Fast 25: Proteus Discovery Group

Keywords Fast 25 / Fast 25 2023
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From left, co-founders Jon Mattingly, Hamish Cohen, Sean Burke and Ray Biederman (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Revenue growth FY 2020 to 2022: 317%
2022 revenue: $6.79 million

Breaking away: Ray Biederman, Sean Burke, Hamish Cohen and Jon Mattingly were practicing attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg when they decided to branch off and create their own firm, Mattingly Burke Cohen & Biederman in 2015. They also started Proteus Discovery Group, an electronic data consulting company in the litigation and legal services space. 

The name: They took the name Proteus from the Greek god known for adaptability—which is one of the company’s core values—and from Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Player Piano,” whose protagonist, Paul Proteus, led a factory that was all mechanized and had the workforce reduced. “What we were seeing in the legal profession was a push to use artificial intelligence to review documents,” Biederman said. “It had some parallels to what was happening in the book.”

Their work: Biederman explains what Proteus does this way: Let’s say you worked for a company that is involved in a lawsuit. As part of the lawsuit, the company that was sued receives what’s called a litigation hold letter to make sure no relevant data gets destroyed or manipulated while the litigation is pending. From there, Proteus works with the company to identify relevant data sources and collect data from those sources—perhaps email, network files or cloud-based storage—and put it into review software. Then Proteus’ team of lawyers looks through that data and helps decide what’s relevant and what’s privileged. 

Rare service: The kind of services Proteus offers are ubiquitous on the coasts, Burke said, but not as common in places like Indianapolis. “But that’s starting to change because everybody is realizing how much data they’re creating electronically. That’s caused companies like ours to grow because we bill by how much data gets stored and by how much data we have to review in the context of any of these cases.”

Imminent growth: Biederman and Burke said they expect Proteus to continue to grow as this area of the law expands and because their firm has both the technological and legal skills to handle the work. “We have a special skill that we can talk to both lawyers and technologists and help get the data collected, protected, reviewed and produced effectively, efficiently and cost-effectively,” Biederman said.•

Check out more of IBJ’s ranking of Indy’s fastest-growing companies.

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