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Stellar Women in e-Discovery: Caitlin Grzymala of the DOJ [Podcast]

Mary Rechtoris

Fresh out of college and eager to make her mark, Caitlin Grzymala started her career at the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division and worked on some of the department’s largest cases. Nearly 11 years later, as a legal administrative officer at the DOJ, Caitlin continues to be inspired by the work that brings her unique projects day-in and day-out.

After she was nominated by her colleague for our Stellar Women in e-Discovery campaign, The Relativity Blog spoke with Caitlin on how technology-assisted review (TAR) will continue to transform the e-discovery field, and how she is getting ready for her next big adventure: parenthood.

Caitlin Grzymala

Legal Administrative Officer
United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division

"Caitlin has overseen the most difficult and complex discovery by the DOJ in both the Libor and FX matters. Her ability to solve problems and use Relativity to organize data was essential in allowing the government to produce millions of documents in high stakes litigation."

– Jeffrey Martino

Podcast Transcript

Mary Rechtoris: Hello listeners!  I'm Mary Rechtoris, part of Relativity's community and customer advocacy team. This is Stellar Women in e-Discovery, a campaign that encourages members of the e-discovery community to nominate stand-up professionals in the legal field. These are women who push boundaries, champion innovations, pay it forward, and inspire.

Caitlin Grzymala, one of our nominees, is with us today. Caitlin, thanks for joining us!

Caitlin Grzymala: Thanks, Mary.

MR: Caitlin, can you tell me about your current role as legal administrative officer at the DOJ Antitrust Division?

CG: Sure. Before we start, I have to provide a disclaimer that the views expressed here are my own and do not represent those of the United States Department of Justice. (We have to do that before we do any sort of speaking engagement.)

As a legal administrative officer here at the DOJ Antitrust Division, I have a hybrid role—some of which is supervisory, some of which is administrative, and some of which is project management. I supervise the administrative assistants, office managers, and paralegal team. I organize and coordinate larger administrative projects like events and group trainings. As a project manager, I assist the legal teams in the office in developing strategies for large scale evidence review, tracking and logging large collections of data, and meeting our discovery obligations in litigation.

MR: Great! One of Caitlin’s colleagues at the DOJ nominated her for our campaign, saying:

Caitlin has overseen the most difficult and complex discovery by the DOJ in both the Libor and FX matters. Her ability to solve problems and use Relativity to organize data was essential in allowing the government to produce millions of documents in high stakes litigation.

What has been your path to the DOJ?

CG: I started with the DOJ as an entry-level paralegal out of undergrad. I had considered going to law school and wanted to spend some time in the industry first. But, it turned out that I liked the software, strategic organization, staff coordination, and problem-solving aspects of the job better than I liked the legal research and analysis parts of the job. So, I stayed on and I tried to work on some of the largest cases that our office had going on to get better experience, and eventually got promoted to this position.

MR: What made you want to work for the government?

CG: Growing up, my parents always emphasized the importance of serving the community and good citizenship. So I think that I always really valued working in public service. The Antitrust Division has been a really rewarding place to work for the last 11 years. I've had the privilege to work on really interesting and complex cases that protect American markets and consumers.

MR: Is that what makes you excited to go to work every day?

CG: I have wonderful colleagues here at the Antitrust Division. They're intelligent, passionate, and professional—and many of them are my friends. It's really easy to go to work when there are so many people that you like to spend time with [there]. Also, working in government, I have the chance to deal with new and unique problems on a daily basis, so I never know what's going to come up on my plate. I like that it keeps me on my toes. 

MR: Circling back to the nomination: what role does technology play in the discovery process when handling criminal antitrust investigations?

CG: We really try to think about discovery in our cases from day one of the investigation. We digitize every single piece of paper or evidence that comes through our door, which can be a big undertaking in investigations that often take sometimes as [little] as 18 months or as long as five or six years. Relativity has been helpful in putting those materials into separate categories for discovery at the outset, designing custom coding templates to preserve characteristics and attributes of those documents, and organizing the materials from the start so that, four years later, you don't get down the road and say, “Oh no! What do we have when it comes time for litigation?”

It's simply a matter of decision making regarding what to produce and when to produce it, rather than spending time trying to get your arms around what it was that we acquired. It also allows for sharing materials with other lawyers [and] enforcement agencies that might be working with us. I also like how customizable Relativity is because we really take advantage of its ability to create custom views to change what kind of metadata you're seeing at different phases of the investigation and at the litigation stage.

MR: How do you see the e-discovery field changing in the next five years, and what action items are your team taking today to prepare for those changes?

CG: I think that attorneys and paralegals will become more comfortable with predictive coding and technology-assisted review in the criminal space. Right now, I think it has a lot of traction in the civil space, but there's still ways to go on the criminal side. We try to stay on top of the latest civil decisions, or any discovery decisions for that matter, to see how they might play out for any processes that we have in place here at the Antitrust Division.

We also try to stay on top of the latest communications technologies that are out on the market. Our criminal cases often require proof of an agreement to restrain trade among competitors. Those agreements used to be verbal and in-person at meetings. Now, they're happening over Skype, encrypted messaging apps, and corporate chat platforms. It's important that we know how to get data from these platforms, and when we do, how best to preserve it and turn over in discovery.

MR: Full disclosure, I did a bit of stalking on your LinkedIn profile and saw you were the study abroad advisor at SUNY Geneseo. What is your favorite place you’ve ever been?

CG: My husband and I, a couple years ago, took a trip to Switzerland. We went to Mürren, which is up in the Swiss Alps. It is a little village that is only accessible by cable car. It is sort of near Interlaken, and has really amazing hiking and views. I took him on an 11-mile hike that he was not really all that enthusiastic about, but it was gorgeous. So, that's top on my list.

MR: What’s on your bucket list for where you want to go?

CG: I'm really dying to get to Patagonia. Living in New York City, my favorite travel destinations tend to be sparsely populated and very nature-focused. I would love to get down there.

MR: To close us off here, what is a personal or professional goal you aim to accomplish in the next year?

CG: I'm currently pregnant with my first child and due at the end of July.

MR: Congratulations!

CG: Thank you! I am really hoping I can figure out how to balance being a new and good parent while also continuing to be good at my job.

MR: Thanks for sharing all this with us Caitlin, it’s been fun!

CG: Thank you.

MR: Listeners, thank you for tuning in. From Stellar Women in e-Discovery, I'm Mary Rechtoris signing off.

Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the brand team at Relativity, where she's always collaborating and looking for new ways to develop and socialize stories.