Ian Smith
Office:
200 Aldersgate
Aldersgate Street
EC1A 4HD
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 3727 1477

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Investigations

Ian Smith is a managing director in the FTI Consulting technology practice and is based in London. His career spans 20 years in the fields of computer forensics and e-discovery, in both the law enforcement and private sectors. Mr Smith advises clients in relation to the technology aspects of investigations, litigation and regulatory enquiries, including data mapping, preservation and review. His engagement experience encompasses matters in relation to fraud and corruption, anticompetitive practices, intellectual property theft and breach of contract, assisting clients in EMEA and globally across a broad range of industries.

HOW HAS YOUR PRACTICE EVOLVED SINCE YOU FIRST BEGAN YOUR CAREER?

Looking back almost 20 years, the sources of data we had to contend with were much more local and straightforward. In my early career conducting search and seizure operations in support of criminal investigations, the data we were looking for would most likely be on the premises: on desktop computers, file servers and email servers located physically in the building. In my current role advising clients in the approach and strategy of proportionate and defensible data collection and review, the scope and scale of data sources are far greater. We must consider a far greater diversity of data and platforms, from the mobile phone in an employee’s pocket to a virtual database server hosted in the cloud. Fortunately, the toolset we have available has improved immeasurably and continues apace with new analytics, visualisations and AI meeting the challenges of modern investigations.

HOW DOES YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE AS PART OF THE DIGITAL FORENSICS GROUP OF HM REVENUE AND CUSTOMS ENHANCE YOUR CURRENT PRACTICE?

When I joined FTI a little over 10 years ago, the commercial sector presented many new challenges and opportunities and I needed to learn many new ways of doing things. But I found the principles of good practice that were deeply ingrained in the culture of the HMRC digital forensics group were just as applicable in the commercial world and I was thankful for the solid foundation that gave me to build on: work must be defensible by default, so that the end product can withstand challenge; integrity is inviolable, and so is the foundation of trust; to do the right thing in the absence of observers takes discipline but is an investment in the future. Technologies change but I have found those principles to be as valid now as they were when I was starting out 20 years ago.

HOW DOES FTI’S TECHNOLOGY PRACTICE STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?

FTI has a great combination of strengths to bring to bear for our clients: global presence, breadth of services in investigations, technology and related disciplines, and great people who are genuine experts in their fields.

What makes FTI different for me, and the reason I am still with FTI more than 10 years on, is the positive culture of mutual support and a genuine desire to do the best we can for our clients. The depth of skills that can be brought to bear and the dedication of colleagues to the task still impresses me each new time I experience it on a new project. Crucially, this is accompanied by a desire to make processes and technologies clear, transparent and understandable, so that our clients stay in control and are able to make confident, informed decisions.

WHAT ARE CURRENTLY THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN IDENTIFYING KEY DATA IN INVESTIGATIONS?

Volume of data and diversity of platforms continue to be major challenges. Identifying key data can require bringing together and correlating data from multiple sources, and to do this effectively requires a meaningful understanding of the data and a direct channel of information from the initial data source mapping and collection through to early assessment and review. Often enough attention is not paid to this flow of information, which can hinder good decision-making and strategy during review.

A big challenge is knowing the key information early enough to implement an efficient review strategy and to gain the benefits of being able to respond quickly. Tools and methods are available to address both the need to surface key information right at the outset of the matter and the broader investigation needs, and both can be conducted in parallel without slowing either down.

IN RECENT YEARS, HOW HAVE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS IMPACTED INVESTIGATIVE PRACTICES?

Advancements across analytics, visualisation and technology-assisted review have improved the tools available to case teams and this has enabled more effective workflows to be used to distribute and manage investigations. A good example of this is leveraging managed review capability with a focused team of analytic reviewers utilising the latest tools to surface documents of interest speedily at the outset of an investigation for the case team. This type of capability acts as a force multiplier for investigators, allowing small teams to manage large investigations and bring in additional resources as needed.

HOW DO YOU ENVISAGE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE GDPR IMPACTING DATA IDENTIFICATION AND COLLECTION WORK?

I take an optimistic view and expect to see a gradual improvement over the next few years in companies’ organisation and management of their data estates.

Companies must understand their data better, in respect to what information it contains, where and how it is being stored and whether it should be retained at all. Aside from the benefits and efficiencies, this will yield in meeting the requirements of GDPR, this will increase the efficiency and speed of identification and collection of data and reduce the corresponding costs.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Assisting clients in achieving positive outcomes is always very satisfying, whether defending against a billion-dollar litigation, saving a client £1 million in technology costs or reducing a 300 terabyte data population into a manageable defensible review set. But my proudest moments are when I see colleagues who I have helped develop step up and deliver outstanding service for our clients. FTI encourages long-term career development within the company and over my 10 years here I have had the privilege to see bright young graduates just starting out on their careers gain experience, take on board advice and guidance, and develop their own approach to become trusted advisers looking out for our clients’ needs.

Biographies:

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

Ian Smith is a managing director in the FTI Consulting technology practice and is based in London.

His career spans 20 years in the fields of computer forensics and e-discovery, in both the law enforcement and private sectors. In this time, he has advised clients in relation to the technology aspects of internal investigations, litigation and regulatory enquiries, including data mapping, preservation and review. His engagement experience encompasses matters in relation to fraud and corruption, anticompetitive practices, intellectual property theft and breach of contract.

He has assisted clients in EMEA and globally from a wide range of industries, in particular the financial services sector, and also in the energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction sectors. His experience has enabled him to assist clients in understanding in simple terms their technology challenges and risks, and to provide strategic advice and hands-on management of large and complex matters to ensure defensibility while taking a proportionate and efficient approach to control technology and legal review costs.

Ian has assisted some of the world's largest banks, including an engagement in relation to a highly contentious litigation with a value in excess of £500 million where challenges included data across multiple jurisdictions, restrictions due to banking secrecy legislation, disparate data systems and a date range spanning more than a decade. In addition to directing the project from initial scoping to disclosure, Mr Smith was able to save the client over £1 million in technology and review costs by submitting affidavits to the court in relation to overreaching demands by the claimant for disproportionate work to be undertaken.

WWL says: Ian Smith heads up the firm’s EMEA computer practice and is particularly well regarded for his expertise in forensic data acquisition technologies.

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

Ian Smith is a managing director in the FTI Consulting technology practice and is based in London.

His career spans 20 years in the fields of computer forensics and e-discovery, in both the law enforcement and private sectors. In this time, he has advised clients in relation to the technology aspects of internal investigations, litigation and regulatory enquiries, including data mapping, preservation and review. His engagement experience encompasses matters in relation to fraud and corruption, anticompetitive practices, intellectual property theft and breach of contract.

He has assisted clients in EMEA and globally from a wide range of industries, in particular the financial services sector, and also in the energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction sectors. His experience has enabled him to assist clients in understanding in simple terms their technology challenges and risks, and to provide strategic advice and hands-on management of large and complex matters to ensure defensibility while taking a proportionate and efficient approach to control technology and legal review costs.

Ian has assisted some of the world's largest banks, including an engagement in relation to a highly contentious litigation with a value in excess of £500 million where challenges included data across multiple jurisdictions, restrictions due to banking secrecy legislation, disparate data systems and a date range spanning more than a decade. In addition to directing the project from initial scoping to disclosure, Mr Smith was able to save the client over £1 million in technology and review costs by submitting affidavits to the court in relation to overreaching demands by the claimant for disproportionate work to be undertaken.

WWL says: Ian Smith is a top name in the UK data and e-discovery space with a proven track record advising on matters such as computer forensics, data identification and litigation support.

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

Who's Who Legal Data: Data Experts

Ian Smith is a managing director in the FTI Consulting technology practice and is based in London. 

His career spans 20 years in the fields of computer forensics and e-discovery, in both the law enforcement and private sectors. In this time, he has advised clients in relation to the technology aspects of internal investigations, litigation and regulatory inquiries, including data mapping, preservation and review. His engagement experience encompasses matters in relation to fraud and corruption, anticompetitive practices, intellectual property theft and breach of contract. 

He has assisted clients in EMEA and globally from a wide range of industries, in particular the financial services sector, and also in the energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction sectors. His experience has enabled him to assist clients in understanding in simple terms their technology challenges and risks, and to provide strategic advice and hands-on management of large and complex matters to ensure defensibility while taking a proportionate and efficient approach to control technology and legal review costs.

Ian has assisted some of the world's largest banks, including an engagement in relation to a highly contentious litigation with a value in excess of £500 million where challenges included data across multiple jurisdictions, restrictions due to banking secrecy legislation, disparate data systems and a date range spanning more than a decade. In addition to directing the project from initial scoping to disclosure, Mr Smith was able to save the client over £1 million in technology and review costs by submitting affidavits to the court in relation to overreaching demands by the claimant for disproportionate work to be undertaken.

WWL says: Ian Smith is commended by interviewees as a “highly organised, very approachable” practitioner with “a fantastic eye for detail” that “inspires total confidence”.

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

Who's Who Legal Investigations: Digital Forensic Experts

Ian Smith is a managing director in the FTI Consulting technology practice and is based in London.

His career spans 20 years in the fields of computer forensics and e-discovery, in both the law enforcement and private sectors. In this time, he has advised clients in relation to the technology aspects of internal investigations, litigation and regulatory inquiries, including data mapping, preservation and review. His engagement experience encompasses matters in relation to fraud and corruption, anticompetitive practices, intellectual property theft and breach of contract.

He has assisted clients in EMEA and globally from a wide range of industries, in particular, the financial services sector, and also in the energy, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction sectors. His experience has enabled him to assist clients in understanding in simple terms their technology challenges and risks, and to provide strategic advice and hands-on management of large and complex matters to ensure defensibility while taking a proportionate and efficient approach to control technology and legal review costs.

Ian has assisted some of the world's largest banks, including an engagement in relation to a highly contentious litigation with a value in excess of £500 million where challenges included data across multiple jurisdictions, restrictions due to banking secrecy legislation, disparate data systems and a date range spanning more than a decade. In addition to directing the project from initial scoping to disclosure, Mr Smith was able to save the client over £1 million in technology and review costs by submitting affidavits to the court in relation to overreaching demands by the claimant for disproportionate work to be undertaken.

WWL says: Ian Smith receives effusive praise from respondents to our research who note his wide-ranging insight into forensic data acquisition.

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

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