This blog is part of our on-going Women in Technology series.
Farhat Jabeen is the Managing Director of the Asia-Pacific region. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she moved to the US four years ago, now based in New York. Farhat has 11 years of experience in the field and has been with Consilio for one year now. She earned her bachelor’s in Computer Science and her master’s in Information Security from the City University of Hong Kong. Farhat is both a WG6 and WG1 member of The Sedona Conference, a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Association of Certified E-discovery Specialists (ACEDS), Women in Ediscovery (WiE), and Women’s White Collar Defense Association (WWCDA). To Farhat, the most exciting aspect of Consilio is collaboration across groups and across geographical regions. Everyone is motivated to work together and work together well.
How did you end up getting into the world of eDiscovery?
Having majored in computer science with a focus on forensics and security, I understood technical aspects of handling various data formats and growing volumes of electronic information stored on computers and mobile devices. Many friends in the legal field spoke about complicated matters they worked on requiring electronic handling and processing of information for dispute resolution. It was really interesting to hear some of the cases they were on. Adoption of eDiscovery in the east was at least a decade behind the US, and my friends mentioned there was a high demand for experts in Asia who could explain technical challenges and eDiscovery workflows to lawyers and legal professionals.
In around 2008, I began to research the field of eDiscovery, looking into landmark cases in the US and UK. There was a lack of knowledge around technology available to assist with case preparation and submissions. This piqued my interest further, I felt there was a growing need here. I attended a conference in Hong Kong similar to Legaltech. As a result, I received a handful of eDiscovery job opportunities and consulting companies looking to expand in the region.
I then accepted a role with a global legal solutions provider tasked with providing client advisory services and broadening awareness in the region. I also took this opportunity to develop expertise as a subject matter expert for Asia data privacy and data collection laws, to assist with cross border demands. Through meeting with clients, I routinely worked on and developed bespoke solutions and workflows that handled large volumes of electronic data. This taught me more about their challenges. Building upon years of experience, I established this company’s Asia eDiscovery practice. This allowed me to leverage my technical abilities and client relationships falling further into a sales role. And here I am today!
Has your gender ever been an obstacle in your career?
When I was based in Asia, there were certainly times when I noticed my gender made me stand out. During this time, I was pretty much one of the two females working for a vendor in the eDiscovery field. Everyone always seemed to be either a white or Chinese male, which made me work harder to change these stereotypes.
What is your advice for women working with pressures similar to these, where they’re working with people dissimilar to them?
It is really helpful to find someone in your company or industry you aspire to be like career-wise. Spend time with them and learn about their path to how they got to where they are today. Having a clear objective in mind and revisiting it monthly helps maintain focus on my goals.
Showing tenacity and strong-will, helps prove yourself to your peers. Many workplaces are still male-dominated, but as a woman, it is vital to convey that you are knowledgeable and deserve to be there.