HAYSTACKID Project Manager Spotlight: Vinh Huynh – Pt. 1

HAYSTACKID’s success is entirely dependent upon our staff. Thanks to the strong work ethic, creativity, innovation, and teamwork of our employees, we continue to grow rapidly, all the while being the exceptional partner to our clients we strive to be.

This week, we take a moment to recognize and spotlight one of our distinguished Project Managers, Vinh Huynh. Vinh is about as driven and talented as they come. He is bilingual, taught himself to program, and has been educated as a Juris Doctor and Chemical Engineer with a focus on the Biomedical field. He has also been formally trained in international Intellectual Property.

Vinh is a certified kCura Relativity Certified Administrator, licensed Patent Agent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and licensed Attorney through the State Bar of Georgia.

We recently sat down with Vinh to discuss his career, his professional goals, and what makes him so interested in eDiscovery, forensics, and digitally driven litigation.

AYSTACKID: Good morning Vinh, thank you for taking the time to talk.

Vinh: No problem! It’s my pleasure.

Tell me about your career up until this point.

Well, I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, then went to law school, then started to work for a big firm directly following completion of legal studies. I originally wanted to focus on patents and trademarks, but then I started working in eDiscovery. I started out as a contract reviewer and eventually made my way up to a staff attorney.

I handled a variety of different projects and topics. I acted as National eDiscovery Counsel for a very large pharmaceutical company, and worked at that firm for 10 years before I joined HAYSTACKID.

I sometimes managed review teams of 5 to 10 attorneys, and there were situations in which I managed as many as 100 reviewers. I have also been sent abroad to manage an off-site review center with attorneys from the firm’s multiple offices around the globe.

I did a lot of custom designs for review workflows, and worked a lot with case teams to come up with techniques to efficiently evaluate documents and find the data that they really needed for trial.

So you wore many hats while at this firm for 10 years.

Yes, I did a little bit of everything really. I also did a lot of stuff outside the typical eDiscovery fare as well, such as due diligence and trademark registration.

What made you decide to leave that firm and join HAYSTACKID?

Well, I suppose opportunity was at the heart of the matter. It got to the point, working at this firm for a decade, where I definitely enjoyed virtually everything I did but really started favoring the vendor side of the business.

I was intrigued by what they did and, especially since I worked very closely with vendors and started diving deep into Relativity, I realized I simply enjoyed it far more than just managing review projects. I like setting up workflows, serving as a mediator between attorneys and the actual reviewer, and the other types of responsibilities and tasks involved.

So you found that you were more engaged with these types of tasks and wanted to shift your career in that direction?

Yes, absolutely.

And do you feel that was a good career move?

I definitely believe so, yes.

I was confident that there were more opportunities on this side of things – the vendor side of things – especially with HAYSTACKID since they were growing so fast, and continue to do so. It was clear that there was a greater range of opportunities, and things were faster-paced, which I love. The juxtaposition to the same old things I was working on at the law firm made the choice pretty easy.

I also saw how quickly some of the people who worked on the eDiscovery vendor side were able to advance, and how creatively they were able to get things done.

It’s worth noting that sometimes at a big law firm that’s been around forever, a partner will just be used to doing things a certain way and will be pretty averse to making any change unless it is absolutely necessary. That’s not to say that it wasn’t the right way to do things, but in this field, I truly believe that process flexibility, creativity, and innovation are what fuel success.

There were more opportunities for innovation and a lot more chances for me to use my brain at HAYSTACKID, rather than doing the same thing over and over again, ad infinitum. For this reason and many more, I felt as though this was a better environment for me.

How early on in your career did you start to get interested in the vendor side of the business?

I would say maybe around year 6 or 7 when I started working really closely with vendors and actually saw what they did. Probably about three or four years ago, I turned my attention to the actual review technology rather than the document review itself. I was especially interested in machine learning and technology-assisted review.

I kind of see that as the future of where eDiscovery is going. Companies are always looking to save money. I saw that a lot of organizations did not want to pay $200 per hour to review documents when they could come up with a technical solution that would be much more efficient and far cheaper to handle the same volume of data, and would give just as accurate of results.

So it was not just a matter of me enjoying that side and being interested, but also clear to me that this was the more future-proofed area of the industries in which I was involved.

Come back to read the conclusion of our Project Management Spotlight with Vinh. In part two, he offers his perspectives on the marketplace, as well as what it’s like to work at HAYSTACKID.”