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Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL says

Stephanie Giammarco leads the firm's digital practice and brings profound knowledge of forensic technology and data analytics.

Questions & Answers

Stephanie Giammarco leads BDO Digital and is a member of BDO’s board of directors. She is particularly skilled in forensic technology and data analytics, and has worked with organisations and their counsel on domestic and international financial frauds related to labour and employment, intellectual property, class action lawsuits, trade secrets, financial statement and securities fraud, and more. She has also led large teams in developing analytics and solutions to achieve litigation, investigative or business objectives.

What attracted you to a career in digital forensics and e-discovery?

Initially, it was the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a brand new field. At the time, being part of e-discovery meant that everyone was a novice and would learn together. Regardless of age and title level, we all had zero years of experience. I’ve always enjoyed solving problems, especially using data, and this was a new world that centred on just that.   

What qualities do you think make for an effective digital forensics expert?

Someone with an understanding of – or curiosity to understand – the breadth of technologies available, and the ability to leverage them to reach objectives as efficiently as possible. It’s critical to have an inquisitive mind in this field. Also, to be effective in digital forensics, you must recognise the value of being part of a team and embrace opportunities to learn from others. 

What has been your most memorable case to date and why?

I was involved in a very large public investigation into a Fortune 500 company related to an allegation of revenue inflation. During the investigation, an employee from their IT department stormed out of the room while we were questioning him about evidence we had found. Without his initial cooperation, we were still able to identify the information that he was trying to keep hidden. Today, there are clear clues and remnants, and even tools, to uncover deleted files or a wiped hard drive, but those didn’t exist at the time. To find the critical evidence we were looking for required digging deep and sheer investigative power.

How has the market changed since you first began practising?

When I started, the market was in its fledgling stage and had yet to be defined. Federal regulation hadn’t yet caught up with technology. Now, the e-discovery process is more widely understood and efficient. Even as the scope of technological capabilities, the variety of data sources and the volume of information all grow, the availability of tools and expertise make processes and procedures more streamlined. 

Practitioners have recorded an increased level of coordination among companies, regulators and authorities. How is this affecting your practice? 

This coordination has been valuable in aligning expectations and objectives.

What are the main challenges of working in a practice area that is increasingly global in scope? 

The differences in cultures, nuances, languages, tools and technologies – and even uses of those technologies – vary across borders and often require in-country expertise for effective e-discovery. For example, many years ago I learned during an engagement in China that trying to collect information from emails would not be fruitful because individuals and businesses primarily used a local instant messaging platform to communicate – a practice I would never have known if we hadn’t had Chinese counterparts. Beyond the coordination aspect, it would be extremely difficult for us to do our work at BDO without a global presence.

Over the next few years, what role do you think AI will play in the kinds of work you do? 

Not only is there significant potential, but the data landscape is changing so drastically that AI adoption is becoming a necessity. Data volume and sources are continuing to increase, and without adequate tools, investigations will become prohibitively time-consuming and expensive. Although the legal industry has historically been slower to adopt new technologies, it’s come a long way. There was a time when predictive coding was considered taboo, but it’s now more widely accepted – provided it’s defensible in its use. 

One emerging use of AI is for fraud detection. To supplement traditional methods of identifying fraud in structured data, AI tools can be programmed and engaged to catch anomalies quickly and accurately in unstructured data. 

What advice would you give to younger experts starting a career in the field?

Naturally, the field is evolving. New technologies and information are going to continue to uproot the way we work in short order – a reality that’s been brought to light in the months since the global pandemic hit. It’s also virtually impossible to predict the route that technology will take. The data sources we have today would have been inconceivable to the federal regulators who set rules at the inception of e-discovery, and the same will hold true for future innovations. The only way to navigate this inevitability is to embrace change with insatiable curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Global Leader

Data - Data Experts 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Peers commend Stephanie Giammarco's strategic approach to data management for domestic and international clients.

Biography

Stephanie Giammarco, national co-leader of BDO Digital and member of the board of directors, has over 25 years of experience in accounting, information technology and criminology. She has worked with organisations and their counsel on financial frauds, garnering significant media attention, and has led teams to develop data-driven solutions to achieve litigation or investigative objectives.

Ms Giammarco provides litigation and consulting services to organisations and their counsel, including data analytics, digital forensics and e-discovery services related to domestic and international matters involving product liability, financial statement fraud, class action lawsuits, internal investigations, securities fraud, employee and vendor schemes, and breach of contract. She is skilled in the collection, preservation and analysis of electronic evidence, as well as the implementation of various e-discovery tools.

She has been deposed as a Rule 30(b)6 e-discovery witness and testified before the judicial arbitration services on the calculation of damages in contract disputes. Ms Giammarco has published and presented on a range of digital forensics and e-discovery topics, including before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Security Industry Authority and the National Futures Association.

Ms Giammarco’s professional affiliations include: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (former advisory board member); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; the nominating committee for BDO USA’s board of directors (2011); and BDO’s women’s initiative steering committee (former member).

Ms Giammarco has an MA in criminology (corporate crime) from the University of Maryland, College Park; and a BS in accounting from Binghamton University’s School of Management.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Stephanie Giammarco is a prominent and experienced IT expert in the North American market, with outstanding, broad expertise in data analytics and forensics.

Biography

Stephanie Giammarco, national co-leader of BDO Digital and member of the board of directors, has over 25 years of experience in accounting, information technology and criminology. She has worked with organisations and their counsel on financial frauds, garnering significant media attention, and has led teams to develop data-driven solutions to achieve litigation or investigative objectives.

Ms Giammarco provides litigation and consulting services to organisations and their counsel, including data analytics, digital forensics and e-discovery services related to domestic and international matters involving product liability, financial statement fraud, class action lawsuits, internal investigations, securities fraud, employee and vendor schemes, and breach of contract. She is skilled in the collection, preservation and analysis of electronic evidence, as well as the implementation of various e-discovery tools.

She has been deposed as a Rule 30(b)6 e-discovery witness and testified before the judicial arbitration services on the calculation of damages in contract disputes. Ms Giammarco has published and presented on a range of digital forensics and e-discovery topics, including before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Security Industry Authority and the National Futures Association.

Ms Giammarco’s professional affiliations include: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (former advisory board member); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; the nominating committee for BDO USA’s board of directors (2011); and BDO’s women’s initiative steering committee (former member).

Ms Giammarco has an MA in criminology (corporate crime) from the University of Maryland, College Park; and a BS in accounting from Binghamton University’s School of Management.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Stephanie Giammarco brings a broad array of experience in the forensic data arena. Her areas of expertise range from advanced data analytics to acting as an expert witness. 

Biography

Stephanie Giammarco, national co-leader of BDO Digital and member of the board of directors, has over 25 years of experience in accounting, information technology and criminology. She has worked with organisations and their counsel on financial frauds, garnering significant media attention, and has led teams to develop data-driven solutions to achieve litigation or investigative objectives.

Ms Giammarco provides litigation and consulting services to organisations and their counsel, including data analytics, digital forensics and e-discovery services related to domestic and international matters involving product liability, financial statement fraud, class action lawsuits, internal investigations, securities fraud, employee and vendor schemes, and breach of contract. She is skilled in the collection, preservation and analysis of electronic evidence, as well as the implementation of various e-discovery tools.

She has been deposed as a Rule 30(b)6 e-discovery witness and testified before the judicial arbitration services on the calculation of damages in contract disputes. Ms Giammarco has published and presented on a range of digital forensics and e-discovery topics, including before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Security Industry Authority and the National Futures Association.

Ms Giammarco’s professional affiliations include: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (former advisory board member); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; the nominating committee for BDO USA’s board of directors (2011); and BDO’s women’s initiative steering committee (former member).

Ms Giammarco has an MA in criminology (corporate crime) from the University of Maryland, College Park; and a BS in accounting from Binghamton University’s School of Management.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

"Stephanie is a forward-thinking and inventive practitioner"
"She is a very strong figure in the industry who effortlessly commands respect and praise for her ability to lead teams, projects and new initiatives" 

Biography

Stephanie Giammarco, national co-leader of BDO Digital, has over 25 years of experience in accounting, information technology and criminology. She has worked with organisations and their counsel on financial frauds, garnering significant media attention, and has led teams to develop data-driven solutions to achieve litigation or investigative objectives.

Ms Giammarco provides litigation and consulting services to organisations and their counsel, including data analytics, digital forensics and e-discovery services related to domestic and international matters involving product liability, financial statement fraud, class action lawsuits, internal investigations, securities fraud, employee and vendor schemes, and breach of contract. She is skilled in the collection, preservation and analysis of electronic evidence, as well as the implementation of various e-discovery tools.

She has been deposed as a Rule 30(b)6 e-discovery witness and testified before the judicial arbitration services on the calculation of damages in contract disputes. Ms Giammarco has published and presented on a range of digital forensics and e-discovery topics, including before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Security Industry Authority and the National Futures Association.

Ms Giammarco’s professional affiliations include: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (former advisory board member); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; the nominating committee for BDO USA’s board of directors (2011-2020); and BDO’s women’s initiative steering committee (former member).

Ms Giammarco has an MA in criminology (corporate crime) from the University of Maryland, College Park; and a BS in accounting from Binghamton University’s School of Management.

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