This is the first interview of a new series in which we will take a look at what makes some of the people in our professions tick. If you've been in the trial technology trenches for a few years, you've probably heard of Robb Helt. He started the original Trial Technology group on Yahoo, recently launched a popular podcast series, and has a very impressive resume'. Feel free to follow up with your questions and comments.
1. Where do you currently work, and what is your primary role?
Suann Ingle Associates LLC. - Director of Trial Technology and Client Development
2. Share a little about your background, education and work experience prior to your current position.
I started in this industry in late 1998 doing video depositions for McDaniel & Wells. This moved quickly into the role of Trial Presentation. Prior to coming to M&W I graduated from Wichita State University with a BS in Information Systems Management and then a Masters from the University of Arkansas in the same. I left McDaniel & Wells on June 28, 2004 to start my own company, Litigation Resource Group in Fort Smith Arkansas. LRG was in business from Jan 1 2005 to Jan 16 2014 when we were purchased by a firm in Memphis TN. After spending a little over a year in Memphis, I am now living in Dallas/Fort Worth.
3. Share a little about what you do when not working.
When not working I am playing golf and spending time with friends and family. It is very rare that I am not working. I have an extremely understanding wife.
4. Tell us about one or two significant cases or experiences in your career.
The West Memphis Three case was one of the most memorable for me because of the impact that it had. The second, of course, was the Super Bowl of trials and that was the BP Oil Spill Trial in New Orleans. The BP trial was exciting because of the stress level. 125,000,000 documents to call up at a moment’s notice. It was different because the prep lasted 15 months and there were more than 70,000 exhibits. We pushed everything to it’s limit…the software, hardware, and ourselves.
|Robb at work in the Haliburton war room|
5. Share about one or two disasters during your career, and how you managed to recover.
1. I used the "pack and go" feature one time in the middle of the day during trial. It completely wiped my database and all global paths. I recovered by grabbing the database backup, shoving it to another laptop and moving the DAT, CMS and MDB. All of this was done while my lawyer was asking questions of a witness.
2. I had a kidney stone during a trial in 2009. I was able to do the trial while on prescription pain meds and never missed a beat. However, I do not remember 2 days of the trial. I was there but I have no memory. I was truly on Auto Pilot.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could offer to someone considering stepping into your shoes?
Trial Technicians have an insatiable work ethic to do great work and provide superior service to our clients. My success is a result of my dedication and discipline: I eat, sleep and breathe trial. The only other advice would be NEVER sign a non compete.
7. If you had to do it all over, what would you do differently?
I would not change a thing, other than the sale of LRG in 2014. I would have kept the company and merged it into my current company.
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
Teaching this industry to those who are willing to learn.
9. What would you consider the biggest change that has transpired during your career?
The reception of my podcast and the introduction of all things "touch"
10. What do you predict for the future for those in your profession?
I think it is going to be more of a Software as a Service industry and with things becoming easier and less expensive, you are going to see more and more paralegals and lawyers trying to do this themselves. It has been going that direction for 10 years and continues to go even more with all things touch being at their disposal.
Contact Robb Helt: