Turning CLOC 2023 Learnings into Action

Last month’s Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) Global Institute was an educational and networking event powerhouse, offering over 75 educational sessions and multiple opportunities for networking for those interested in the latest ways to transform legal and get more work done well, and efficiently.

If you have read some of the excellent recaps already published, you will know that the topics dominating the agenda included generative AI, creating a world class legal function, and improving operations in the CLOC Core 12 legal operations work areas, including contract lifecycle management, case management and eDiscovery.

In her talk “The Next Frontier of Legal Work: Generative AI,” Mary O’Carroll, chief community officer, Ironclad, and co-founder of CLOC, described generative AI as a front burner topic “that has the potential to change everything” when it comes to legal work. She suggested to 1) learn from other industries and to see how they are using it, 2) have clear processes and data governance in place to get the most out of it, and 3) be committed to it as it’s a fast-changing conversation and its capability to evolve legal work, i.e., redlining a contract based on your playbook, changes often.

Many other insights were shared. Key takeaways include advice shared in a panel on building a world class legal function by Megan Niedermeyer, chief legal officer at Apollo.io and Akshay Verma, head of legal operations at Coinbase, on how to implement changes to a risk adverse group: lawyers. Megan explained that the legal department is “the last business to be SaaS-fied.” Today more legal department leaders are open to turning to cloud-based technology to streamline work and improve outcomes. She advised that putting new technology in place successfully requires having a clear vision for your department. She also suggested that a technologist and a project manager are two key hires that will help with implementation. Verma shared that it’s important to remember that people are self-interest based. In rolling out a new way of working, you need to center communications on a common pain point. He pointed out that “…part of the legal ops role is playing psychologist and understanding what drives people.”

Now that the conference has ended, what do you do with this information? How do you make it actionable? Where do you get started?

It’s all about prioritizing effort. As CLOC board member, legal operations leader at Netflix and community rockstar Jenn McCarron said in the opening keynote, one of the biggest myths about change is that transformation means doing a lot. This is a fallacy. Burn out is high when there are 20+ initiatives to direct. “…acts of success are often come about often, as a result of what you don’t do,” she advised.

Couple this sage advice with the practical framework offered by the session “What’s the Plan? Actionable Steps to Create Your 30/60/90 Day Plan and Beyond” and you have solid footing at the starting gate of change. Stacy Lettie, Chief of Staff to the General Counsel of Organon and, and Bob Mignanelli, VP and COO at Haleon, provided a framework for managing the first 90 days of being in a legal operations leadership role.

Example steps shared on getting on the right path to be an effective, transformative legal operations leader are as follows:

First 30 days:

  • Understand goals of the legal department overall
  • Define the department’s focus: vision, mission, and key objectives
  • Determine team structure, reporting line
  • Meet with each practice area to learn about the services, pain points, what’s working/not working, identify expectations
  • Meet with everyone on your team 1:1, listen to understand what drives them, what frustrates them
  • Assess existing processes for matter management, onboarding vendor process, etc.
  • Understand tech/services landscape, and what contracts are coming up for renewal
  • Identify gaps in process and tech

By the 60-day mark:

  • Conduct spend analysis and identify where there may be overlap, where are you paying for items you shouldn’t be paying for, etc.
  • Pinpoint and execute “quick wins,” e.g., creating outside counsel guidelines
  • Update and document most utilized processes
  • Understand current data sources
  • Create and begin reporting on metrics

By the 90-day mark:

  • Devise your strategic plan, to include:
  • Corporate/legal department strategy
  • Mission, vision, objectives
  • Current state analysis
  • Gap analysis-current state versus future state
  • Resource requirements
  • Success/risk factors and timelines
  • Ensure implementation goes well
  • Gain executive support
  • Put strong project management and change management in place
  • Build communication plan, to include celebrating success
  • Prioritize: Determine the three to four things that will drive the strategy
  • Areas may include tackling outside counsel spend, contract lifecycle management, and/or creating an IP system to drive revenue. (At CloudNine, we believe there is also tremendous opportunity in looking at ways to reduce the biggest cost of litigation, eDiscovery.)

And there you have thoughts on ways to put all you learned into action post CLOC and set yourself up for planning for 2024, which will be here before we know it. Ask for a complimentary consultation with us if you want to learn more about how CloudNine can make it easy for you to take control of your eDiscovery costs and develop smart workflows for managing modern data (i.e., Slack/Teams chat data, texts, etc.) in eDiscovery with our SaaS-based solutions and services here.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.

Did You Know? CloudNine Sheds Light on Early Case Assessment

By Jacob Hesse

Internal investigations and data analysis before litigation even begins can help companies and their legal teams reduce data collection and custodian interview costs, data storage costs, and help refine strategies if litigation does happen.

CloudNine helps clients leverage early case assessment approaches during internal investigations to assist with this process.  Reporting, such as an understanding of existing data types, who is speaking to whom over email, texts, and chats, and testing of potentially relevant terms and phrases can help teams understand the content of their data and formulate a strategy that saves time and money in terms of what must be hosted and reviewed later.

Data Inventory

Our clients often start by identifying the potentially important custodians, actors, and data sources under their control.  Who are the key decision makers?  Who is interfacing most with partners or clients?  Who should be interviewed to discover more?  CloudNine project managers can help clients plan and execute this process, including creating an inventory of what data each custodian has, where it is, and determining what will be needed to preserve, collect, and potentially review it.

Sampling, Searching, Categorizing

As data is identified, CloudNine clients can test key words and phrases against it to find potentially relevant content.  This is helpful when litigation has not yet started, and no search terms have been agreed upon.  The client can find information about the nature of a possible case early, allowing additional time to formulate a strategy.  During this time of investigation, data can be sampled as well, giving a peek into the nature and content of the data without needing a full and expensive document review.  Data can be categorized by period, by source, and by potential relevance.  This categorization can help streamline review later by organizing the data so that most likely relevant portions are handled first.

Reducing Cost

One of the major advantages of Early Case Assessment (ECA) is reducing costs during litigation, especially in data hosting and document review.  By understanding the data early, clients can be more intentional about what gets processed for hosting, review, and production.  Rather than throw all data into a hosted platform and reviewing most or all of it, a much smaller subset of data can result from the ECA process:  “noise” in the form of duplicative, not-relevant, and other out-of-scope data can be eliminated.

CloudNine ECA is built into CloudNine Review.  Data is identified and triaged in a secure, web-accessible platform where clients and specialists at CloudNine can examine it and make decisions about what to advance for full review.  CloudNine’s ECA technology is evolved from LAW and Explore, industry-defining processing applications. Head to our Contact Us page if you are interested in learning more.

Jacob Hesse is VP, Professional Services and Support, and has 20+ years of technology and management experience in eDiscovery, in both law firm and service provider environments.

The Latest Learnings on eDiscovery from the Chicago Master’s Conference

By Catherine Ostheimer

In a packed room at Seyfarth Shaw’s offices in Chicago, eDiscovery, information governance and privacy experts exchanged points of view and insights at The Master’s Conference last Tuesday.

New ways of thinking about and managing short message/modern data, investigations, and data privacy were raised in a series of panel discussions. Some of the main takeaways from this industry community in the third largest legal market in the U.S. are provided below.

Getting Short Message Review Right

A panel titled “On the cutting edge of short message review” kicked off with a discussion on starting with figuring out what you have in the world of Slack, Teams, text, etc. data. Daniel Kelly of Sidley Austin shared that employees often say that they do not communicate via text for business conversations, but many do. He also shared that it’s important to view messages in a holistic way in the order that each message was delivered, across communications channels, to understand the chain of events and to stay ahead of the narrative related to a case.

Also, in regard to short message review for the financial industry, another speaker mentioned that there are new SEC data delivery standards issued in Jan 2023 that require that If your production will be de-duplicated, you must preserve any unique metadata associated with the duplicate files, make that unique metadata part of your production.

Dealing with eDiscovery Complexity in Investigations 

One discussion with a blend of consultants, law firms and corporate speakers identified ways to best manage investigations at a time that they are becoming more and more complex and expensive. Sunil Shenoi of Kirkland Ellis raised that investigation complexity has arisen due to three main factors: 1) investigations going global, requiring the need for experts everywhere, 2) data amount and types exploding in size, and 3) everchanging laws and regulations. To further expand on having to grapple with new data concerns, he remarked that 15 years ago, a team was required to only pull email for an investigation. Now, it’s not so simple. Others on the panel raised the rising tension being felt between maintaining individual’s data privacy rights, while also supporting a company’s right to review evidence related to an investigation.

Michelle Six, Kirkland & Ellis, offered up two tips when it comes to investigation and data. First, to reduce data complexity, lean in on defensible deletion policies. If you don’t need to keep data per a legal hold, retention policy, or regulatory obligation, get rid of it. Also, rely on technology to make the job easier. She believes that lawyers have an ethical obligation to know what technology can help to handle data more efficiently and to put it in place.

Whitney Becker, CBRE Inc., says you should first approach an investigation and determine at the outset whether there is a likelihood it will lead to litigation. In those circumstances, litigation counsel should be pulled in from the start, to offer benefits like only having to cull data once at the review stage.

Leveraging All Data to Tell the Story in eDiscovery

Taking on a common topic that surfaced throughout the day, the topic of an afternoon panel led by Rick Clark of CloudNine was focused on how to manage modern data effectively and efficiently in eDiscovery.

Paul Noonan, United Airlines remarked on the need to have your eDiscovery and data governance strategy linked and commented that there will be both risk and cost ramifications if you do not tie the two efforts together. Jay Carle of Seyfarth Shaw tied this point to how a company handles data coming from employee phones. He said that he sees prosecutors today being encouraged to see how much a company understands the governance of the use of mobile phones, and how Team/Slack chats, texts, etc. are used in business communications. He shared that it’s important to have and enforce policies on use of alternative forms of communication and have this part of a compliance audit schedule.

Jay also commented that it’s important to preserve linked attachments in modern short format communications, as such platforms are now frequently used to transmit and share documents. Ryan Tilot of Gunster shared that with so many ways available to communicate, he finds that custodial interviews are helpful to identifying all communication platforms being used related to a matter. About data authentication, Rick Clark cautioned that screen shots need to be reviewed carefully, as it’s becoming increasingly easy to fake text conversations.

Rick Clark also raised that it’s important to think about short message communications in the review stage as data, not documents, and that it’s easier and less expensive than you think to render this data in near native format to bring the data to life visually to tell the whole story when prepping for an investigation or potential case.

These were only a few summary points from an information-laden day. If you’d like to attend a future Master’s Conference, check out upcoming 2023 dates and locations. Also, if you’re interested in seeing the only solution available currently that can display a holistic view of all communications data in a near native review, contact CloudNine today.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.

Thoughts on the Legal Technology Implications of Dynamic Communication Practices

By Kenneth Jones, Tanenbaum Keale LLP 

This article was originally published in LegalTech News on March 10, 2023.

E-discovery is a prime example of an area where legal technology/operations is seeing the challenges presented by legal professionals’ level of familiarity with computing options, particularly those technologies that form the dynamic changes in how professionals communicate.

A significant challenge in legal technology/operations is the level of familiarity with computing options—both established and forward-thinking applications and tools—especially those relating to the dynamic changes in how professionals communicate using the vast array of technologies present in our lives.

E-discovery is one example of this. As many try to wrap their arms around emerging technology areas which are all the rage (Chap GPT, artificial intelligence, etc.), it tends to mask similar long-standing challenges, such as the adoption of predictive coding or records management programs, which reduce overall eDiscovery cost and risk.

But historical problems do not prevent time from inexorably marching on as it relates to human communication. The Pony Express, telegraph machines, telephones, U.S. Mail and countless other mechanisms Exit Stage Left as technology drives change.

Specifically, a wide collection of various “new” forms of communications (Slack, Teams Chat, SMS, Whatsapp, other instant messaging, video content like Zoom/Teams calls, content stored in workflow/task management platforms applications like Github, ServiceNow, Salesforce and others) are increasing leading players in the business connectivity ecosystem.

Rick Clark, Sr. Director of Sales Enablement and Strategy for CloudNine and Co-Founder of the Masters Conference, notes the increased complexity of legal communication processes: “I remember when email created a major shift in business communications and necessitated a new process in legal discovery. Now, I see custodians starting conversations in email, switching to Microsoft Teams, then to WhatsApp and ending in a phone call. Tracking that conversation as evidence demands approaches designed with multi-platform interoperability in mind.”

But what certainly is new are the myriad issues facing law firms and legal on how to deal with “new communications,”  These considerations can perhaps be grouped in three buckets:

  • Essential Services Elements
  • Policy Ramifications/Opportunities
  • Legal Service Opportunities

Essential Services Elements—Basic E-Discovery Considerations

The dynamic nature of legal work processes, and the communications mechanisms driven by this, create unique litigation hold and e-discovery challenges. For example, are mechanisms in place to preserve Slack or Microsoft Teams chat threads?  Are text messages sent by employees cataloged? Are threads in client portals or workspaces retained in a retrievable manner?

Issues here, in many ways, are fundamentally different from those in more established communications methods. One example is data categorization, also known as the metadata describing an element of data. In email (hopefully), users are filing emails into folders. In document management systems, it’s generally required that documents are placed into workspaces relating to clients or matters.

Classification is not limited to email and documents, of course. “New communications” often feature different types of taxonomies. Issue tagging is one. As is the actual type of metadata (application, embedded, file system, user added, etc.) which are identifiable characteristics of communications.

Clark also notes “Personal and work related communications often tend to meld together on an employee’s device. Significantly, many seemingly non-business-related applications are increasingly in play. These include Facebook Accounts, Instagram, YouTube Channel, TikTok and, importantly, Geolocation data.”

It is generally understood that the legal profession has developed generally accepted procedures driven by litigation hold and other regulatory requirements for document and email data/metadata. But it is not surprising that emerging communications tech is still reacting to respond. This is of course common to almost all areas of emerging tech (e.g. ethical issues in the use of Artificial Intelligence, lack of governance in cryptocurrency, etc. being other strong  examples).

So, what law firms need to do within the e-discovery space to develop capabilities to service their clients in the traditional areas (identification, preservation, collection, processing, review and production) within these new communications areas. Here are some pointers.

Utilize a single or fewer platforms which can ingest the various modern data sources, reducing issues relating with accessing data in silos.

  • Strive for simplicity and speed. The easier it is to process and work with these new data types, the more likely this data will be intelligently and appropriately processed.
  • Be very mindful of security. Walls and controls which exist in core applications (restricted access by practice groups or clients within a DMS for example) should be honored when working with and processing data sources like SMS, Slack, IM, etc. also.

Policy Ramifications/Opportunities—Legal Operations

Not surprisingly, law firms and corporate legal departments are now driven to develop guidelines on what type of communication should and should not be permitted (and supported). Why?

One reason is that, unfortunately, despite employee education programs and the constant stream of information in the public domain about security, a small number of maverick employees or business partners still will prioritize completing a task over reputational welfare or risk.

But that’s not the only consideration—other rationale for protective tools to be leveraged is present. For example, there are often legitimate needs to deploy tools enabling extra-sensitive information—think M&A, medical reports, financial/banking data—to flow in a more secure manner. Data flows via these channels also must be accounted for and included in collections/analysis, despite the capability for example of employees to “burn” messages sent via these ultra-secure platforms.

But technology-based communications mechanisms and feature sets are not the only elements the legal profession should consider with respect to modern communication. Applying legally accepted principles relating to the retention of information, supporting the ability to retain subsets of data as required by litigation holds, and executing this required governance against  apps and data outside the purview of a law firm’s managed application portfolio is a significant challenge.

So how does one tackle this?  Clark notes, “Ensuring procedures to properly retain ‘approved communications’ from within messaging apps/tools—and attempting to prohibit unauthorized employee deletion of the same—is crucial. As is the capability to efficiently ingest and analyze this data when needed.”

Legal Service Opportunities—Business Development

Once procedural elements of coping with modern communications within the e-discovery realm are in place, one can consider applying these capabilities to drive revenue growth.

Opportunities are present for law firms to apply this expertise to their service model.  For example, many clients may reasonably benefit from repurposing of this work—e.g., legal counsel to develop internal guidelines governing areas like litigation holds, technology use guidelines, retention policies, etc. for modern communications.

To cite one element of this challenge, today, many organizations block email applications like Gmail or Hotmail from their browser and via written policy. Arguably, the same approach might be applied to tools like Whatapp, TikTok, or Instagram which seem fairly unrelated to work. And, even for “approved” chat mechanisms (like Teams, Git, Slack, ServiceNow, Salesforce and others), retention periods, the execution of litigation holds and development of an efficient ingestion “on ramp” into common e-discovery platforms is necessary.


Dealing with all these new data types and issues is not easy. But don’t sweep it under the rug. Without a doubt, modern communications will become increasingly more important within the e-discovery discipline—if not the dominant consideration—in the not-too-distant future.

Kenneth Jones serves as Chief Operating Officer of Xerdict Group LLC, a wholly owned technology subsidiary of Tanenbaum Keale LLP, which provides sophisticated, SaaS-based legal matter management systems and other use cases applied to automate common legal workflows.

Observations from Legalweek 2023: The Latest on AI, Dealing with Modern Data and Leading Change

By Catherine Ostheimer

Conversations on and off the session stage at Legalweek 2023 signaled that industry innovation is now on a fast track. Whether it’s due to the advent of new tech permeating our daily lives (OpenAI launched plugins for ChatGPT for commonly used apps like Slack, Open Table, Expedia on March 23), the influx of a new generation of tech-savvy lawyers, or the COVID-created hybrid work life that isn’t going anywhere, real change is happening in legal and evidence of an evolution taking place was in full force at the Hilton Midtown in NYC last week.

Here are our observations on legal innovation from Legalweek 2023.

Change is no longer a choice

In their recap of the state of the industry, ALM’s Heather Nevitt and Patrick Fuller indicated that digital transformation is no longer a choice for law firms and legal teams. Business and outside pressures are demanding better, more predicable outcomes and law firm revenue models that move away from the billable hour, which point to new ways of getting work done.

Zach Warren of Thomson Reuters in a talk on legal technology being a firm’s superpower, indicated that tech use is not just a cost play, but can provide a much-needed way to differentiate in a competitive market.  Katie Orr, the global head of practice innovation at Orrick, commented in a legal services delivery talk that something has changed when it comes to lawyers adopting new technology. “There’s been a widespread realization within law firms, especially now that they are more resource constrained, that repeat work needs to be minimized and made more efficient with tech, to free up space to focus on higher value work.”

This greater embracing of tech also shone through in our discussions with companies, many with whom we met for the first time. Engaged conference attendees not only attended sessions in droves–more so than in past years–but also asked excellent questions in our meetings and appeared eager to learn how tech can save them time and money.

Generative AI makes AI mainstream—there’s no going back

There’s been talk of applying AI to legal work for years, but at this Legalweek, the discussions seemed different. In an emerging technology session on AI chat, Jim Wagner, Lean Law Labs, and formerly of Seal Software, talked about the speed at which ChatGPT is gaining traction. A visceral demonstration of this fast-tracked tech adoption was when he asked how many in the room had used ChatGPT in some capacity recently. More than 75% of the roomful of attendees raised their hand. While extolling ChatGPTs virtues like ease of use and ability to structure data rapidly, he also offered up a few cautions and referenced a March 24th WSJ article on ChatGPT which discusses why some companies like JP Morgan are abandoning it.

Wagner’s advice: don’t expect an immature technology like ChatGPT to always provide the right answer. Also, be sure to manage how your team or outside provider is handling your data in ChatGPT, with the preference being to maintain data in silos so that no one else can gain access to it, rather than it being used to build a large language model (LLM.)

Modern data can no longer be ignored in the discovery process

In an emerging technology educational track talk, the challenge of dealing with emerging data types like Slack and Teams data and text messages was raised by Deeanna Fleener, Integreon. “Any communications your company or firm’s employees have created since COVID will contain short message data—you can no longer argue it away in litigation prep,” she said.

Dealing with the growing types and volume of information coming from newer ways of communicating in investigations or discovery work can be daunting. Rick Clark, CloudNine recommends thinking of modern data types found especially in mobile phones in eDiscovery “as data, not docs” when reviewing these data. They are just points of metadata that have to be analyzed in a near-native fashion.” Clark also shared that since people today often switch from texting, to using Slack, to making a phone call, it’s critical to find a technology solution for eDiscovery that helps you to see the whole conversation in a cohesive way. (Note: CloudNine is the first to market a solution for handling short message data in eDiscovery efficiently, CloudNine Analyst.)

Change management requires a systematic approach

Several educational sessions throughout the week included discussions on change management. ILTA’s president, Joy Heath Rush, in a talk on “Change Management is Legal Technology,” offered this advice on how to be successful with new tech rollouts. “Lawyers don’t hate technology, they hate complexity. Make sure the product is easy to use, and that you make it as easy as possible to start using it.”

The language used in technology and policy rollouts should also be chosen carefully. Stephen Bainbridge of Egress raised the heightened risk all organizations have today due to the way people communicate changing, with Slack, Teams, email and texts dominating work communication channels. “Hacking is up, and security training is needed. Security creates friction, something lawyers do not like. When it comes to rolling out new security processes, use language like “Strongly suggest”, rather than mandate a change.”

In the “Using tech as a superpower” discussion, Vedika Mehera, from Orrick, mentioned the importance of selling the idea of a new solution early on. “Start by asking questions. Listen to what people find challenging in their day-to-day work and keep them involved throughout the process.” Mehera also suggested using the early adopters of a new solution as those to champion use throughout the firm. “Have them demonstrate in a department call how they used the technology and what they are getting out of it. The message is more credible coming from a peer rather than the project team lead.”

Thinking back on the many discussions we heard last week, it’s clear that the legal community is moving past what Gartner’s hype cycle model refers to as the trough of disillusionment and has entered the slope of enlightenment when it comes to embracing technology. It’s a thrilling time to be in legal tech, and we look forward to continuing to be part of the conversation and being a partner to law firms and legal in-house teams wanting to address the changing legal landscape head on.

If you’d like to learn more about our solution for modern data and eDiscovery, or to find out about where we are speaking next, contact us here.

Catherine Ostheimer is VP, Marketing at CloudNine and has been working in the legal technology industry for 8+ years.

2022 Conference Tour: Top 10 Takeaways

By Rick Clark

As we conclude a full 2022 slate of legal conferences, I look back at what were quite a few interesting takeaways and lessons learned. Our engagements included presenting thought leadership at The Master’s Conferences throughout the U.S., meetings held in NYC during LegalWeek and in Maryland for ILTACon, as well as attending local conferences, EDI, and forensic conferences. And yes, there were many fascinating topics, but the most significant part of this top 10 is that we were in person again!
It’s in that vein, I share the following observations:

A personal, but professional perspective

1. Getting back in network shape. Who knew that we all needed to get back in networking shape? I didn’t. For me, it started with LegalWeek NYC 2022, and it took a bit to get my stamina back up to conduct in-person meetings all day, scurry over to Faces and Names for the reunions, and meet people for the first time from the many Zoom meetings. (It seemed strange, at first, to see people in person for the first time when there are many video meetings leading up to it.) I was completely exhausted at the end of the week.

2. Added enthusiasm. Networking is always a part of our close-knit legal industry, but it seemed that we ALL had extra energy and enthusiasm when seeing each other…this is likely why I was so tired after legal week. It has been GREAT seeing everyone throughout the year as I traveled to the seven Master’s Conferences in key cities in the US and attended ILTACon, LegalWeek, PFIC, and other regional events.

3. Attendance was light but concentrated. Most conferences (except for ILTACON) seemed to be at 70% capacity compared to before the pandemic, but that didn’t seem to be an issue as there were STILL people that I sought out to catch up with but slipped away…so next year I will work on that as I expect more people will be attending these events.

Wow, has the legal industry grown?

4. It’s not just emails and business documents anymore. Easily a reoccurring theme, but popular document review platforms still provide little to no long-term solutions. What truly amazes me is that many of these solutions clearly define modern data problems, but still don’t present any clear solutions.

5. Telling the full story. Similar to point #4, the industry is looking for ways to combine all data in a succinct way to tell the story. The navigation across platforms that many conversations take makes it difficult to tell what is going on. For instance, I start a conversation over email, switch to Microsoft Teams, then continue the conversation over text messages is a common occurrence. So, unless you’re using CloudNine ESI Analyst, being able to easily combine and see this “singular” conversation becomes a huge challenge.

6. The wild, Wild West. Information Governance, Compliance, and Privacy are ALL being re-explored as new corporate communications and BYOD policies are impacting corporate data policies. That stated, these are great topics to pay attention to in either webinars or in-person conferences as even throughout the year there seemed to be continual updates on these topics.

7. Analytics and discovery.  As the adoption of concept analytics, artificial intelligence, and technology-assisted review continue to grow, modern data types are becoming the next iteration of these workflows. Like all data analysis workflows, no single platform has the silver bullet (yet), but there are great options available when you talk to your technology and service providers.

8. Thought leadership.  This year I spent most of my time attending Master’s Conferences around the country and have found that thought leadership conferences rather than big conferences, like LegalWeek and ILTA, seem to expand farther below the surface in the topics presented. This seems to be majorly in part because the attendees at the smaller conferences have a tighter concentration of practitioners and legal professionals who are generally more involved in complex cases. LegalWeek and ILTA have great content as well, but the lack of depth is something many colleagues have noted while at these conferences.

Overall Logistics and Observations

9. Cost of doing business.  It should come as no surprise, but the cost of travel is significantly more than before the pandemic and I have found that I need to book my travel MUCH more in advance, so I don’t burn up my travel budget getting to these conferences. As an example, the NYC Master’s Conference on September 21st was also the same week that the United Nations met and the same day that President Joe Biden was speaking. Suffice it to say that the city was packed with people. Hotels were $800+ per night and many common hotels were at capacity.

10. Conferencing on a budget.  Many of the smaller, thought leadership conferences have allotted passes for law firms, and corporate and government personnel. So, when you’re looking to attend an upcoming conference, check with the organizers to see if there are discounts or passes available if your firm doesn’t have the budget for it. These conferences provide great content, networking opportunities, and a break from the tedium.

Let us know what conferences you are interested in next year and we will let you know what passes we have to offer.
We look forward to seeing you in 2023!

internal software infrastructure

Optimizing Your Infrastructure for LAW & Explore eDiscovery

By: Joshua Tucker

It’s safe to say Microsoft isn’t going out of business anytime soon. Last year alone they grew 18 percent, reaching 168 billion dollars*. They are continuously making updates to their software, improving their products and functionality, and purchasing emerging software. They want to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more*, but the power you obtain from the software is up to you. Microsoft does not know your intended purpose or use of their software; all they can do is provide the software and the barebone requirements to make it run.

CloudNine software is no different. Let’s take a deep dive into your infrastructure and how you can optimize it with the CloudNine on-premise processing platforms.

We see that several of our clients run their environments with the most minimal recommended resources. Just like Microsoft can’t know how large your SQL server needs to be, we don’t know the level of demand your client’s data is putting on your workstation. What we DO know is that the number of files per case is growing, the complexity of files is growing, and resources are sparse.

We will cover the areas where we can make vast improvements in the efficiency in the way you are using your CloudNine software.

Your Local Area Network

Let’s use the common “business triangles” as a frame of reference. Examples would be “people, technology, and process” or “team, leadership, and mission”, or, my favorite, “price, speed, and quality”. The more your balanced business triangle, the better. Too much or not enough emphasis on one side and that balance will start to wane.

The eDiscovery version of the business triangle is called the ‘Local Area Network’. The first side of this ‘Local Area Network’ is the hardware or the backbone of your infrastructure. The second side would be the software, or the muscle needed to use that backbone. The third side is your network file server or the brain’s storage area, which will hold all the knowledge that our software is going to discover for you. And finally, the three sides are then connected, like sinew, with your local network speed.

You want to find the sweet spot that balances cost, throughput demands, speed to review, and hardware budget. Let us go ahead and call this the “Goldilocks Zone”.

Real-life case study: About 8 years ago, we were working with a client that had a few virtual machines and a few physical machines. The virtual machines were 4 core and 8GB of RAM. The physical machines were 8 core and 16GB of RAM.  IT wanted to get rid of the physical machines, but there was resistance to letting them go because they were able to process so much faster than the virtual machines. We conducted some testing to find the Goldilocks Zone between the amount of data being processed, the expected speed, and the cost. We created a few virtual machines with 4, 8, and 12 cores and ran tests to determine the correct core count for our company. We determined that an 8-core box with 16GB of RAM was able to process data much faster than a 4-core box with only 8GB of RAM.

After we completed optimizing the processing machines, we ventured forth into the other areas of our infrastructure.

Next, we reached out to our SQL team to see what would happen if we added more RAM and more SQL cores. We saw the same result. As we added more resources, we found that we were able to increase the speed on LAW’s communication with SQL. Faster communication equals a faster read/write, which equated to a faster processing speed. During this testing we also found that the more SQL cores, the more we could horizontally spread out the processing tasks on our LAW machines (i.e., we could have more machines writing to the same database).

Note: Today, I have a simple equation to determine the correct size of SQL:  Take the total number of read/write instances that can be communicating or interacting with SQL. Divide that number by three. The resulting number is the SQL cores needed. For RAM, take the same number of instances and multiply it by four.

After we completed this environment review, we had larger machines, faster read/write capability, and more machines to process on each matter. The Goldilocks Zone for SQL ensures that you have the right number of SQL cores and RAM per instances that have read/write work with SQL.

(For LAW workstations is highly suggested at 8 core and 16gb of RAM. For Explore that was 8 core and 32gb of RAM.)

Note: Your LAN does not have to be local to your office, but SQL, the LAW database folder structure and the workstations all need to be in close proximity to each other. The closer the better.

Software and Upgrades

Let’s go back to our Microsoft analogy. Microsoft keeps improving their product and each version of the operating system has the potential of changing the location or how certain files work. It is imperative that the operating system that is installed on your workstations is supported by the version of the product that you are going to use. If it isn’t, the software could act in a way that is completely unexpected – or worse.

The data we process can be a threat to our organization (and this does go for everyone!) and the best way to protect yourself is to be up to date on patches and virus software. I highly suggest that you first patch in a test environment, testing each part of the tool and making sure that the patching will not interfere with your work. The more up to date you can test, the more secure your, and your client’s, data will be.

One thing I like about the right test environment is that once your testing is done, you can make an image and deploy that image to the rest of your workstations. It is fast and efficient.

How your processing engine gets metadata to you matters. For instance, there are engines, like LAW, that will expand the files and harvest all the metadata. This type of processing is slower in getting the data in review, but much faster in the final export. There are also engines, like CloudNine Explore, that will hold off on expanding the data but harvest all the text and metadata extremely quickly. This workflow is great for ECA purposes.

How deep these tools dig into your data is also important. You never want a want privileged document produced because your processing engine did not discover it. Find out if your engine is collecting all the natives, text, and metadata that you need for these legal matters, and then come up with a workflow that will accentuate the strengths of your tool.

Having an Investment in your File Storage

The price of data storage has been coming down for years. Which is great news considering the fact that discoverable data keeps growing and will continue grow at an astounding pace. It is estimated that this past year, that each person on the planet created 1.7 megabytes of information each second. Every matter’s data size has increased and with it, the speed to review. All of this must run efficiently, all of it must be backed up, and all of it must be in your disaster recovery plans.

Network speeds matters. It ties your infrastructure together. If the processing machine can’t talk to the SQL machines quickly, or to the network storage efficiently, then it won’t perform at top speed, no matter how many cores you have. Network speed should be considered not only for the processing department, but for your whole company. We highly suggest a gigabit network, and if you are a firm or legal service provider, you might want to be looking at a 10-gigabit network.

Even with a gigabit network, your workstations, SQL server, and file server need to be local to each other. Having one data center or a or central location helps keep those resources working more effectively, getting you a higher return on investment on your machines.

Pro tip! There is a quick and easy way to test your network speed without having to contacted IT. Find a photo that is near 1mb and put it in the source location. Log into one of your workstations, open a window to that source location, and drag that image to your desktop. Then, drag it back. Both times that you move this image should be instantaneous to you. If either move takes a more than one second, then your network speed needs to be improved.


It is our responsibility to figure out what we need to get full capacity out of outside tools. To run CloudNine’s LAW we need workstations that have at least an 8 core and 16gb RAM. For CloudNine Explore workstations, we need 8core and 32gb or RAM and SQL environment that adjusts to number of instances that are interacting with it.

Ensure that your software matches up with the recommended versions for your processing engine. If you are on or are working with an operating system that wasn’t on the list of that processing engine, we know that you could get unexpected results – or worse data. Line up the programs, test before you deploy, and stay up to date.

Know where your data is stored and the speed at which your systems talk to each other. Keep your environment in close proximity.

All in all, in order to get the top speed and performance out of CloudNine’s tools (or our third-party software your purchase), you must invest into the right resources.

Keep working towards your “Goldilocks Zone” – the sweet spot between speed, price, and quality.

If you are interested in having a CloudNine expert analyze your environment and provide recommendations for efficiencies, please contact us for a free Health Check.



* https://www.priceintelligently.com/blog/subscription-revenue-adobe-gopro-microsoft-gillette

* https://www.comparably.com/companies/microsoft/mission

* https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-server/install/hardware-and-software-requirements-for-installing-sql-server-2019?view=sql-server-ver15


Have you considered the implications of time zones when it comes to your litigation needs?

by: Trent Livingston, Chief Technology Officer

Most of today’s legal technology platforms require that a time zone be selected at the time of ingestion of data. Or, in the case of forensic software, the time stamp is displayed with a time zone offset based upon the device’s time zone setting. However, when conducting a review, the de facto time zone setting for your litigation is often determined ahead of time, often based upon subjective information. This is likely the region in which the primary custodian resides. Once that time zone is selected, everything is adjusted to that time zone. It is “set in stone” so to speak. In some cases, this is fine, but in others, it can complicate things, especially if you want to alter your time zone mid-review.

Let’s start by understanding time zones, which immediately begs the question, “how many time zones are there in the world?” After all, it can’t be that many, right? Well, don’t start up your time machine just yet! To summarize a Quora answer (https://www.quora.com/How-many-timezones-do-we-have-in-the-world) we arrive at the following confusing mess.

Spanning our globe, there are a total of 41 different time zones. Given the number of time zones, “shifting time” (so to speak) can be of the utmost importance when examining evidentiary data.

If everything is set to Eastern Standard Time but does not properly allocate for time zone changes, a software application could arbitrarily alter a time stamp inconsistently, and consistency is what really matters! What happens if two of the parties to a matter are in New York while two of the parties are in Arizona? Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time. This could result in a set of timestamps being thrown off by an hour spanning approximately five months of the data set (based upon Daylight Saving Time rules). Communication responses that may have happened within minutes now seemingly occur an hour later (or earlier depending on how to look at it). Forensic records could fall out of sync with other evidentiary data and communications or, worse yet, sworn testimony. The key is to ensure consistency to avoid confusion.

CloudNine’s ESI Analyst (ESIA) normalizes everything to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) upon ingestion, leveraging the original time zone or offset. By doing this, ESIA can display the time zone of the project manager’s choosing (either set at the project level or by the specific user’s account time zone setting). This allows for the time stamp display of any evidence to be changed at any time to the desired time zone across an entire project, allowing for the dynamic view of time stamps. Not only can it be changed during a review, but also set at export. All original metadata is stored, and available during export so that the adjusted time stamp can be leveraged for timelines, while the original time stamp and time zone settings are preserved for evidentiary purposes.

When performing analysis of disparate data sets, this methodology allows users to adjust data to see relative time stamps to a particular party involved in that specific investigation. For example, an investigation may involve multiple parties that are all located in different time zones. Additionally, these users may be traveling to different countries. Adjusting everything to Eastern Time may show text messages arriving and being responded to in the late hours of the day not accounting for the fact that perhaps the user was abroad and was actually responding during normal business hours.

While seemingly innocuous, it can make a big difference in how a jury perceives the action of the party, depending on the nature of the investigation.

As they say… “timing is everything!” especially when it comes to digital evidence in today’s modern era.

Now, where did I leave my keys to my DeLorean?

Learn more about CloudNine ESI Analyst and its ability to deduplicate, search, filter, and adjust time zones across all data types at once here.

Private and Privileged Data: Public Records and FOIA Requests

By:  Julia Romero-Peter, Esq

Information requested from a government agency through a local public records request or the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), may be considered private, personally identifiable information (PII) or privileged. These designations can apply in an ongoing investigation when personal information about an individual is disclosed.  And, in some cases, these designations can be appealed.

What Is Private and Privileged Information?

Private information considered personal in nature can be designated as PII. This can include medical records, financial information, or personal correspondence. Private information is typically exempt from public disclosure laws meaning, government agencies are not required to release such data in a public records request.

Privileged information is not subject to disclosure under the law. Examples of this can include attorney-client privilege, work product, matters of national security, or data related to an ongoing criminal investigation. Privileged information is typically exempt from public disclosure laws, which again, means government agencies are not required to release it in response to a public records request.

If the data requested contains private, privileged information, it may be redacted before being released to a requesting party to prevent the disclosure of national security information, for example.

Tools to Prepare Data for a Public or FOIA Request

CloudNine’s cloud-based solutions can help you locate relevant information for a public record or FOIA request.  CloudNine’s simplified review automation platform can help you manage, review, classify, redact, and prepare productions among all types of digital information. Your team can optimize your workflow and analyze data with precision using the CloudNine Suite, which includes CloudNine ESi Analyst —  the industry’s only investigation platform built and prepared to handle today’s modern data types, such as chat, text, social media, geotracking and more.

To see CloudNine software in action and learn how to save time and costs with an integrated, cloud-based review platform, contact us to schedule a consultation today.


To learn about the rise of modern data including social media, SMS, geolocation and corporate chat applications such as Slack and Teams, or click the link to request our newest eBook:  Modern Data Blueprint: Including All Data Sources in Your eDiscovery


Three Things to Consider When Moving to the Cloud

By:  Kyle Taylor

Cloud computing is trending today, and for good reasons. Reports from Flexera show that 50% of decision-makers in organizations believe that migration to the cloud will continue to increase.

While some consider it a risky move for data security, others think it’s necessary for business in many ways. What benefits do companies stand to enjoy by moving to the cloud?

Reduce Internal Infrastructure Demands and Hardware Costs

The traditional on-premise Concordance platform has many demands, especially when a company wants to scale upward. It must incur the cost of acquiring additional infrastructure when new employees come on board or it expands operations.

Cloud infrastructure is easier to grow, with a business only having to pay for other resources as required. The cloud environment requires no hardware investment.

Eliminate Time-Consuming Installs, Upgrades, And System Downtime

Migrating legacy systems to a cloud computing solution saves a company time rolling out new software and training. The team has no data centers to update regularly, saving time for more crucial activities. Cloud-based solutions also experience fewer downtimes.

Routine Backups and Disaster Recovery Process

Cloud solutions provide data encryption, regular automatic backups, and speedy data recovery. Cloud hosting providers regularly update security features based on the newest technology to keep your data protected at all times.

Other benefits of moving from the on-premise Concordance platform to the cloud include:

  • No database corruption and data integrity concerns
  • Data migration assistance from professional cloud service providers
  • Access new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes as soon as they are released
  • Unlimited data storage and processing space
  • Flexibility in using the software from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Easily collaborate with internal and external parties
  • Optional overflow services and consulting are available
  • Easy to use modern interface designed for a positive user experience
  • Automated seamless workflows
  • Customizable tag options and formats
  • Cloud-based databases support modern data formats
  • Reviewer statistics
  • Flexible database customization at the user level

The benefits of moving from an on-premise platform (like Concordance) are endless. If you would like to start the migration or get support for your cloud solution, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Click to Download: Moving to the Cloud: Lessons from the Experts