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Allysia Edwards

BlueStar Accelerates Modern eDiscovery with ESI Analyst – CloudNine Podcasts

It’s a challenge to produce relevant evidence for large cases, especially when they feature non-traditional data types. JSON and PST formats simply don’t do modern data justice. The unwieldy files don’t possess threading or deduplication options. Instead, large amounts of irrelevant data are stretched across a multitude of pages and folders. Finding a team to manually review that data slows production speeds and raises discovery costs. It’s time to stop forcing a square peg into a round hole.

As the CTO and Managing Partner at BlueStar, Jeremy Schaper has seen an uptick of non-traditional data in the last five years. He and his team found CloudNine’s ESI Analyst while searching for an eDiscovery solution to process both traditional and modern data types. Jeremy joined Rick Clark for our CloudNine 360 Innovate Podcast to discuss how BlueStar leveraged ESI Analyst in large cases involving SMS, Slack, and Microsoft Teams data.
Click here to listen to the podcast and learn more.

The Challenges of Modern Discovery – CloudNine Webinar

In the past, attorneys relied on printed pages and forensic imaging to produce and review traditional documents. Neither method is capable of telling the whole story. By treating data as documents, legal teams are unable to draw context from metadata, families, and threads. Static documents also don’t permit the deduplication or isolation of messages at the individual level. These shortcomings lead to slowed review speeds, excessive redactions, and the loss of relevant information.

Since then, the eDiscovery landscape has broadened to encompass modern data types such as text, geolocation, and social media data. When exported by other eDiscovery providers, the data is displayed in unwieldy spreadsheets and JSON files. Lawyers who opt to export modern data face many of the same challenges as they would with traditional discovery measures. As an alternative, a lawyer may try to produce modern ESI in the form of screenshots. Screenshots are mistakenly viewed as an easier production form because they offer clear images of conversations and provide details such as contact names and messaging times. However, several judges have rejected their admission in court due to authenticity concerns. Nowadays, it’s very easy to fabricate text conversations.

As the amount of modern ESI grows, developing an efficient and defensible discovery process becomes paramount. Rob Lekowski and Rick Clark from the CloudNine team joined Kevin Thompson from the Chicago Bar Association to discuss how CloudNine ESI Analyst uniquely tackles the pitfalls of modern discovery. Rob and Rick also provided insight into common questions such as:

  • How should legal teams deal with deleted documents?
  • What are the estimated costs and duration times for small, medium, and big cases?
  • Can you still collect evidence with CloudNine ESI Analyst if you don’t have access to the physical device?
  • How should an attorney negotiate keyword searches with opposing counsel?

To learn how to process and review modern data types in a single platform, watch the webinar here.

CloudNine’s LegalWeek 2022 Recap

Last week, the CloudNine team visited New York City to provide virtual and in-person demos during LegalWeek 2022. Rick Clark, Robert Lekowski, Clint Lehew, and Jess Moore were able to share the capabilities of CloudNine ESI Analyst with over 50 attendees.

As the industry’s only near-native investigative platform, CloudNine ESI Analyst simplifies the discovery of mobile, chat, social, and geolocation data from collection to production. Through our platform, users can filter, search, and tag items at the individual level. Messages can also be viewed through our 24-hour thread feature which increases review speeds by permitting the numbering, tagging, and production of individual messages while displaying the full context of a conversation. The key difference between ESI Analyst and traditional review is our way of processing modern data. Traditional review turns all data into documents without providing sufficient means for filtering and searching conversations. Each message or thread must be reviewed page by page. By rendering messages and media inline, ESI Analyst allows legal teams to piece evidence together at a faster rate.

During LegalWeek, the CloudNine team was able to speak to our clients directly and learn how our platform changed their tactics on approaching data and case strategies. Clients like Phil Hodgkins raved about the user-based pricing and clarity that ESI Analyst offers in telling the whole story. While conducting an internal investigation, Phil’s team found that ESI Analyst saved time and yielded better insights than two traditional review platforms. Since then, Phil has encouraged lawyers to stop cramming mobile data into document-based spaces.

“If [our clients] start talking about mobile data [and getting] into the nuts and bolts of a laptop or any device, we immediately start talking about your tool. It allows you to gain insights much more quickly than putting the data into a typical review space” – Phil Hodgkins, Director of Data Insights and Forensics at Kroll. To learn more about Phil’s experiences with ESI Analyst, click here.

Missed out on CloudNine’s LegalWeek demos? Book a demo today to learn how our software simplifies and accelerates modern data discovery.

Inaugural Symposium on eCrime – Dealing with Multiple Data Sources

Studies show that the average person generates about 100 megabytes of data per minute. While most people leverage technology for work and personal activities, it can also be a tool for criminal offenses. On February 28, 2022, the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science held a virtual symposium on e-crime. The symposium covered topics such as cell phone forensics, email investigations, and deep fakes. CloudNine Senior Director Rick Clark was featured on a panel alongside Amber Schroader, CEO of Paraben Software, and Christa Miller, managing editor at Forensic Focus. The panel addressed how data from multiple sources can aid an investigation or discovery workflow.

Panel Discussion Points:

  • Concerns from stakeholder perspectives (particular focus on HR, legal, and IT teams)
  • Case studies involving modern data in criminal cases
  • Data privacy and ownership
  • The “human” element of the generation and interpretation of data

Managing multiple data sources doesn’t have to be stressful. To address your concerns in anticipation of your next investigation, click here.

Discover the Power of ESI Analyst During LegalWeek 2022

The past two days have been a blast for the CloudNine team. From now until Friday, March 11, CloudNine is offering in-person and virtual demos while we visit New York during LegalWeek 2022. We would love to see you there as we reconnect with long-time clients and welcome new faces. The CloudNine team is also eager for the opportunity to showcase our latest eDiscovery innovation, ESI Analyst.

Modern discovery is more than documents, it’s about telling the story. Nowadays, emails and Microsoft Office files aren’t enough to piece a narrative together. Large amounts of information can be obtained from financial transactions, geolocation data, social media activity, text messaging, and more. Through customer feedback and client experiences, we recognized how taxing modern data types could be without the right tools. As an emerging solution for modern investigations, ESI Analyst uniquely offers users the ability to ingest and investigate multiple data sources within a single platform. CloudNine’s recent acquisition of ESI Analyst allows us to provide our customers with an in-depth solution for collecting, processing, and reviewing modern data.

Ready to learn more about our latest updates and solutions? There’s still time to schedule a demo. Virtually or in-person, our team is excited to provide demonstrations on the latest integration between CloudNine Review and ESI Analyst. Meetings will also feature updates on CloudNine Review’s other integrations with LAW, Concordance, and Explore via CloudNine’s Discovery Portal. Click here to book a demo before the end of LegalWeek. Or click on the banner below to request a virtual demo later this month.

Perin Discovery Streamlines Workflow Through ESI Analyst: CloudNine Podcasts

For legal teams, the race to production may seem never-ending. The journey begins with some data mapping to discern who owns the data and where it is located. Once the identification process is successful, legal teams are often stopped by the first roadblock. They need to find a vendor that can collect modern data types such as text messages, tweets, and videos. After the data is collected, another roadblock stands in the way. A second vendor is needed to carry out review and production. Stopping and restarting between each step is frustrating and time-consuming, yet few LSPs offer means for a continuous workflow.

Recognizing this issue, Peter Smith and Erin Perczak launched Perin Discovery to provide a one-stop shop for both digital forensics and eDiscovery. The co-founders joined Rick Clark for our 360 Innovate Podcast to explain how they leverage ESI Analyst to engage their clients in a smooth workflow. To learn how our platform has improved their data and case strategies, visit this link:

Kroll Leverages ESI Analyst for Case Insights: CloudNine Podcasts

Without the right tools, sorting through a large dataset is akin to stumbling in the dark. Before deep-diving into voluminous data, legal teams need to know what to look for. The sooner those insights are found, the better. For years, attorneys uploaded data to traditional review platforms to win their clients and firm a head start. Since the platforms offered minimal searching tools, attorneys meticulously combed through mobile device data text by text. This process is not only time-consuming but also inefficient. Valuable case insights are easy to miss when hidden amongst other information.

CloudNine Senior Director, Rick Clark, kicks off the new 360 Innovate Podcast through an interview with Phil Hodgkins, Director of Data Insights and Forensics at Kroll. As a growing global practice, Kroll is well-versed in managing data-heavy projects involving compliance, investigations, and litigations. While conducting an internal investigation, Kroll learned how ESI Analyst’s capabilities surpassed those of two traditional review platforms. Through its various identification and visualization features, ESI Analyst yielded larger insights at a much faster rate. To learn how the Kroll team utilized ESI Analyst to strategically navigate through a broad dataset, visit this link:

Four Times Self-Collection Went Wrong

Per FRCP Rule 26(g), attorneys must sign discovery requests, responses, and objections. To the best of the attorney’s knowledge, the signature certifies three factors: 1) the document is compliant with existing rules and regulations; 2) it has no improper purpose such as slowing litigation; 3) it is not unreasonably burdensome to the producing party. This may become an issue if your client opts for self-collection. If counsel does not oversee or supervise the collection process, they have violated the rule and will be sanctioned accordingly. [1] During self-collection, custodians are responsible for identifying and gathering potentially relevant ESI on their own. When conducted carefully, self-collection may be adequate and cost-effective for small cases. However, there are several risks involved. The client may lose valuable metadata if their collection is done incorrectly. Additionally, they may purposely or accidentally omit incriminating evidence. Overall, if the self-collection process is not defensible and well-documented, the evidence will be rejected, and sanctions will follow. [2]

Self-Collection Cases and Sanctions

  • EEOC v. M1 1500 Group is a well-known age discrimination case in which two of the defendant’s employees collected ESI without any counsel supervision. Counsel signed the discovery response despite their hands-off approach. The plaintiffs moved to compel after counsel admitted to their negligence and the defendants produced less evidence than expected. Judge Matthewman granted the defendants a second chance but required both parties to collaborate in a robust meet and confer. The court also issued sanctions and advised counsel to seek the assistance of an ESI vendor. [3]
  • Over a year after the case ended, Green v. Blitz reopened once the court discovered that the defendant destroyed and omitted relevant email evidence. Only one employee oversaw the collection process, and he described himself in court as “computer illiterate.” After confirming the relevance of the missing emails, the court imposed civil contempt sanctions worth $250,000. The defendants also faced a $500,00 purging sanction unless they provided a copy of the order to all litigants who filed against them within the past two years. As the final sanction, Blitz USA was ordered to file a copy of the order when filing any lawsuit within the next five years. [4]
  • Nat’l Day Laborer Org. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency involved various government agencies who lacked a uniform collection plan. The agencies also failed to properly document their differing collection processes. Consequently, the agencies were sanctioned for relying too heavily on self-collection. They were also reprimanded for their undocumented and uncoordinated efforts.
  • In Suntrust Mortgage Inc. v. AIG United Guaranty Corp., the defendant chose not to seek the help of any forensic experts or ESI vendors. One employee was in charge of the identification and collection process. By copying and pasting different emails together, the employee tampered with the evidence before production. The fabrication resulted in court issued financial sanctions. [2]

Avoid self-collection pitfalls by utilizing CloudNine’s Collection Manager, a breakthrough extraction solution for Office 365 emails and OneDrive files. To learn more information or request a demo, visit:


[1] Gretchen E. Moore, “The Perils of Self-Collection of Electronically Stored Information,” The National Law Review, April 28, 2021.

[2] FindLaw Attorney Writers, “Self-Collection: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” FindLaw, June 20, 2016.

[3] Kelly Twigger, “Beware of the Perils of Allowing Self-Collection,” eDiscovery Assistant, July 9, 2020.

[4] Peter Vogel, “Another Trap is Sprung: The Danger of Self-Collection,” Foley & Lardner LLP, June 20, 2011.

Inaugural Symposium on E-Crime: Cutting Edge Topics in Digital Forensics

Financial scams, identity theft, and ransomware attacks are just few ways in which criminals leverage technology for e-crimes. Through their criminal activity, offenders unwittingly create digital trails that are discoverable by forensic experts. On February 28, 2022 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST, the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science will host a Zoom webinar to delve deeper into the complexities of e-crime and criminal investigations. The symposium will feature Rick Clark, Senior Director of CloudNine, as one of its keynote speakers. Rick Clark will be speaking on a panel with the CEO of Paraben Software, Amber Schroader, and journalist, Christa Miller, about overlooked forms of digital evidence. The panel will discuss how data from varying sources can be used in an investigation or discovery workflow.

Register for the symposium here and enter promo code:  “HCLIPROFF” for 60% discount.

Discussion Points

  • Cell phone forensics
  • Email investigations
  • Multiple data sources
  • Deep fake investigations

Keynote Speakers

Rick Clark – Senior Director of CloudNine

Dr. Henry C. Lee – Founder/Director of Henry C. Lee Institute

Robert Fried, MS – VP/Head of Forensics at Sandline Discovery

Christa Miller – Managing Editor at

Shahaf Rozanski – Vice President of Cellebrite

Dr. Matt Turek – Program Manager at DARPA

Arman Gungor – CEO of Metaspike

Amber Schroader – CEO of Paraben Corporation

How to Redact Without Regrets

Safeguarding a client’s personal information is an important responsibility. Redactions protect client privacy by obscuring confidential, privileged, non-responsive, and personally identifiable information from relevant documents. [1] Though important, redactions are a time-consuming part of the review process, especially when done manually. To save time, legal teams should conduct an initial assessment of what, when, and where redactions should be placed. As a first step, examine the nature of the case and discovery. In other words, identify the tools and file types that will be included in the review process. When considering which redaction tool to use, refer back to the guidelines set by the ESI protocol and protective order. The sophistication of both parties can also impact the accessibility of digital redaction technology. [2] Overall, redactions should not be taken lightly. Mistakes often embarrass or endanger the client’s safety. Other ramifications may include waived attorney-client privilege, malpractice lawsuits, suspension, and even disbarment.

Redaction Failures

  • In January 2019, Paul Manafort’s pleadings were filed as PDF documents containing portions of blacked-out text. By copying and pasting the PDF into a different text document, people were able to see the improperly hidden text. Consequently, the court learned of Manafort’s exchanges with Konstantin Kilimnik, an alleged Russian intelligence agent.
  • In a 2018 legal battle with an app called Six4Three, Facebook’s lawyers failed to obscure sensitive information from a PDF file. The mistake revealed that Facebook considered giving user data to Six4Three in exchange for financial compensation.
  • In August 2018, the United States Postal Service was tasked with producing a civilian personnel file of Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. In compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, USPS successfully produced the file but failed to redact any of her personal information. Information disclosed in the file included Spanberger’s SF-86 security clearance application, social security number, and responses to personal background questions. [3]

Redaction Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don’t simply change the font to white. Though the words look like they have disappeared, they can be seen when highlighted.
  • Don’t hide black text with black highlights. Similar to the white font problem, black highlight looks like it hides black text. However, the information will show when a mouse is clicked and dragged over it.
  • Don’t forget about the metadata! Metadata from word-processing programs contains information about text changes and deletions. Unless purged from the document, this information can be found even after the file is re-saved or converted to a PDF.
  • Don’t rely on Adobe Acrobat edits to black-out or remove text. These edits can be removed if the information is copied and pasted into a different document. [4]


[1] Rachel Teisch, “Death, Taxes, and Redaction Blunders,” EDRM, February 4, 2022.

[2] Clara Skorstad, “Right on Redactions,” JD Supra, November 4, 2020.

[3] “Getting Redactions Right Matters Now More Than Ever,” Warner Norcross + Judd, November 12, 2019.

[4] “Best Practices: Redaction of Information,” United States District Court, Southern District of Alabama.