What's In a Name?

Aug 1, 2022 4:49:09 PM / by Ray Biederman

"Is it PROteus? ProTEEus? Pro-TAY-us? What is that? What does it mean?"

When my partners and I were preparing to launch Proteus in 2015, I wanted a name that carried multiple layers of meaning, including a nod to the type of work we do (apply advanced technology to the tradition-bound legal industry) and homage to our hometown (Indianapolis). 


Greek Mythology + Our Founding Tagline

In Greek mythology, Proteus was a sea-god whose characteristics included versatility, flexibility, and adaptability.

During our early years when we were purely a managed review provider, our tagline was "Review Adapted." On any given day, our team was working across dozens of matter types in multiple hosting and review platforms. Delivering a defensible work product while adapting to the nuance of a given situation is deep in our DNA. 

While the Proteus of mythology was prophetic, he revealed prophecies only to those capable of subduing him. Ethics, character, and discretion are of utmost importance when dealing with sensitive matters like litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory inquiries. And while there are no prophets on our team, Relativity's mission statement says it best: "Organize data, discover the truth, and act on it."


proteus inspirations


Indianapolis Literary Figure

Kurt Vonnegut was a wildly successful 20th century author, probably best known for Slaughterhouse Five, a novel he wrote after serving in World War II.

Vonnegut was born into a prominent Indianapolis family; his father and grandfather were architects, and many of their designs still stand mere blocks from Proteus's office in downtown Indy.

Another of Vonnegut's famous novels was Player Piano, and the protagonist of that story is Paul Proteus. Paul is a corporate manager in an industrial age who wrestles with the advance of technology and automation and the effect it has on society.

As that relates to eDiscovery, I believe Courts have been right to repeatedly uphold predictive coding. That said, it is equally important to note that these software products are tools, and tools are valuable only in the hands of a skilled craftsman. AI models rely on human input that is logical and consistent, which is why having a solid team of reviewers and project managers is essential. Reveal, another one of our software partners, points out that with the sheer volume of data being created today, AI can help reduce the speed to insights, protecting both reputational risk and legal budgets in the process.


What's In a Name?

So, what I hope you find in our name is a thoughtful, playful way to address the ongoing conversation about the use of technology in eDiscovery, and a tribute to the city where we launched this firm that now has clients from coast to coast.

If you think we may be a good partner for you, let's schedule a time to talk

Oh, and by the way: it's prō-tē-əs.

Tags: eDiscovery, Legal Services

Ray Biederman

Written by Ray Biederman

Ray is the CEO and Co-Founder of Proteus. He is an active litigator and acts as eDiscovery counsel for clients at Mattingly Burke Cohen & Biederman, LLP.