Seven Reasons to Create a Culture of Ongoing Learning with e-Discovery Technology Tools

Litigation teams often invest a significant amount of time, energy and money to identify the ideal e-discovery software product or related technology solution to meet their needs. They make a final decision, select the tool and begin the implementation, eager to realize a return on their investment.

Yet, far too often, there is a crucial final element that is overlooked: the importance of a sustained strategy for maximizing effective use of the tools by their end users. Unfortunately, unless your staff is well-trained on using that new software platform and your organization commits to a culture of ongoing learning when it comes to the use of technology tools, you simply can’t expect to reap the full benefits of your investment.

As professionals who have worked in IT for years — both inside and outside of the legal vertical — we can say from experience that an organization’s technology training strategy for their professional team members is arguably the most important predictor of success when it comes to the adoption of e-discovery software tools. In fact, according to a 2017 survey by the Technology Service Industry Association, 64 percent of employees use a software product more after they have undergone any form of dedicated training.

Here are seven reasons why you would be well-served to create a culture of ongoing learning with e-discovery technology solutions:

1. Consistency

As the number of members on your team grows — and the inevitability of employee turnover changes the makeup of the staff roster — there is a risk that technology tools will be used in different ways by different individuals. Ongoing training helps to maintain consistency in the way these tools are used across the organization.

2. Benefits of new features

It’s customary for software providers to roll out new features and functionalities to their flagship products on a regular basis. In order for your organization to achieve the full efficiency benefits to be gained from those new features, it’s important that you have a pre-determined commitment to ongoing learning, so all of your users are properly instructed in the latest bells and whistles.

3. Translation of release notes

The B2B software industry has come a long way from the complex user manuals of the 1990s, but the “release notes” that accompany each new iteration of an e-discovery technology offering can still seem like they’re written in a foreign language for end users to decipher. In-person training that can be built into your culture of ongoing learning is crucial to help translate these release notes into intelligible information for your team members.

4. Adoption rate

It’s simple arithmetic: in order to obtain the desired return on your investment in technology tools, you need your staff to use the software that you acquired. A systematic approach to ongoing training will allow your organization to make sure that your professionals are more comfortable with the software tools and more likely to incorporate them into their daily workflow, increasing adoption of the technology and maximizing your return on investment in the software.

5. Just-in-Time training

The best software training programs are able to be deployed to meet individual needs for specific applications as they arise. For example, AccessData offers flexible training options to help e-discovery professionals get the most out of their tools and their teams. From on-site training to virtual classes, AccessData’s training program focuses on the customer, their workflow and the ultimate success of the organization, as AccessData’s experts collaborate with the customer’s e-discovery specialists to build a workflow-based training program. [Disclosure:  Oronde Ward works for AccessData, an ACEDS affiliate partner].

6. Professional obligations

In April 2018, the North Carolina State Bar Council approved a requirement that lawyers in the state must have one hour of CLE training annually that is devoted to technology training, following the example set by the Florida Bar in 2016 when it became the first state to mandate technology training for lawyers. Moreover, the revised ABA Model Rule 1.1 now requires “technology competence” as a matter of a lawyer’s ethical duties in the representation of clients. It’s clear that technology training is increasingly becoming a professional obligation in the legal profession.

7. Certifications

Within the world of e-discovery in particular, it’s becoming more important to identify talent for your organization that has the highest level of professional training — or to cultivate that talent by investing in your employees’ professional development. Certifications have become a key way of identifying that specialized skill set. For example, the Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) certification, administered by ACEDS, responds to the need for professionals with diverse skills and knowledge across the e-discovery spectrum. The exam is constructed with the help of 40 experts under the strict auspices of a psychometric firm and a worldwide survey, producing a neutral and legally defensible professional certification program that is respected throughout the e-discovery community. [Disclosure: Mary Mack is the Executive Director of ACEDS].

The head-spinning advancements in technology solutions that support the e-discovery workflow have resulted in substantial efficiency gains and cost containment for litigants. Unfortunately, the pace of innovation with the development of those tools has not matched by a commitment to ongoing training when it comes to how they are put to use.

By creating a culture of ongoing technology learning in your organization, you can maximize the return on your investment in software and ensure that the end users of those tools are driving greater efficiency and accuracy throughout the e-discovery workflow.

Highlights of the Masters Conference

The Masters Conference was held on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in the Aon Building housing Microsoft’s Chicago office.

Robert Childress, Founder of the Masters Conference, introduced Dennis Garcia, AGC of Microsoft for the keynote traversing the landscape of legal leveraging the Microsoft stack—and with a heartfelt video of augmented reality assisting a blind Microsoft employee visualize the external environment.  Robert Childress, accompanied by his fiancé, Brittany, was warmly embraced by his eDiscovery family.

Panels included a star studded session with Mark Yacano, Major Lindsay & Africa, Dennis Kennedy, formerly a platform/product attorney at MasterCard and a true Legal Tech pioneer, Patrick Lamb of Valorem and his new disruptive endeavor and Matt Poplawski, eDiscovery attorney with Winston & Strawn.  The panel, moderated by friend of ACEDS, Cash Butler of Clarilegal, broke new ground with the metrics and incentives for cross-silo work with law firms, service providers and corporations, and focused on reducing friction and increasing deal velocity.

The GDPR panel, moderated by Mary Mack, Executive Director of ACEDS, included Jason Priebe of Seyfarth Shaw, Debbie Reynolds of Eimer Stahl Discovery Services, LLC and Charles E. Harris II of Mayer Brown.  The Social Media panel included Helen Gieb of QDiscovery, Colleen Kenney of Sidley Austin LLP, Grant Watson of SmithAmundson and moderator, Brian McClure of QDiscovery.

Our partner, David Kinnear, of High Performance Counsel’s HPC-TV live-streamed several panels and two key interviews.  The first, with Microsoft AGC, Dennis Garcia and second with Major, Lindsay & Africa’s Mark Yacano, gave insight into the deep reach of technology into the legal department.

Our ACEDS Chicago Chapter Happy Hour had 100+ attendees, many of whom came after work. We are so thankful to our sponsors; AccessData, Heretik, Hire Counsel, HayStackID, Navigant, Ricoh, Catalyst, QDiscovery, DiscoverReady and The CJK Group who made the event possible!

The ACEDS Chicago visit included meetings with High Performance Counsel’s hippest of HipCounsel, David Kinnear, CMO of QDiscovery, Tricia Johnson, team Relativity and Heureka’s Nate Latessa.

You can view all livestreams below:

Mary Mack’s panel: Data Privacy in a New World of the EU/US Privacy Shield and the GDPR: Livestream courtesy of ACEDS Media Partner: High Performance Counsel (HPC) Media Group:

Panel with Helen Geib of QDiscovery, Charles Krugel, Colleen Kenney and Grant Watson- moderated by Brian McClure of QDiscovery:

Keynote – Dennis Garcia, AGC of Microsoft:

Livestream from the Masters Conference panel: Social Media, Multimedia and Other Things You May Have Overlooked – Four TedTalks:

Livestream from the Masters: Legal Technology Innovation – How the Legal Buyer is Changing – with Mark Yacano of Major, Lindsey & Africa, Cash Butler of Clarilegal, Patrick Lamb of Valorem Law Group and Matthew Poplawski of Winston & Strawn:

Livestream from the ACEDS Chicago Chapter Happy Hour:

Livestream from Mary Mack interview with Dennis Garcia, AGC Microsoft- Livestream courtesy of ACEDS Media Partner High Performance Counsel (HPC) Media Group:


Malley’s Chocolate Data Debacle – How Sweet it Ain’t

The history of American commerce is small business. Some of them grow to become very big businesses, and as you have seen over the years, it’s amazing how many Fortune 500 companies from 20 years ago, are no longer around in their former form. {Only 60 of the 1955 Fortune 500 remain operating}

It is true that: Every small business is in the cross hairs of cyber-crook-ery.

And it is also true that: A Small Business has fewer cash resources on hand to deal with a data breach.

Ergo, a breach can kill a small business including yours.

Maybe you are a mom and you received a box of chocolates from your offspring on Mother’s Day. Or, maybe you presented a box of sugary bliss to the mom(s) in your life.

Over in Cleveland, chocolate is unsweetened bitter-root for one small business where the headline read:

Malley’s Chocolates’ website hacked, 3,400 online customers’ card information breached

“It was awful,” Malley’s Chairman and co-owner Mike Malley said in an interview. “We take our customers’ privacy and security very seriously.”

If you take the time to read the full article (and the comments) on you’ll see some factoids that are, unfortunately, all too common in the growing scourge of SMB’s data disasters.

  1. The breached firm in this incident was notified about the breach by customers (or law enforcement, or the FBI or a reporter in other cases)
  2. The breached firm probably messed up its breach response as it relates to Ohio statutes.
  3. Apparently, the breached firm didn’t know what payment card date elements it needed to protect (like the security code?)
  4. In this era of booming e-commerce, no business can afford to be offline for even a few minutes, this incident caused the affected chocolatier to be fully off-line for four days.
  5. The article mentions one of the costs to this small business beyond being knocked offline – the cost of a call center to answer alarmed customers concerns. It does not mention the cost of the data breach notice letter mailings, and any Identity Theft or Reputation Management services the breached firm may also need to cover in an effort to regain customers TRUST. It also doesn’t mention any penalties or fines with which the firm may be confronted in terms of compliance with the PCI standards. How do these costs square with cash on hand?

Query – this is a sweet little business. Has grown to 23 locations. It’s a real American success story.

Presumably, the firm uses outside professionals – maybe a CPA, and a law firm, and an insurance agency, and an IT consulting firm, and perhaps it belongs to an association of independent business owners.

Is it possible that all those professionals and/or associations didn’t provide solid advice and counsel about data breach readiness, response and resilience?

Did the owner ignore the advice to further harden defenses?

We can’t know, nor can we know the minds of the reported 3,453 card owners who apparently lost control of their own payment card information thru no fault of their own. Will they forgive, or will they vote with their fingers and silently move their sweet tooth elsewhere?

Malley’s is back on line and no doubt garnered Mother’s Day orders. But, if one visits the e-commerce section of the business today to place an order and wonders about security while in the order placement process, one will find this message under the FAQ’s section:

“Is this a secure site?
Absolutely! This site is protected using the “Internet Standard” SSL 128 bit encryption.”

Be #CyberAware.

Do CIGO’s Really Exist?

Image by Eric P. Mandel, “View from DBR Skyview Conference Center, Chicago IL”

I flew to Chicago recently on a grand quest: to come face to face with the mythological creature known as the CIGO. I first heard of the CIGO in 2014, or maybe it was 2015. Having been fascinated with turning the idea of information governance into reality a few years earlier, I have long desired the opportunity to meet an actual CIGO in the wild.  I figured my time had finally come, having secured an invitation to the 2018 CIGO Summit from my friends at the Information Governance Initiative (

This was the fourth annual event for the IGI, but it was the first I was able to attend. The attendees included corporate representatives covering various areas of the information governance spectrum, as well as several thought-leaders and a few generous sponsors.

The event started off with a low stress late afternoon plenary session, framed by plenty of time for networking – which I’m sure came as a relief to those who had been going nonstop for nearly three days at the preceding annual MER Conference.  The afternoon session included a group exercise exploring the generic opportunities and threats (the second half of a SWOT analysis) for implementing or expanding a successful IG program over the next year.  Of the several key threats identified by the group, the lack of authority / executive sponsorship appeared to be functionally endemic — and was the subject of further discussion on Day 2 (as addressed below).  On the other side of the coin, the opportunities for IG identified by the group were seemingly more plentiful and diverse, covering the spectrum of the overall benefits of information governance that we have discussed for years now, such as promoting collaboration and knowledge management throughout the enterprise.  Additionally, it was well-noted by many that the eminent roll-out of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) was bringing long-wanted attention to push for information governance, in general, and an updated records and information management program in particular.

Day 2 kicked off with a decidedly different pace, moving quickly through the day with rapid fire 10 to 30 minute sessions covering a variety of topics touching on key elements of information governance.   The morning sessions focused on leadership and innovation in a multi-disciplinary environment, with several excellent presentations.  Of particular note were the presentations of two military officers: Russ Stalters, who was one of the leaders of the BP oil spill litigation response program and a former Naval aviator, and Chris Graves, who is the COO of Tritura and an active reserve Marine Colonel who has repeatedly been deployed into active war zones over the last 17 years.

My takeaway from the morning sessions was that for information governance to gain a foothold in today’s enterprise, we need leaders who can actively listen to understand the diverse interests of varying stakeholders, who can bring together and harmonize teams from different disciplines, and most importantly, those who can manage change.

The afternoon continued with the rapid fire program, with a focus on specific challenges and practical solutions for those faced with attempting to implement IG in larger enterprises. For me, one of the best presentations of the day was from Morgan King, Head of Records & Information Management at Shire. In addition to her official role in the company, Morgan serves as chair of the company’s Governance Council that includes representatives from all major facets of IG that exist across the enterprise. I was drawn to the story of how Shire has established and is growing a functioning IG program and leadership team that addresses the core purpose of having a CIGO, without actually having hired a CIGO.  As Morgan explained, Shire’s Governance Council includes a Chair and Vice-Chair from leading stakeholders, as well as a steering committee that includes the other C-Level or functional leads.  There are defined management boundaries and objectives, an established meeting cadence for the steering committee and council, along with standard defined deliverables to be submitted to the executive corporate leadership.  While one could argue that a CIGO role would be the proverbial cherry on top of this program, Shire’s IG program can serve as a functioning model of IG maturity.

One common theme heard throughout the day was the oft repeated notion that legal, compliance and records tend to be considered the departments of “NO!”  It seems to me that for information governance to be able to grow and develop within an enterprise, we must find a pathway to “Yes” that addresses the needs of the enterprise for the processing of information while still achieving acceptable governance.  While one speaker suggested that we need to “break down silos that divide us,” it seems to me that we should instead reframe the point as instead looking to bridge the gaps between existing silos and establish integrated IG approaches that address the many facets of the enterprise that impact information governance.

While I did not succeed in finding an actual CIGO at the CIGO Summit, I walked away from the event better informed, and filled with new ideas (plus a 3rd place prize for their annual Play-Doh sculpture competition).



LTPI Sunsets Itself, Work Product to Live On

As a late Board member of the Legal Technology Professionals Institute (LTPI), my profound gratitude to the originators, officers and participants in the collaboration and resulting work product.  -Mary Mack

The time has come…
In early 2015, a group of dedicated industry veterans joined together to establish the Legal Technology Professionals Institute. Our stated mission:

To establish, build, and maintain a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) industry trade association to represent all participants in the legal technology industry, including providers and consumers of technology products and services, and provide the industry as a whole with operational and ethical standards, best practices, guidelines, resources, forums, and public advocacy.

Running a non-profit corporation with multiple ongoing programs and projects requires significant financial resources along with enormous personal dedication and commitment. From the beginning, LTPI has been led by an all-volunteer team — each with a full-time day job. The intent was to hire professional staff to manage the Institute programs and projects once we had reached the necessary funding levels. Unfortunately, that day never arrived, and we have, over time, lost the wind from our sails.

The Board of Directors of the Legal Technology Professionals Institute has explored multiple options that might allow us to continue fulfilling the mission of the Institute, but sadly we have determined that our only realistic option at this point is to cease operations and begin the process of winding down our non-profit, non-stock corporation.

Over the past three years, many members of our community donated countless hours towards achieving the mission of LTPI. The time and commitment of these individuals has led to the creation of numerous professional standards, guidelines and other works that are in use across the industry, and regularly included in CLE programs. We have also relied upon the kindness of several benefactors over the years to cover our operational costs. To all of you, please accept our most sincere and humble gratitude.

To ensure that the fine work product created by the community remains available to the community, we are working on plans to create a publicly accessible archive of our final materials and continue to maintain it under a Creative Commons license, as we have from the beginning. We intend to make a public announcement once that transformation is complete.

With most sincere thanks and warm wishes…

The LTPI Board of Directors

London Bridges International Relativity Community

Relativity Fest London, formerly known as the Spring Relativity Roadshow, gathered an international crowd in London on 1 May 2018.  The conference offered half-day workshops the day before a full-day focused on legal, cloud, security, and partner innovations.

Relativity’s CEO, Andrew Sieja opened with his keynote on the cloud and demonstrated through metrics the current adoption of RelativityOne.  Andrew highlighted partners Ricoh, CDS and FTI Consulting as well as their new UK client Allen & Overy.

Andrew also introduced Amanda Fennel, Relativity’s Chief Security Officer who shared their vision and implementation of a strong security plan. Unlike most security officers, Amanda tore through her presentation, offering metrics and the design practices she is shepherding to secure Relativity code, and the client data the code supports.

Relativity also announced project Insight, a proactive compliance-oriented workflow for Relativity that will flag documents based on a predefined template of keywords and put the automatically ingested communications into an oversight and monitoring workflow.

ACEDS was honored by an invitation to participate in the conference. Kaylee Walstad livestreamed three sessions and several interviews, and  Mary Mack contributed to the GDPR panel.

The new eDisclosure rules in the UK were parsed by Sir Colin Birss, Business and Property Courts Supervising Judge for the Midland, Wales,

and Western Circuity; Ed Crosse, Partner, Simmons & Simmons; Chris Dale, Founder, eDisclosure Information Project; Karyn Harty, Partner, McCann FitzGerald and Wendy King, Managing Director, FTI Consulting, moderated by David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel & Legal Education Director.

The Last Minute GDPR checklist was discussed by Chris Gallagher, Chief Solutions Officer Global Outsourcing, Special Counsel/D4; Jennifer Sharman Koh, Regional Director, LexSensis; Mary Mack, Executive Director, Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS) and Mark Thompson, Director and Privacy Practise Leader, KPMG, moderated by Constantine Pappas, Relativity Solutions Manager, Relativity.

David Horrigan moderated the final panel: a showdown between The Honorable James Francis IV, retired magistrate judge from the US Southern District of New York and Rachi Messing, the Senior Program Manager of Microsoft.  Judge Francis wrote the original opinion which Microsoft appealed through the process all the way to the Supreme Court, an appeal that was supported by most of the tech industry.

Since the US Supreme Court made the US v Microsoft case moot regarding the obligation of Microsoft to turn over data stored on Irish servers, the two instead offered their respective positions regarding the newly passed Cloud Act. The Act was added to the budget and became law without any hearings or normal Congressional process.

ACEDS UK Chapter officers and members James MacGregor, Robert Kenney, Nicola Milton, Emily J. Wyllie-Ballard and Mark Brannigan were all there as well as ACEDS community members from the UK, Benelux and US! The next UK chapter event will be held on May 16th at 5:30pm on Blockchain and feature a Who’s Who of the leading thinkers and practitioners.  The event will present a panel including:

Richard Tromans – Editor, The Artificial Lawyer

Dr Ben Gardner, Chief Scientific Officer – Wavelength Law
Gary Nuttall, Managing Director – Distlytics Ltd
Lee Bacon, Partner – Clyde & Co.
Alexander Carter-Silk, Partner – Brown Rudnick
Spencer Lynch, Managing Director – Stroz Friedberg

Order of Events:
Registration will start at 5:30pm
The Panel Discussion will end at 7:00pm
There will be a drinks reception until 9:00pm

The event will be held at Reed Smith – London Office; Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London EC2A 2RS, United Kingdom.  Registration for the event is not open yet, but to register interest please sign up to our mailing list at This event is open to all.

RelativityFest in Chicago will be held September 30th to October 3rd and you can register here:


Livestreams here:

Mary Mack’s GDPR panel:

Andrew Sieja’s Keynote:

Cloud Act Keynote with Judge Francis, Rachi Messing and David Horrigan:

Interviews with:

David Greetham, VP of eDiscovery Sales & Operations Ricoh:

Andrew Sieja, CEO Relativity:

Joy Murao, Founder Practice Aligned Resources and Nate Latessa, COO Heureka:

Anna Soroonian, Program Manager, Relativity: