients be most aware of over the coming months?

The main challenge centres around the growth of data volumes and formats. We are constantly required to develop new technology and methodologies, to account for this growth. This will also require instructing counsel to better understand, and be willing to use, these technology developments.

A good example of this is the acceptance of technology-assisted review and predictive coding to accurately and rapidly identify potentially relevant documents from large populations – without relying on keywords. We’ve used predictive coding for seven or eight years, although the UK courts have only recently accepted its use.

How competitive is the market at present?

As our corporate clients, and the law firms that represent them, are becoming more familiar with the legal technology solutions that are available they are looking to ensure that they are getting the most out of both the technology and the advisers that are available to them. For some, this means bringing the technology in-house, to support the e-discovery process, to carry out contract review or to perform financial data analysis, along with employing the expertise to undertake the work.

The challenge for us is to constantly develop solutions for new issues that the market is facing, and (even more so) to be able to provide a full end-to-end solution across the FTI business and across the world, which means we’re able to deal with multi-jurisdictional matters smoothly.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in the field of forensic technology investigations?

Somewhat atypically for such a technical field, a focus on so-called soft-skills is essential: clear communication, an attention to detail and an enquiring mind.

In our work, it’s crucial to be able to clearly explain complicated technical processes and concepts in ways that can be understood by all parties, including counsel, the judiciary or regulators, who don’t have the same level of familiarity with the subject matter that we do.

It’s also important to be creative and innovative in your approach to a client’s problem. While a technical background in computing or forensics is beneficial, the nature of our work is such that we draw from a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from qualified lawyers to project managers.

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Data

Craig Earnshaw is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting in London where he founded the European technology consulting practice in 2006. Craig has worked in the electronic evidence field since the mid-1990s, amassing considerable experience in both the technical and strategic application of forensic technology for his clients. Craig provides advice to clients in a wide variety of contentious and non-contentious situations, including disputes, investigations and regulatory inquiries, often incorporating cross-border and data privacy issues.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE TECHNOLOGY SPACE?

There is no doubt that technology is revolutionising the way that businesses work. The combination of the ever-increasing volumes of data being generated by today’s corporations, together with the new technologies being implemented, means that the potential sources of information available to enable disputes and investigations to be resolved are continuously evolving. Consequently, the approaches that we need to take, and the technologies that need to be used, are continuously changing, therefore we are constantly adapting and innovating to ensure that we provide the right solution to a particular client situation. 

HOW HAS THE FIELD OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE CHANGED SINCE YOUR CAREER BEGAN?

In the late 1990s, electronic evidence formed only a small portion of any investigation. It was usually only considered in large-scale fraud matters, and the world of e-discovery and digital forensics was still in its infancy. Nowadays electronic evidence is much more common and fully accepted by the judiciary and regulators. Indeed, now you would be hard-pressed to find a dispute or investigation where electronic evidence isn’t core to the resolution of the situation.

WHAT MAKES FTI’S OFFERING IN THE TECHNOLOGY CONSULTING SPACE STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION?

At FTI we offer clients an end-to-end solution for the technology aspects of a dispute or investigation, from the initial scoping and preservation of the IT estate, the culling and review of the documents, and expert evidence on the methodologies followed. Acting proactively for corporations we develop and implement strategic information governance programmes to enable them to have greater control over their data assets, and be ready for new legislation, such as GDPR. We also develop our own technology, which is critical when new data types emerge that become core to a particular matter.

We have the benefit of being part of a global multi-disciplinary company that provides clients additional services and expertise, from data analysis to forensic investigations, business intelligence and strategic communications. Having access to market-leading experts in these fields around the world enables us to deliver the right solutions to the challenges that our clients face.

WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON TO DATE?

A few years ago we were asked to assist at short notice with a very high-profile bribery and corruption investigation. It quickly became clear that to enable the corporation to understand the events that had taken place in the time frame available, while adhering to a very strict local data privacy laws, we would need to deploy a mobile environment in-country to support a team of over 60 lawyers. Working with the corporation’s outside counsel we built a base in a hotel ballroom, and worked on-site, often around the clock, for three months.

At the time it was a groundbreaking and innovative solution; however, we’re now required to deliver this type of solution on a frequent basis as corporations and their law firms respond to the dual requirements of data privacy restrictions, and the need to undertake investigations in tight timescales.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE WHEN ASKED TO GIVE ORAL EVIDENCE IN COURT?

I always approach these types of situation in the same way: firstly, by ensuring that that my report covers the aspects that are required, and doesn’t leave key questions unanswered, or the language used leave room for ambiguity; and secondly by ensuring, should I be giving oral evidence, that I know all of the details of my report, the way in which my evidence fits into the context of the matter, and anticipate the likely angles of cross-examination.

WHAT SKILLS AND QUALITIES MAKE AN EFFECTIVE FORENSIC TECHNOLOGIST?

The key attribute is undoubtedly strong communication skills. It’s crucial to be able to clearly explain complicated technical processes and environments in ways that can be understood by all parties, often including counsel, the judiciary, or regulators, who don’t need to have the same level of familiarity with the subject matter as we do. It’s also important to be creative and innovative when developing the appropriate approach to the requirements of an engagement. While a technical background in computing or forensics is beneficial, the nature of our work is such that we draw from a wide variety of backgrounds, ranging from qualified lawyers to project managers.

HOW HAS THE INCREASING AWARENESS ON DATA PRIVACY CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE FOR FORENSIC TECHNOLOGY?

The growth in data privacy, and closely related, regulations, coupled with the increasingly international nature of corporations and the disputes that affect them, means that we are often required to perform work in-country. This means we must operate and adhere to protocols that respect the privacy of the individuals to whom the data relates, with limited document populations being transferred across borders. We’re also undertaking much more preparedness work: helping to ensure corporations are appropriately positioned for new regulations such as the GDPR, or the Network and Information Systems Directive.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE LEGAL TECHNOLOGY MARKET IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

The main challenge centres around the growth of data volumes and formats. We are constantly required to develop new technology, and methodologies, to account for this growth. In turn, this will also require instructing counsel to better understand, and be willing to utilise, these technology developments. 

A good example of this is the acceptance of technology-assisted review, and predictive coding, to accurately, and rapidly, identify potentially relevant documents from large populations without relying on keywords. We’ve been utilising predictive coding for seven or eight years, however the UK courts have only recently accepted its use, and therefore UK litigators been willing to use it. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Digital & Data - Digital Forensic Experts

Craig Earnshaw is a senior managing director in FTI's technology department, based in the London office which he founded in 2006. For over 20 years Craig has worked solely in the electronic evidence field, and has amassed considerable experience in both the technical and strategic application of technology, and had delivered this for clients on some of the most complex and demanding matters that have taken place over this time.

Craig provides strategic advice to clients across all areas of FTI's technology offering, and delivers specific counsel to clients in the areas of European Union-based evidence collection and disclosure, electronic data hosting for litigation and regulatory inquiries, and the impact of data privacy requirements on multi-jurisdictional disputes and investigations. His engagement experience includes cross-border disputes and regulatory inquiries relating to anti-competitive behaviour, cartels and price fixing, in addition to fraud, bribery, corruption and IP theft investigations.

Craig has provided both written and oral expert evidence relating to e-discovery and computer forensic analysis in the High Court in London, and has testified at depositions in the United States, as well as submitting written expert evidence into other forums such as employment tribunals and arbitrations.

Craig has authored numerous articles that have been published in the European and US legal and technical press, and is a frequent conference speaker on subjects including multi-jurisdictional investigations and data privacy.

WWL says: The “outstanding” Craig Earnshaw is a Thought Leader in the global investigations space who draws praise for his “deep expertise” handling complex matters in the electronic evidence field.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Digital & Data - Data and E-Discovery Experts

Craig Earnshaw is a senior managing director in FTI's technology department, based in the London office which he founded in 2006. For over 20 years Craig has worked solely in the electronic evidence field, and has amassed considerable experience in both the technical and strategic application of technology, and had delivered this for clients on some of the most complex and demanding matters that have taken place over this time.

Craig provides strategic advice to clients across all areas of FTI's technology offering and delivers specific counsel to clients in the areas of European Union-based evidence collection and disclosure, electronic data hosting for litigation and regulatory inquiries, and the impact of data privacy requirements on multi-jurisdictional disputes and investigations. His engagement experience includes cross-border disputes and regulatory inquiries relating to anticompetitive behaviour, cartels and price fixing, in addition to fraud, bribery, corruption and IP theft investigations.

Craig has provided both written and oral expert evidence relating to e-discovery and computer forensic analysis in the High Court in London, and has testified at depositions in the United States, as well as submitting written expert evidence into other forums such as employment tribunals and arbitrations.

Craig has authored numerous articles that have been published in the European and US legal and technical press, and is a frequent conference speaker on subjects including multi-jurisdictional investigations and data privacy.

WWL says: Admired for his expansive expertise, Craig Earnshaw is “a solid forensics and discovery expert” who sources “have a lot of respect for”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Investigations: Digital Forensic Experts

Craig Earnshaw is a senior managing director in FTI’s technology department, based in the London office, which he founded in 2006. For over 20 years Craig has worked solely in the electronic evidence field, and has amassed considerable experience in both the technical and strategic application of technology, and has delivered this for clients on some of the most complex and demanding matters that have taken place over this time.

Craig provides strategic advice to clients across all areas of FTI’s technology offering, and delivers specific counsel to clients in the areas of European Union-based evidence collection and disclosure, electronic data hosting for litigation and regulatory inquiries, and the impact of data privacy requirements on multi-jurisdictional disputes and investigations. His engagement experience includes cross-border disputes and regulatory inquiries relating to anti-competitive behaviour, cartels and price-fixing, in addition to fraud, bribery, corruption and IP theft investigations.

Craig has provided both written and oral expert evidence relating to e-discovery and computer forensic analysis in the High Court in London, and has testified at depositions in the United States, as well as submitting written expert evidence into other forums such as employment tribunals and arbitrations.

Craig has authored numerous articles that have been published in the European and US legal and technical press, and is a frequent conference speaker on subjects including multi-jurisdictional investigations and data privacy.

WWL says: Craig Earnshaw is a “highly respected expert” who is held in high esteem by peers thanks to his considerable experience in the electronic evidence field.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Investigations which can be purchased from our Shop.

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