An Interview With Louis Cinquanto
Welcome to our first e-Newsletter. Our mission is to provide you with timely and important technology information affecting today’s Legal Community.
In this inaugural edition of The Tech Gazette we feature an interview with visionary Owner and Managing Director of Cornerstone Discovery – Louis Cinquanto.
Louis Cinquanto pictured in Server Room
QUESTION: You grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and rowed crew for St. Joe’s Prep. How did you get from there to running your own legal technology firm?
LOUIS: As a kid, I always wanted to fly planes. From St. Joe’s Prep, I went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida where I got my degree in aeronautical science and a certification as a commercial pilot. The school didn’t have a crew team, so I started one, both men’s and women’s, and coached them myself.
After graduation, I returned home and taught honors math at St. Joe’s Prep until I entered Officer Training School with the U.S. Air Force. I ultimately was commissioned to fly KC-10’s for aerial refueling, and I did that for ten years. During that time, I flew missions over Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places, and I was selected for Officer of the Year. It was also during that time (when commercial use of the internet was just getting started) that I designed and developed the first web portal for the Air Force Reserve – it allowed reservists to manage their training requirements and flight schedules online. That program was ultimately adopted for benchmark status and became ReserveNet, and later ARCNet, which the Air Force Reserve currently uses.
My wife, Carrie, was a lawyer with the U.S. Navy JAG Corps when we met, and then she became a public defender in Philly and a federal criminal defense attorney. She also taught (and continues to teach) trial advocacy at Temple Law. It was through Carrie’s work that I saw the growing need for legal technology in the form of electronic discovery and trial support. The first major litigation that I was involved in from a technology standpoint was the 2005 federal corruption trials against several high-level Philly officials, which had all started when city police officers discovered an FBI bug in then-Mayor John Street’s office.
I started Cornerstone officially in April 2005, and we were off and running.
QUESTION: What is your business philosophy when it comes to identifying and serving the needs of your clients?
LOUIS: The main problem that I saw when I started Cornerstone was that the legal technology was becoming the burden of in-house IT who didn’t know much about the litigation process, and it was being delivered for use by lawyers who didn’t know much about technology. Lawyers were resisting the technology out of frustration, or they were using the technology but not understanding it. Carrie and I and the rest of our team try to bridge that gap not only by providing high-level technology tools for use in litigation, but also by educating the lawyers and other legal professionals who will be using them. We make those tools and the user interface as easy to use as possible so that at the end of the day, it’s the lawyer who’s in charge of her or his case, and not the vendor.
QUESTION: What do you look for when hiring associates for Cornerstone Discovery?
LOUIS: Two main things: (1) they have to be at the top of their game in technological competence; and (2) they need to be excellent communicators with our clients.
QUESTION: What do your clients have to look forward to from Cornerstone Discovery in 2015?
LOUIS: Several things. First, look for a redesign of our e-discovery processing and review platform called Junto, which makes it even easier for lawyers and legal professionals to take control of ESI-heavy discovery in their cases (rather than rely on a vendor) so they can better manage their cases, comply with their professional obligations, and more efficiently capture revenue.
Second, we’re adding new technology and new talent, including a new Director of Digital Forensics, Joe Walsh, who comes from a long and impressive career in law enforcement.
Third, we’re increasing our presence in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York.
And finally, we’re excited to be unveiling a new pricing plan that we call “flat fee forensics,” which offers one set cost for a client project from start to finish.
QUESTION: Are you involved in other things in the local legal community?
LOUIS: I teach legal technology at Temple, Penn, and Widener law schools. I lecture regularly at CLE programs for PBI.
I was appointed by a federal judge in a bellwether case to help the court understand torrent technology in copyright infringement cases. Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1, 6, 13, 14, 950 F. Supp. 2d 779 (E.D. Pa. 2013).
In another federal civil case, I was appointed by a judge as an expert in forensics and e-discovery. And I’ve been hired to provide technical advice to counsel and businesses and to serve in various cases as an e-discovery expert.
Also, Cornerstone Discovery supports the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and the Eastern District’s federal reentry program.
QUESTION: Managing your own firm, working in the legal community, and raising three kids with your wife must keep you busy. What do you do when you manage to fit in free time?
LOUIS: I still love to fly. I don’t play golf or have other hobbies, but I do own a small, four-seat Piper Cherokee that I use to fly my family to vacations anywhere from the Bahamas to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard. It’s good to miss all that summer traffic on I-95.