Mike Quartararo

ACEDS President’s E-Discovery Market Prediction: Same Skills, Different Jobs

This article is brought to you courtesy of Legaltech News and was originally published on August 11, 2020.

While ACEDS membership and the number of certified individuals is growing, ACEDS president Mike Quartararo expects the e-discovery industry itself might take longer to fully bounce back from layoffs and the other lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Quartararo, president of the Association of E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), won’t officially celebrate a year on the job until October, but he’s had more than a year’s worth of work in that time. COVID-19 has sent ripples throughout e-discovery and the legal industry general, prompting a litigation slowdown and subsequent layoffs.

Fortunately, ACEDS’ status as an online education provider has made it easier to adapt to a new world where business, industry conferences and even certifications are conducted online. Quartararo, who before coming to ACEDS served as managing director at eDPM Advisory Services and director of litigation support services at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, believes the e-discovery sector will eventually bounce back.

However, the same jobs might be located in different places when it does. Below, Quartararo discusses why he thinks e-discovery gigs are headed away from law firms and what e-discovery professionals may need to know in a post-pandemic world.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Legaltech News: This was probably not the first year that you were expecting. How did the onset of the pandemic impact your plans for this year? Is this a different e-discovery industry than the one that began your tenure at ACEDS?

Michael Quartararo: I don’t think it’s changed my view of the industry. But it’s certainly impacted us in that as a professional association in the space, we kind of count on that ability to interact with people in-person. So we’ve kind of been—as has everybody in the space—forced to go virtual with our events, our chapter meetings, attending conferences, all of those kinds of things.

Do you see the impact of COVID-19 forcing ACEDS to rethink the way that it approaches its mission long-term?

At the end of the day we’re a training and certification association, and if ever there was time to be an online education provider, it’s a good time for that. So we’ve been fortunate in that regard.

We are fortunate to be positioned to offer a lot of what we do online. For instance, we’ve pivoted from our exam is offered at a thousand testing centers around the world. It was a really light lift for us to moved it online and provide online proctored exams.

Towards the beginning of the pandemic we saw a slowdown in litigation and the resulting layoffs that occurred within the e-discovery industry. Are we starting to see that trend reverse itself?

I think it’s likely to continue for a while, in my opinion, just because it’s not quite clear. There’s more recently been a surge in layoffs. The surge has been in COVID-19 sort of rising up again across the nation and I think… the e-discovery and litigation space is probably going to be flat for a few more months until we kind of figure this out.

But I’m optimistic that everybody is adapting well and finding their way through this. I think that on the other side there will be an increase in litigation and therefore e-discovery projects, and so we’re posed to continue offering the training and certification to those who need it.

Do you think that all of the e-discovery jobs that were lost during the initial stages of the pandemic will return? Or will that talent simply be clustered in different places than before COVID-19?

I think some of it will come back, but I think that there will be a shift in the work force in that more people will go work in-house or at vendors as opposed to law firms, maybe.

But that all remains to be seen. I think it’s a big question mark… If I had to guess I would say more vendor-centric employment opportunities because I think more of the work is—as it has been for years—moving in-house. There will just be more opportunity for jobs on the vendor and corporate side than on the law firm side.

Are there new skills that e-discovery professionals will have to learn or emphasize if they hope to remain relevant in a post-pandemic world?

I think the skill set pretty much remains the same. If there’s any sort of area of specialization, I would say it’s more around dealing with issues like machine learning or AI or TAR. Those kinds of skill sets are going to become more valuable as we come out of this thing, because people are going to be looking for more efficient ways to, for example, review documents. If there’s an application that helps in that regard, I think that’s going to become a more useful skill.

And then I think on the information governance side of things with everybody moving to the cloud, understanding issues around SaaS-based offerings, maintaining those kinds of information governance protocols on the left side of the EDRM are going to become really important. 

Joy Murao_ Advisory Board Interview _ Blog

The Transformation of Legal Technology Training

Ari Kaplan speaks with ACEDS board member Joy Murao, the founder and CEO of Practice Aligned Resources, a legal technology consulting and education company, about how legal technology training has evolved since she started Practice Aligned Resources in 2015, how the emergence of legal operations in both law firms and corporate law departments has impacted expectations of how skilled legal professionals need to be, the impact of advanced training on one’s career, and where legal technology training is headed.

Ari Kaplan:
Tell us about your background and the genesis of Practice Aligned Resources.

Joy Murao:
After graduating from paralegal school, I began working in litigation support. When I became a hiring manager, I quickly recognized the challenge of hiring staff with the skillsets required for our industry.  An issue which continues to this day. Addressing that challenge fueled the launch of Practice Aligned Resources (PAR), which created an environment where training is always at the forefront of everything we do. For me, creating PAR was a way for me to share what I learned over 25 years.

Ari Kaplan:
How has legal technology training evolved since you started Practice Aligned Resources in 2015?

Joy Murao:
The approach to training has evolved over time. Training used to follow a very predictable format, but I have seen it migrate towards workflow training or specific feature training versus being very menu-driven and making sure you touch every menu item that’s listed. What’s interesting now is, as you move forward and look at different technologies, things are more point-and-click or drag-and-drop. As a result, not only has the training changed, but the technology itself has evolved, which actually requires less formal training and more of an emphasis on workflow. Our team is often speaking about “why” and “how” professionals should be using technology for their practice, rather than the narrow mechanics of their usage.

Ari Kaplan:
What are some best practices that you recommend in developing training initiatives in this area?

Joy Murao:
I try to focus on roles, responsibilities and practical outcomes to construct programs that yield value right away. Some of my best practices focus on the end result for my students and encouraging them to correctly identify outcomes that we can build into the training.

Ari Kaplan:
How has the emergence of legal operations in both law firms and corporate legal departments impacted expectations of how skilled legal professionals actually need to be?

Joy Murao:
Unfortunately, there aren’t many opportunities to teach people how to function in legal operations roles within law firms or corporate legal departments so everyone struggles with understanding what that job means for their particularly company’s business. The emergence of legal operations, in law firms and legal departments requires us to focus our training on the skills that the relatively new function requires. Having people who can traverse IT, HR, and legal, while speaking a common vocabulary and understanding the drivers for each of those groups is an important asset to a valuable training program. We can make the most powerful impact when we understand the skills one has and what we can train the individual to do. 

Ari Kaplan:
How are people applying the training that they receive?

Joy Murao:
I see their questions and the way they approach challenges changing. Instead of being more timid when they start their training, we see the lessons connecting with them and their questions escalating in depth. Some take more of a command and follow through with their groups or departments. They ultimately learn to justify and speak to the value of whatever the new technology or initiative is that they are studying. They increasingly weigh the costs and benefits of different technologies and it is amazing to see how empowered they are to raise themselves and their departments up.

Ari Kaplan:
What impact are you seeing advanced training having on the careers of the professionals with whom you’re working?

Joy Murao:
I see people pivoting or layering on top of their current positions or jobs. They are developing their technology skills, especially since law schools are not yet completely teaching or integrating technology into their programs. Some leverage their new abilities to start practice groups or lead departments, such as litigation support or knowledge management. In addition, lawyers and paralegals are achieving higher-level career opportunities because they gain an understanding of the business side and recognize the value and the power of integrating IT and legal.

Ari Kaplan:
What’s the advantage of working with team members who have the diverse array of skills you described?

Joy Murao:
The diversity of skills and people on anyone’s team actually helps them become more successful in meeting the needs of their users. Many departments have changed designations from litigation support to practice support because in the legal landscape, technology is rooted in everything from bankruptcy to corporate M&A to litigation. As a result, a diverse skillset amongst your team is important to meet these new needs. I compare my teams to a chess board. Each piece has a different skillset or role that together we can deploy for different strategies. It gives us an ability to be successful no matter which path we follow. I often look towards filling a skill gap, even outside of the litigation support or practice development to the paralegal groups, word processing departments, IT teams, and business development leaders. Then, I look to vendors and service providers who can help fill those gaps. 

Ari Kaplan:
What are the practical implications of offering a wide selection of training opportunities?

Joy Murao:
It means offering online training and video training, among other types, in a variety of styles and durations. Wider selections mean creating very specific topics and focusing them on the audience. If you’re teaching legal hold issues, you need to create a different kind of training program for your audience, whether it is comprised of paralegals, legal secretaries, operations staff members, law firm associates, or partners. Their goals and the way they leverage that training or that information is going to be different. We strive for sustainable learning that hits home so we need to offer tangible and practical strategies. Understanding one piece allows them to seamlessly rise to the next level whenever that needs to be.

Ari Kaplan:
Where do you see legal technology training headed?

Joy Murao:
You’re already starting to see inroads being made with legal technology training or just a broader training outside of the typical paralegal or law school curriculum. That said, it is still not making the impact for which one would hope. There is a trend to broaden the duty of competency to include technology components, and as the obligations with respect to technology are more clearly defined, client expectations will rise. We will also see more ethics training around the value that technology will bring and protections it will offer those clients. I am hoping that more formal education programs in law and paralegal schools will offer a baseline core curriculum for legal technology training. After all, when you look at the evolution of work distributed amongst associates, paralegals, litigation support professionals, or practice professionals at law firms, they need to understand the roles that they play and how technology enhances their ability to serve clients. Litigation support departments are growing for this reason. Technology companies are spending a lot of money on innovation, which is amazing, but many dedicate more to marketing than training. That’s great for brand awareness, but training plays an indirect, important role for marketing. Investments in certification programs would give a product a framework or structure that allows end users to see value.

Compliance theme with woman working on a laptop

The Impact of Technology Certifications on Your Career

ACEDS Advisory Board Chair, Ari Kaplan, spoke with Tom O’Connor, a nationally-recognized consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems, who is also a member of the global advisory board for ACEDS, and discussed why professionals seek certifications, the challenges associated with obtaining one, their impact on one’s career, and how they are evolving.

Listen to the full interview here

Sonya Judkins_ Advisory Board Interview

The Expanding Role and Influence of the Modern Litigation Support or E-Discovery Manager

ACEDS Advisory Board Chair Ari Kaplan Interviews Sonya Judkins, ACEDS Advisory Board Member and Manager of Legal Discovery/Compliance at T-Mobile

What has been the typical role of a litigation support or e-discovery manager?
An individual who could help the law department support the workload of a law firm at a lower rate given the rising costs of e-discovery. As expenses increased, law departments sought to avoid paying higher hourly law firm rates by leveraging the talent of an internal litigation support or e-discovery manager.

What has changed to prompt the evolution of this role?
I believe the use and understanding of technology have had a tremendous effect on the transformation of this role. Instead of simply serving as a factor in reducing the budget, now these types of professionals are being called upon to participate in strategy sessions and budget conversations to more effectively impact the trajectory of the law department.

What is required to succeed in this role?
Success requires patience and strong communication and organization skills, among others. We are usually thrown into situations where the odds are against our team. To serve most effectively, one needs to pause, consider the options, analyze key problems, and create practical solutions that do not always have a precedent. And, you need to do so without adding to the budget. While success may have different interpretations, IT and legal often have different objectives, applying unique talents to understand those distinctions and align expectations is critical. For that reason, the e-discovery manager is often the ambassador of the law department litigation team.

How can a litigation support and e-discovery manager navigate the different worlds within a corporation?
One has to be nimble and capable of pivoting seamlessly. A single call or decision is not always related to a matter in a linear fashion, which complicates the approach to problem-solving. As a result, it is critical that the legal team recognizes that an e-discovery or litigation support manager can offer tremendous value due to their varied exposure to each case. In fact, because of their experiences, they naturally right-size the approach to any type of matter.

What are the challenges of serving as a litigation support or e-discovery manager?
The single biggest challenge is the willingness to invest in solutions that can transform the organization’s litigation profile. And, it is critical that the correct individuals with the appropriate levels of seniority are involved in the implementation of a given solution. In fact, they need to be associated with the effort over the long-term to ensure long-lasting success.

How should litigation support and e-discovery managers view their role?
They should not limit their responsibilities to a single case or remain content with a limited role. Look for opportunities to apply your skills and experience to other matters and groups beyond the legal department. For example, if you develop a new process for issuing legal holds with tracking software, consider ways that the finance or procurement teams can adapt your ideas and workflows.

How is the role of a litigation support or e-discovery manager evolving?
It is increasingly being held by a professional a more senior-management-level position with a seat at the table. It has become more of a business stakeholder, rather than someone who was historically executing a task for cost reduction. In fact, the litigation support or e-discovery manager is much more of a strategic leader offering solutions to problems and working to proactively prevent litigation. To the greatest extent possible, you need to position yourself at that strategic level by providing advice and guidance on best practices to impact policies and change downstream. It is important for litigation support and e-discovery managers to take initiative from the beginning of a matter to the end despite the extensive workload.

George Socha_CEDS Spotlight Headshot

CEDS Spotlight: George Socha, CEDS

Welcome to our “CEDS Spotlight” where we will feature ACEDS members who have recently become CEDS certified. Every one of our members is unique and so are their e-discovery journeys. We hope this will be a terrific way for you to get to know the ACEDS community.


[Maribel] Hi everyone I am Maribel Rivera I am the Senior Director of community relations at ACEDS. Welcome to our CEDS spotlight where we will feature ACEDS members who have recently become CEDS certified. Everyone of our members is unique and so are their E-discovery journeys. Today I’m excited to feature George Socha. George, welcome.

[George] Thank you very much.

[Maribel] George, you just recently got your CEDS certification I’m really excited for you, congratulations we want–

[George] Thank you.

[Maribel] You’re welcome, we wanted to talk a little bit with you today about the whole process that you went through but first could you share a little bit about your e-discovery background and expertise with our audience.

[George] Well I, as we were chatting earlier, I do have a little bit of e-discovery background. I– when you see me looking up like that I am a very visual person that the EDRM diagram might suggest and when I’m looking up at that it’s because I’m looking at a picture in my head to help describe things or see a chronology or whatever so what I was thinking about there is that I first got involved in E-discovery probably somewhere between 1991 and 1993 I don’t really know because who was paying attention to those things at that time and I got involved in E-discovery not because I had any intention of spending any time doing that but rather because once upon a long time ago back in 1972 I took a computer programming class. And then in 1973 I took my last computer programming class. In the interim between 1973 and 1991 or ’93 I spend my high school years or way too much of them writing code just for the fun of it not with any object in mind that’s what my friends and I did for entertainment. Went off to college where I had nothing to do with computers off to west Africa where I had even less to do with computers, I was a Peace Corp volunteer there but came coming back from West Africa spent a few months bicycling through Europe where I stopped to visit my middle brother who was in Austria for the summer sequestered away at a friends cabin writing a book called Inside the IBM PC and I looked at the content he was writing The machine he was using ironically a compaq portable if that means anything to anybody and not an IBM PC and thought well the world has changed while I was gone. When I got back to the states I taught myself how to use those early IBM PCs using WordStar which was a word processing program long before we got to things like Word or even WordPerfect before that Wrote an inventory management system for my father’s business Sort of to teach myself how to use the computer and then headed off to law school where I brought along the computer I had recently purchased, an Apple Macintosh purchased in January of 1984 the same month as the at that time the same as the superbowl ad for the introduction of the Apple Macintosh. I brought that to law school used that to write up my papers and because I had a computer and because I was very involved in the legal aid clinic and the reason for that I was a Peace Corp volunteer I had worked very much with my sleeves rolled up. Law school, especially at a place like Cornell can get in the classroom it is not a sleeves rolled up type of experience or at least it wasn’t in those days, it was much more actuarial experience if you will and I needed something practical to work on. Got involved in the legal aid clinic, IBM donated half a dozen PCs to the law school the then Dean of the law school Peter Martin by the way went on to form the legal information institute along with Peter Brusha I think his name is at Cornell said we don’t really have a place for computers in the classroom but maybe the clinic can use them, the head of the clinic turned to me and said “Well you have a computer, maybe you can figure out what we can do with them.” and I ended up writing a sneakerware matter management system for the legal aid clinic. Sneakerware because at the time you could not yet network PCs together. Came out of law school, took a job at a law firm, they handed me a Dictaphone and said “See how technologically advanced we are.” So I looked at that thing and I thought well I can’t do anything with this and I brought my trustworthy Macintosh into the office. I very shortly had a steady stream of senor associates and junior partners come into my office, close the door, sit down and deliver almost verbatim the same message which essentially was lose the computer. If you have a computer you will never be taken seriously as an attorney, you will never be anything other than a glorified word processor and secretary. Well I didn’t lose the computer. I’m no longer a practicing attorney, I guess they were right

[George] But what did happen is that the firm landed what would be the largest set of cases they would ever have and it was a set of nation wide fight for the company life toxic tort matters where we were going to have what we used to refer to in those days as the mythical millionaire, million documents or a million pages of documents no one was ever very clear about that because there were going to be so many and there were we had more than that ultimately, and it really was a lot for those days. We were going to have someone sit down with copies of those documents, read them and type information from those documents into a computer and code them and someone needed to help manage that whole process and there was a computer involved and I had a computer on my desk so I was tapped to help out with that process, that meant I got to know the people in our IT operations at the law firm I was at it also meant that I got more and more involved in automated litigations support, worked with schools such as concordance and summation which were the dominant product in the field in the day before anyone really was thinking or almost thinking on really was thinking about electronics discovery. And then sometime in the early 90’s we started getting the first of our e-discovery matters. I was tapped on the shoulder, you know, I had a computer I was working with these tools, I must know what to do about this, of course I hadn’t a clue what to do with it One of the very first matters I worked on we were representing the plaintiffs on that one which was not typically what we did, we were mostly a defense firm. And I was assigned the task of flying, I think it was so Kansas City, I don’t remember for sure, and taking the deposition of the IT director where I was supposed to find out everything including where all the dirt and the secrets were just by asking him questions on the deposition about their electronically stored information which we call it now. It was, without question the worst deposition of my career and that what got me launched in e-discovery.

[Maribel] Excellent, well thank you for sharing that and I know I guess right after that is when you founded the EDRM model.

[George] Well a decade later.

[Maribel] A decade later right

[George] A decade later I was no longer at that first firm nor the second one, the first firm collapsed, a group of nearly thirty of us left the first firm to start another law firm and I was at that law firm through into 2003, left in 2003 to start a new discovery consultant practice. One of the first projects I was asked to work on was one that called for me to do a survey of the E-discovery market, who were the leading providers, what are the challenges people are facing and how much money is involved in this anyway . They wanted me to do some things I did not have experience doing and felt like I needed to pull someone in and help me out and I brought in someone I had worked with when I was at that first law firm right about that same time as I began working on the first E-discovery projects. He had been the IT director at another law firm in town they had fired him thinking they had reached technology nirvana and did not need him nor the entire level of staff underneath him. So he was freelance consulting at the time I contacted him and said, “Tom, have I got a deal for you, these folks want me to do a project I don’t know how to do it, they’ve got a ridiculously short timeframe here we are never going to make the deadline the expectation are ridiculously high we are never going to please them, are you in or not?” and Tom said, “Well with an offer like that how can I say no.” So we went on to do the first of what would be six years of the Social Gelman Electronic Discovery Survey. As Tom and I were gathering data and evaluating data for that survey we realized that especially when we were talking with folks at providers but also when we were talking with people at law firms and at corporations we were getting a common response from people and that response was some variation of look you guys you just don’t understand what e-discovery is let me tell you it’ what I do its what we do those other people that’s not E-discovery. We heard that from people whose primary focus was preserving data and people who only spent their time collecting it or processing it or reviewing it. Each one of them thought they did the one true electronic discovery and the rest of those folks were I don’t know, posers or something So we said maybe it would be useful if somebody sat down and did maybe a one year project, get together a small group of people to try and answer two sets of questions. One, what is e-discovery because obviously there’s confusion and disagreement and two, what are the basic steps involved in the actions people take. And tom, he has a formal IT background, I don’t said these things I’ve worked with in the past called reference models maybe we can use that as sort of a conceptual framework and I said yeah okay and we are dealing with electronic discovery here so how about we call this thing for a lack of a better name the Electronic Discovery Reference Model and that’s a mouthful so let’s just say EDRM And that’s where we all started we sent out a call for participation to folks we knew had I think 35 people show up for our first meeting in May of 2004 in Saint Paul. They arrived at the meeting and said, “okay sounds like you all are doing something interesting but we don’t really understand what you’re doing so why don’t you explain to us why were are all here.” And that of course lasted for a lot more than one year. Become the EDRM that so many people are familiar with today and as well the diagram that many people use without even knowing that there is such a thing as EDRM out there.

[Maribel] Yes, well thank you for sharing that. Given that whole experience, everything I mean that’s decades of work and decades of dealing in law firms and litigation what made you decide this year to become certified in e-discovery?

[George] Well you know after I took the bar exam in whenever that was, 1987, I said, “I am done with that type of test, I am never taking that type of test again and I had been steadfast in my resistance until this year. And really the primary reason I sat down to prepare for and take that test, all the while worrying and what if I fail– Was that–

[Maribel] We would have had to talk to you if you failed

[George] That’s right you would have had to have a discussion with me. The reason I went for the materials and then took a test is that ACEDS has a newly reformulated and revived global advisory board and one at the meeting at legal leap we were asked please all to try and make it a priority. That was part of it, the other part though is as I thought about what it means or should mean to be a member of a global advisory board like that I thought well I really should see what the materials are like for preparing for the test and I really should go through all of those and take the test test and sample test and take the test itself because otherwise I don’t really understand one of the key things that ACED does then how can I be as productive and useful member of the global advisory board if I haven’t done that so that is what finally prompted me to agree to back off my thirty plus year opposition to take any farther test like that and sit down and go through that exam.

[Maribel] Well thank you for taking that and I know you’re newly appointed as part of the global advisory board but you’re also a chapter leader for our twin cities chapter so that, it’s doing that as well becoming CEDS certified I think is a really great thing for the chapter just to see that their leaders are going through it.

[George] And we had a call, we have monthly calls for our chapter we had our monthly call last week I think it was maybe the week before you know the days run by right

[Maribel] Yeah

[George] They all combine, and one of the topics I said at the global advisory board meeting one of the suggestions was for as many of us as could to see if we could become ACEDS certified, I frankly don’t know how many people in our local board are that and we need to take that on as a task for ourselves well it sounds like almost everyone is already. So we’ve got a few people two or three maybe just two who aren’t yet but we are largely there locally at least so I guess we are ahead of the curve once again here in Minnesota.

[Maribel] Excellent, well that’s great to see and I think across we are starting to see more and more of our chapter leaders looking at the E-discovery executive or the CEDS training programs so that they can also get CEDS certified. Just given the whole process what are you thoughts on the certification training, the exam what’s your feedback on the whole thing?

[George] I did not really know what to expect going into it what I did to prepare was to go to the recorded preparation sessions, I think there were three of them what a combine three or four hours of time–

[Maribel] Yeah

[George] I forget exactly–

[Maribel] An hour and a half each.

[George] So I watched all of those, yeah watched all of those and then when I was, and then there are also available from thee same site its own little website you can watch the recording which I did you can participate in live sessions which I didn’t mostly because of scheduling challenges and the time I had available to look at those sets, those recordings did not match up with any live sessions here is the time I can so it so this is what I’m going to do, I went as well to the various materials that could be be downloaded, at least skimmed through those to get a sense of what was in there and then and I think it was a very useful piece in this there is a version of thee test, a much shorter version that you can take and take on your own and it has the advantage of letting you know right away if you get a wrong answer, A that the answer is wrong and B it helps you figure out a bit of what you got wrong with the answer and then at the end you can see what your score is and how you did on that test as a percentage that’s compared to what you’re going to have to do if you want to pass the overall test, I did well enough on that test that I said you know what, I think I’m just going to schedule a time go in, take the test, see what happens, cross my fingers and hope I don’t have to slink away with my tail between my legs for having failed the thing.

[Maribel] Well that’s good so what advice would you have for someone preparing for the exam right now?

[George] I think its, if you look kind of a sliding scale because my impression at least from going through the material and from taking thee full exam is that it really is intended to have two audiences if you will there are those people who have more of a legal background, they were practicing lawyers, practicing paralegals and alike and then there are those people who have more of a technical background their the people running the tools and they’re going to have different areas of experience and different areas of expertise and then there are some of us who are going to have spent quite a bit of time in both worlds and for more I spent a lot of time in both worlds both sides of that the content was quite familiar to me already if you go though those recordings or go to the live sessions, if you go through that sample test and you understand the content presented there’s nothing new no surprises no areas where you’re going wait a minute I don’t really understand that you go through the sample test you do well, I think you’re ready to take the exam. If however, you go well I get all this about legal and those types of things but now you’re talking about how to do preservation of content out of Microsoft exchange or office 365 or you’re talking about some other technical things that I don’t understand of well that’s a pretty good indication that you need to learn some more about those areas so going through thee prep materials going through the test exam on the one hand can let you know that you’re ready to go ahead and take the overall exam it also can let you know these are areas where you could do something to get yourself more up to speed that’s useful for the exam of course it’s also useful however for your general well-roundness professionally because the better you understand both sides of this equation and the better you understand the different parts on both sides of the equation the more effective you are going to be able to accomplish the work you have no matter where you sit in this process.

[Maribel] I think that kind of leads right into my last question for you is why should those in the e-discovery legal technology field kind of consider going through this CEDS or eDiscovery Executive Training Program so is there anything else you want to add on to that?

[George] No I think there is once again no one answer for everybody, some people, for example are in organizations where obtaining certifications is something that is important, emphasized and valued and if you are in an organization like that well this is one more certification that potentially can help you in your career advancement and your advancement within the organization, helps you toward a bonus or whatever it might be If you’re not in an organization like that and you’re still interested part of the value of going through all of this goes back to what I was just talking about which is it can help you have a more fulsome a more well rounded, a more complete understanding of all of what goes into electronic discovery so that you can be more effective wherever you are and it can help if you decide that what you want to do is push yourself some and live in the areas you are not already experienced with or familiar with it can give you an opportunity to identify for you some challenges to pursue if that how you’re so inclined.

[Maribel] Thank you George, well that’s everything I have thank you so much for taking some time out of your day and spending it with us and sharing a little bit about you and the whole process of getting certified with us, for anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming ACEDS certified you can visit our website at ACEDS.org and George, any last thoughts?

[George] I don’t know just go forth and do good work out there

[Maribel] Thank you so much

[George] Okay, thank you.

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ACEDS Honored as #1 E-Discovery Firm/Association in 2020 JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards; ACEDS Advisory Board Member George Socha Named #1 Author

May 1, 2020EAGAN, Minn. – The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the world’s leading e-discovery training and certification professional association and part of The BARBRI Group, has been recognized as the #1 e-discovery firm or association in the 2020 JD Supra Readers’ Choice Awards.

Additionally, ACEDS Global Advisory Board Member and veteran e-discovery practitioner, George Socha, was named the #1 e-discovery author. Four other ACEDS contributors, representing ACEDS chapters around the country, were included among the Top 10 e-discovery authors:

  • Daniel Gold
  • Helen Geib
  • Sean O’Shea
  • Rob Robinson

Each year JD Supra, one of the country’s leading content distributors, recognizes authors and firms for the visibility and engagement their thought leadership earned among JD Supra readers.  The organizations and authors being recognized were selected from among more than 50,000 who published on the platform in 2019.

“This is an incredible honor for the entire ACEDS community, and particularly the authors receiving this well-deserved recognition, ” said Mike Quartararo, president of ACEDS and professional development. “Every member of our global community understands that collaborating and sharing expertise and best practices are foundational for our success. George, Daniel, Helen, Sean and Rob consistently make valued contributions to our profession and our members and we thank and congratulate them.”

The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), part of leading legal education provider The BARBRI Group, is a global member-based association for professionals who work in e-discovery, information governance, compliance and the broader legal community. ACEDS provides training and certification in e-discovery and related disciplines to corporate legal departments, law firms, the government, service providers and institutions of higher learning. The CEDS certification is recognized around the world and used to verify skills and competence in electronic discovery for organizations and individuals through training, certification and ongoing education. The CEDS credential is held by practitioners at the largest Fortune 500 companies, Am Law 200 firms and government agencies. ACEDS has 23 chapters, with locations in most major U.S. cities, the UK, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and South Africa (with Australia and South America chapters coming soon). Our goal is to help professionals and organizations reduce the costs and risks associated with e-discovery while helping to improve and verify their skills and advance their careers and overall technology competence in e-discovery and related fields. http://www.aceds.org/


Contact: Cindy Parks

ACEDS Advisory Board Graphic

ACEDS Introduces New Global Advisory Board; Members Represent Disciplines Across the Legal and E-Discovery Sector

EAGAN, Minn.Jan. 22, 2020 — The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the world’s leading e-discovery training and certification professional association and part of The BARBRI Group, is pleased to announce members of its new Global Advisory Board.

The Board, comprised of experts in e-discovery, legal technology, software, services, academia and the judiciary, will provide guidance, educational and product input and thought leadership on industry trends, policy and program development to ACEDS. Board members offer unique areas of expertise and perspectives reflecting the dynamic, growing e-discovery community. They will serve as ambassadors of ACEDS as it expands professional development offerings and resources to anticipate and meet the needs of the legal community.

“We are very pleased with the exceptional composition of the new Global Advisory Board,” ACEDS Advisory Board Chair Ari Kaplan, principal of Ari Kaplan Advisors, said. “It is a remarkably talented group of leaders and innovators with whom I am honored to partner as we continue to support this growing and passionate community.”

The ACEDS Global Advisory Board members include:

  • Barbara Bennett, CEDS, Litigation Support, ICT Legal & External Affairs, FCA US LLC
  • James Bickley, CEDS, Managing Director, Ankura Consulting
  • Julie Brown, CEDS, Director of Practice Technology, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
  • Robert Childress, CEO, The Master’s Conference™
  • Scott Cohen, CEDS, Director of E-Discovery Support Services, Winston & Strawn
  • Kenya Parrish-Dixon, CEDS, GC and Director of Information Governance, TechCentrics
  • Maura Grossman, Research Professor and Director of Women in Computer Science, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Ontario
  • David Horrigan, Discovery Counsel and Legal Education Director, Relativity
  • Jeff Jacobson, CEDS, Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Sonya Judkins, Manager, Legal Discovery and Compliance, Sprint
  • Trish LeBel-Lasse, CEDS, Paralegal and Litigation Support, Pullman & Comley, LLC
  • Al Lindsay, CEDS, Partner, Hogan Lovells
  • Rachi Messing, CEDS, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Joy Murao, Founder and CEO, Practice Aligned Resources
  • Dera Nevin, Data Policy and Strategy Officer, Blackstone Group
  • Tom O’Connor, Consultant, Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center
  • David Rueff, Chief Client Solutions Group Officer, Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz
  • George Socha, Managing Director, BDO USA, LLP

“The revitalization of our Global Advisory Board represents a key step as we move the association forward,” said Mike Quartararo, president, ACEDS and professional development. “The diversity and breadth of expertise represented will be invaluable as we expand our professional development offerings, refresh our training and certification resources and recommit to our community.

Professionals attending Legalweek New York 2020 are invited to meet ACEDS board members at the “Meet the Global Advisory Board” 4th Annual Legalweek Community Cocktail Reception, Wednesday, February 5, 20204:30-6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), part of leading legal education provider The BARBRI Group, is a global member-based association for professionals who work in e-discovery, information governance, compliance and the broader legal community. ACEDS provides training and certification in e-discovery and related disciplines to corporate legal departments, law firms, the government, service providers and institutions of higher learning. Our CEDS certification is recognized around the world and used to verify skills and competence in electronic discovery for organizations and individuals through training, certification and ongoing education. The CEDS credential is held by practitioners at the largest Fortune 500 companies, Am Law 200 firms and government agencies. ACEDS has 23 chapters in most major US cities, the UK, IrelandCanadathe Netherlands and South Africa (with Australia and South American chapters coming soon). Our goal is to help professionals and organizations reduce the costs and risks associated with e-discovery while helping to improve and verify their skills, advance careers and their overall technology competence in e-discovery and related fields. http://www.aceds.org/

TAR Talk Podcast

Episode One: Flying with Global Aerospace: An Inside Look at the First TAR Case
Hear how Tom Gricks, the lead attorney on the Global Aerospace case, obtained the first order authorizing the use of technology assisted review (TAR) over the objection of opposing party.

Episode Two: The Birth of TAR 2.0 (and CAL) With Dr. Jeremy Pickens
Learn about the birth of continuous active learning from Dr. Jeremy Pickens, Catalyst’s chief scientist. He details the differences between TAR 1.0 and 2.0 and how different systems work.

Episode Three: Is “Backing up the Trucks” Still a Legitimate Strategy in the TAR Era?
John Tredennick and Tom Gricks review a recent decision In Re Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation, 2018 WL 4441507 (D.D.C. Sept. 13, 2018), a multidistrict class action litigation. Was the plaintiff’s side forced to review non-relevant documents (a document dump) or was it human error?

Episode Four: Can You Do Good TAR with a Bad Algorithm?
Should proportionality arguments allow producing parties to get away with poor productions—simply because they wasted a lot of effort due to an extremely bad algorithm? Dr. Bill Dimm, founder and CEO of Hot Neuron (the maker of Clustify software) joins our hosts to discuss whether one can do “good” TAR with a bad algorithm.

Episode Five: EDRM TAR Guidelines: What’s Good and What’s Not So Good? The TAR Talk Take
After two years of work, Duke Law and EDRM recently published the TAR Guidelines. In this podcast, we give you the TAR Talk take with the good and the not so good. Join us for a fun discussion.

Episode Six: The Latest TAR Poll Results
Rob Robinson of ComplexDiscovery just released the results from the Spring 2019 Predictive Coding Technologies and Protocols Survey. In this episode, we look backwards and forwards and give you the TAR Talk Take.

Episode Seven: TAR Talk featuring Honorable Judge Andrew Peck (ret.)
We talk with Judge Peck, one of the leading judges moving TAR law forward.

Episode Eight: Validation: How Do We Know TAR Worked?
Tom and John take a shot at this tricky topic.

Episode Nine: Fear of Missing Out?
Herb Roitblat recently released a paper called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which provided a mathematical analysis of relevance recall for TAR projects. The EDRM claimed that the “analysis has the potential to be a game changer” for legal search and review. Is it? Tune in for the TAR Talk take on Herb’s paper and his analysis. Information Scientist Bill Dimm will be joining us to talk about the math.

Episode Ten: The Battle Between TAR 1.0 and TAR 2.0
The battle between TAR 1.0 and TAR 2.0 rears its ugly head. When is TAR 1.0 the best approach and when is TAR 2.0 better? You may be surprised at our views on this. Tune in for the TAR Talk Take with Tom and John.

Episode Eleven: The Open Source Revolution
The Open Source Revolution: Could it lead to a standard product for TAR engines available to anyone for free?  Join Tom and John for a TAR Talk look at how the open source revolution is now reaching the legal profession.

Visit the TAR Talk homepage here: TARTalk.org

Letter from Mary Mack to the ACEDS Community

To our ACEDS Community:

I have some bittersweet news. You may have seen a note from Steve Fredette, CEO of BARBRI, ACEDS’ parent company. After four years of working with you as Executive Director of ACEDS, I have made the difficult decision to step down from this role, effective October 31st, 2019.

After much deliberation, I feel it’s time. I’m so very proud of the position our ACEDS community holds in the legal technology world and the fact that our community remains a story of global growth and career success. I’m confident our positive trend will only continue.

Your support and partnership have meant everything to Kaylee and me during our ACEDS tenure. We’ve exchanged ideas and forged new paths and together we’ve created a global community that honors accomplishment and welcomes newcomers into the electronic discovery industry. I’m especially proud of the strides we at HQ in collaboration with our chapter leaders, faculty, advisors and affiliates have made in providing career-building education and resources, and the credibility and expertise our designation exemplifies around the world.

The success ACEDS enjoys today is due to professionals and leaders like you. For all of that, and for your many kindnesses you have shown me, Kaylee, the ACEDS team and our ACEDS community, we thank you.

Moving forward, Kaylee and I will work in close collaboration with Steve, the ACEDS team and community in the search for new leadership to build upon our strong position and make new strides in the eDiscovery world.

The search for my successor will begin immediately and we will make an announcement once that person is selected. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me, Kaylee or anyone else on the team.

I am not viewing this as goodbye as we all appreciate what a tight community we are. I’ve always considered our community a giant living room where at one time or another, we all change chairs. It has been the honor of my career to serve you.

Kaylee and I look forward to thanking each and every one of our #eDiscoveryRockstars at Lit Support Day at ILTA, our 4th Annual ACEDS Detroit Symposium / Midwest eDiscovery Conference – “To eDiscovery and Beyond” and RelativityFest.

Looking forward to co-creating as our next adventure beckons.

Warmest regards,


Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad

ACEDS Organizational Announcement from Steve Fredette, BARBRI Group CEO

Dear ACEDS Partner,

I am reaching out to you today regarding some upcoming organizational changes at ACEDS. If we’ve not met, I’m Steve Fredette, CEO of the BARBRI Group, the ACEDS parent organization.

I wanted to write you personally and let you know that our exemplary Executive Director, Mary Mack, has decided to step down from her position as of October 31, 2019. In addition, Kaylee Walstad, Vice President of Client Engagement, who has been a valuable contributor and client relationship builder, not to mention a great partner for Mary, will also be departing at the same time.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mary for several years now and have been continually impressed with her leadership and advocacy in the legal technology field. As you know, she is an eDiscovery pioneer who has worked tirelessly to transform ACEDS into the global community of committed, like-minded eDiscovery professionals it is today. Thanks to Mary’s efforts, you, as practitioners, have an international community where the exchange of best practices, training, professional development and networking thrives. ACEDS is an established resource for connecting people, fostering community and enhancing careers. I appreciate and thank Mary for her stellar efforts and the success we collectively enjoy today.

As we move forward, I want to reiterate our commitment to serving your eDiscovery community and fostering its growth. I am pleased that we have time to put in place new leadership and manage a proper transition, all while the entire ACEDS team will continue its work and move forward in building upon Mary’s good work.

We will be conducting our search immediately and will make an announcement once new leadership comes on board. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Thank you for your support of ACEDS and I know you’ll join me in thanking Mary and Kaylee for their dedication and service and wishing them the very best as they move on to a new chapter.



Stephen J. Fredette