Juliet Sato, Multidisciplinary Research Manager and Shiba Inu lover, fell in love with the company culture at The Expert Institute almost 2 years ago. Since joining TEI, she has grown from Research Associate to Multidisciplinary Research Manager, and she’s had the chance to interact with attorneys and industry experts across the nation. Now, she’s leading a team of research analysts who locate experts for all types of litigation, strategizing with Account Managers to facilitate better client relationships, and helping internal committees roll out new technology products — all in a day’s work!
We sat down with Juliet to chat about what she loves most about being a part of the Multidisciplinary Research Team at TEI.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born and raised in New York City. I love the city and I will never leave. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my Shiba Inu, Boris. I take him to the dog park and to the dog-friendly coffee shop near my house. I love to travel as well. My goal is to visit all the states in the US. I’ve seen a lot, but I still have a lot to cover. I’m only 5 feet tall, but I speak very loudly! People are usually shocked that I’m so boisterous!
What brought you to TEI?
Prior to joining TEI, I worked at an expert network and also worked at an executive search firm. In both of those roles, I was involved in recruiting experts, which is something that I really enjoy. But what brought me to TEI specifically was the types of experts that we recruit and the context in which we recruit them.
I was really drawn to the company’s intersection of technology and human talent as a product. I thought it was incredibly cool that TEI uses internal data to recruit expert witnesses, and I was particularly intrigued by the vital role that expert testimony can play in litigation. Legal cases often hinge on an expert’s opinion as to whether a deviation from the industry standard did or didn’t occur. The experts we source can be vital in breaking down these industry-specific concepts and explaining them to both attorneys and the jury.
I also got the chance to meet several of the research team folks before I joined the company and was immediately drawn to their tight-knit community and sense of camaraderie.
What was your first impression of the team and the office?
The main thing that stood out was the open office plan. There aren’t any individual cubicles and everybody leans across desks to talk to each other. Having come from a company where I worked in a cubicle and was by myself most of the day, I really appreciated the amount of communication and collaboration at TEI. It was very clear to me that the company is full of people who are engaged with what they do.
Can you describe the different roles you’ve had and your progression in the company?
I joined the company as a Research Associate, so I immediately began working on finding experts for cases. Very quickly thereafter, I started taking in cases, which involves working with our clients directly to learn the case details and develop custom search plans. I had the opportunity to consult them on their expert witness needs and participate in all aspects of the searches — from reaching out to experts, to vetting them, to ultimately helping our clients retain their chosen expert. I later took on a Team Lead position supervising more junior team members and approving casework before it went out to clients. Now I’m a Research Manager and I lead a team of 6 Research Analysts that source experts for our team’s dedicated portfolio of clients. I also handle our clients’ communication with the account management team.
I love being able to work with our clients and our experts because it gives me a taste of both worlds. We recently changed up the structure of our research staff so that each team works with a consistent portfolio of clients. This has been really great because it allows us to get a strong sense for our clients’ expert preferences. Before, our researchers worked with different clients across the country. While this was a great experience, the new structure has really afforded us the ability to better serve our clients.
What is an average day like for you?
No two days are the same! That’s part of what makes working here so exciting. But usually, my day consists of speaking with my clients, taking in their cases, and making sure everything is going smoothly with the experts we sourced. I also work closely with my team to strategize new search approaches. My team definitely keeps things interesting for me. There are always new questions that come up that haven’t been asked before. And then throughout a week, I work on a lot of projects with other departments at the company. For example, a strategy meeting with account management may pop up, or I might be asked to provide feedback from experts and clients to help grow our internal technology.
What has made working at TEI a unique experience for you?
I think that the service we offer to our clients is incredibly unique. Our clients are just amazed at the level of consultation we provide them and the quality of experts we source. The satisfaction of delivering our services to our clients, especially those that are new to working with us, is very gratifying.
But beyond that, being a Research Manager has given me the chance to take on significant leadership responsibilities fairly early in my career. I am able to train and develop my internal team while also serving in a client facing role. I also collaborate with our in-house medical team, business development team, and account management team every day.
Can you tell me about a time you were able to help a client through a tough situation?
One of our clients was working on a case with an expert who had a sudden death in the family. As a result, the expert had to back out of the case a week before the deposition was scheduled. For our clients in many states, it’s very difficult to disclose another expert that late in the game and even harder to get extensions. The client had a very short window of time to get another expert onboard. They came to us asking if we could try to help but expected there was nothing we could do.
My team was able to source another incredibly well-credentialed expert who reviewed all the medical records and prepared for the deposition within the week. The attorney never needed to apply for an extension and was able to see the case forward.
That was definitely a time when my team felt particularly helpful to our clients. The client had just signed on with us a week prior and was absolutely blown away by their first taste of our service! It was an amazing start to their relationship with us.
What is your favorite memory from your time with TEI?
This has happened on several occasions but it’s one of my favorite parts of working here. Because we’re an open office, at 6:10 pm on a Friday, everyone is hanging around and chatting about the week, the weekend, and everything in between. At other places, everyone’s running out Friday as soon as possible. But sitting and enjoying conversation with my team by our computers or in the kitchen is such a breath of fresh air. I love those moments because they make me appreciate being here. I don’t only like working here because of the work that I do; I also like working here because of the people that I work with.
What would you tell someone who’s considering joining the TEI research team?
TEI is a great place to be if you have a strong sense of curiosity and a willingness to get things done no matter what. We collaborate with folks across departments and we love to be challenged every single day. For anyone who is a true team player, you will find fulfillment in your career here.