eDiscovery Daily Blog

Six eDiscovery Trailblazers – eDiscovery Trends

As we discussed on Monday, the electronic discovery industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry and experiencing double-digit growth year after year.  It’s hard to believe that a couple of decades ago, this industry – for all intents and purposes – didn’t even exist.  Now it’s huge, and – as noted in Alan Cohen’s article in The American Lawyer – there are six people who deserve special consideration as true trailblazers in the industry.

Alan’s article, Present at the Creation, notes that these trailblazers “come from different backgrounds. Some are lawyers, some are technology experts, and some are a little of both. But these e-discovery leaders all share an unmistakable and seemingly unbreakable dedication to an area of the law that makes many of us scratch our heads. They have explained e-discovery, quantified it, and helped shape the rules, the case law, and even the business models. Most of the pioneers listed below have been at this for decades, but like the field itself, they’re just getting started. We still may not get as enthusiastic about e-discovery as they do, but thanks to their efforts, we’re no longer mystified by it.”  Here is a list of the eDiscovery trailblazers:

Martha Dawson, Partner, K&L Gates: In response to dealing with early 1990s electronic discovery issues in the Exxon Valdez and Microsoft antitrust litigations, Martha founded Preston Gates’s e-Discovery Analysis and Technology group (e-DAT), which was considered to be the first of its kind—a practice group dedicated exclusively to eDiscovery.  It used project-based attorneys for review that only worked on eDiscovery and who could be billed at lower rates than associates, offering clients savings of over 50 percent compared to traditional methods of document review.

George Socha, Socha Consulting & Tom Gelbmann, Gelbmann & Associates: Founders of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) nine years ago to standardize the definition of the eDiscovery process, the EDRM diagram has become a standard model for representing the flow of information through that process.  Since then, EDRM has delivered a number of additional models and tools to aid those in eDiscovery (including announcements this blog has covered for Model Code of Conduct, Search, Metrics, Jobs and Information Governance, to name a few).  As a member of EDRM for most of its nine years, I’ve seen a lot of accomplishments over that time.  George and Tom have also both been thought leader interviewees on this blog for the past three years.

John Tredennick, Catalyst Repository Systems: John transitioned from litigator at Denver’s Holland & Hart, to the firm’s CTO, to CEO of spin-off Catalyst Repository Systems with a vision of applying the Internet to legal technology as far back as 1996.  These days, almost everybody in the industry has experienced the benefits of cloud-based technology for eDiscovery processes such as collection and review, making it easy to access important data anywhere and share that data with other parties in the case seamlessly.  There are several vendors today offering cloud-based solutions for eDiscovery, including (shameless plug warning!) CloudNine Discovery with our OnDemand® review platform.

Jason R. Baron, U.S. National Archives and Records Adminstration: As director of litigation for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Jason had to search tens of millions of White House emails as part of a discovery request by big tobacco companies in a RICO lawsuit against them.  Looking for a better approach, Jason has been a key member of the Sedona Conference and a cofounder (in 2006, with University of Maryland professor Douglas Oard), of the Legal Track at the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC).  TREC studies have been instrumental in showing the limitations of keyword search and in helping technology-assisted review win judicial approval.

Richard Braman, The Sedona Conference: As founder of The Sedona Conference, a think tank on law and policy, Braman brought together the best minds in eDiscovery to create rules for eDiscovery.  Sedona’s first working group published the groundbreaking “Sedona Principles” which are 14 guidelines for the eDiscovery process with commentary including best practices.  There are now 10 working groups on a variety of legal topics, and this blog has covered some of the guidelines, including those on Proportionality, Cooperation, Database Principles and International Principles.  The Sedona Conference continues to be a leader in best practice guidelines in the industry.

A link to Alan’s article is here.  Tomorrow, we will discuss five judges at the forefront of electronic discovery.

So, what do you think?  How have these trailblazers influenced you?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.