Article from the ACBA Lawyers Journal, January 29th
By: Zandy Dudiak
A career path that included a mix of practicing law and using the technological tools of the trade led ACBA member John Unice to join bit-x-bit in February 2020 as its Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
Less than a year later, through a thoughtfully coordinated transition period, he has taken the helm as bit-x-bit’s CEO, replacing attorney Susan Ardisson, who founded the company in 2007 and will remain as a member of the Board of Directors. The company, which provides technical expertise to successfully guide lawyers and other professionals through e-discovery and digital forensics challenges, has been exclusively endorsed by the ACBA since 2008.
“Susan started the company shortly before the 2008 economic downturn and oversaw continued growth through that difficult time,” Unice said. “I joined just as COVID fundamentally changed how business is conducted. Due to the corporate culture that Susan established – where we strive to treat each client like our only client – we have been able to withstand the challenges brought on by the pandemic.”
Unice said that once COVID-19 hit, many aspects of the business became very busy.
As Unice and the company looks ahead, bit-x-bit is hoping to continue to expand its national footprint, growing its portfolio of products and services. It also hopes to increase its client base, which includes not only law firms and in-house counsel, but also businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, government agencies and educational institutions. The team of legal and technical experts practice a client-service focus through bit-x-bit’s holistic approach to solving the most complex challenges.
Unice has established a national reputation through his two decades of experience with international law firms and corporations. Starting his career as a civil litigator with Jones Day and Eckert Seamans, he began to use some of the early tools that fostered his interest in the technology involved in legal work.
He moved to Bayer as an in-house litigator, and then to Covestro as a global litigator, where he procured and oversaw the use of technology in legal work. Because he had acted as both inside and outside counsel, he knew the different pressures faced in each role. Because bit-x-bit is engaged in both facets of that work, Unice said he thought it would be a “great business to get into,” especially because the firm is “growing and greatly respected.”
“Another key differentiator in our company is the ability to provide services that combine insights of experienced attorneys and technical experts, working together,” Unice said. “We help our clients solve problems because we have been in their shoes, know the challenges they face and offer solutions that consider both technical and legal aspects.”
The firm, which has a team of 12, has innovated continuously through the use of advanced-analytics tools and expanded to provide cybersecurity, incident response and information governance services, which help lawyers and companies work through records management, and how to keep, secure and dispose of those records.
While Pittsburgh remains the firm’s home and a key hub of client service, bit-x-bit serves a growing client roster across the U.S.
“We are problem-solvers,” Ardisson said. “Our clients come to us with extraordinarily complex challenges that demand superior legal and technical expertise. We know the pressures they face, whether as in-house counsel, law firm litigators, business owners or information security professionals. Our team has sat in their seats and know how to give them what they need to succeed. John adds tremendous strength in that regard.”
Brett Creasy, the company’s President and Director of Digital Forensics, added, “John’s energy and experience are exactly what our company needs, and our clients deserve. I have high expectations for where we can go from here. With our leadership team, the company is poised to take things to the next level.”
The management team also includes Attorney Joseph Decker, who serves as a board member and general counsel.
“It is a very exciting time for our company and our clients. I am honored, and humbled, to follow in Susan’s footsteps,” Unice said. “I am fortunate to inherit the great team that Brett and Susan have built and look forward to creatively helping our clients solve their technical and legal challenges.”