Author Archives: Bob Ambrogi

Bob Ambrogi

About Bob Ambrogi

A lawyer and veteran legal journalist, Bob advises Catalyst on strategic communications and marketing matters. He is also a practicing lawyer in Massachusetts and is the former editor-in-chief of The National Law Journal, Lawyers USA and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. A fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, he also writes the blog LawSites.

Another Federal Decision Acknowledges that TAR Beats Manual Review

In the annals of case law about e-discovery and technology assisted review (TAR), Malone v. Kantner Ingredients will be only a footnote. In fact, were it not for a footnote, the case would barely warrant mention here.

This blog has chronicled the increasing judicial acceptance of TAR, starting with U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck’s seminal 2012 opinion in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, which was the first to approve TAR, and continuing through to Judge Peck’s recent opinion in Rio Tinto PLC v. Vale SA, which declared, “the case law has developed to the point that it is now black letter law that where the producing party wants to utilize TAR for document review, courts will permit it.” Continue reading

Our 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2015 (So Far)

With 2015 already half over, we thought it would be interesting to look back at which were our most popular posts on this blog. These are the posts that received the most traffic during the first six months of the year, regardless of the year the posts were originally published.

As you can see, there is great interest among our readers in a simple but vexing question: How many documents are in a gigabyte? Two posts on that topic by Catalyst’s CEO John Tredennick are persistently among our most popular, as is a third on how many bytes in a gigabyte. And stay tuned, because John has been promising still another update with new information.

Other popular topics included technology assisted review, privilege logs, e-discovery costs and e-discovery ethics. Continue reading

Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck Discusses TAR in the Courtroom

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck — author of the first-ever court decision approving the use of technology assisted review in e-discovery — was recently a guest on the Legal Talk Network podcast Digital Detectives. Hosts Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek, president and vice president of Sensei Enterprises, interviewed Judge Peck about how TAR works, what cases it is suitable for, and how it is being accepted in the courts.

Given Judge Peck’s leadership in broadening the adoption of TAR, we thought his comments would be of interest to readers of this blog. With the gracious permission of Sharon, John and the Legal Talk Network, below is a partial transcript of the show highlighting Judge Peck’s comments on TAR. You can hear the entire program through the Soundcloud player above or at the Legal Talk Network. Continue reading

Infographic: Simplifying Complex International Document Review

When e-discovery goes international, it gets even more complex and costly. But technology assisted review can be as effective in reducing costs for multi-language, multinational matters as it is for matters here in the U.S.

This infographic illustrates how Catalyst Insight Predict helped streamline a recent patent litigation for a Japanese client. See how Predict’s Continuous Active Learning improved results and cut the time and cost of review by over 85%.

View Infographic >

Read Full Case Study >

Podcast: Innovating Technology in E-Discovery

esibytes_logo_electronic_discovery_educationCatalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick is a featured guest on the latest episode of Karl Schieneman’s ESI Bytes podcast, where he talks about the challenges of introducing innovative technologies to the legal community. Also on this episode are Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and  Jay Lieb, a founder of NexLP.

In this episode, both Schieneman and Judge Facciola serve as the interviewers, asking questions of Tredennick and Lieb, with Judge Facciola also sharing his own insights. Schieneman explained his intent in choosing the topic of innovating technology:

Every year the most popular CLE program in the country is LegalTech so one would think the desire to learn new technology is rampant among lawyers. Experience in the field would tend to suggest otherwise. We thought it would be interesting to have two entrepreneur technologists on the show to talk about their perspectives on gaining adoption of new technologies in the legal space.

You can listen to or download the podcast here.

Judge Peck’s Latest: TAR Now ‘Black Letter Law’; CAL Reduces Significance of Seed Set

It is has been three years since U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck issued the first court decision approving the use of technology assisted review in e-discovery, Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Grp., 287 F.R.D. 182 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (Peck, M.J.), affd, 2012 WL 1446534 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 26, 2012). “This Opinion appears to be the first in which a Court has approved of the use of computer-assisted review,” he wrote then.

Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck

Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck

Now, in an opinion released yesterday, Judge Peck says that, in the years since Da Silva Moore, “the case law has developed to the point that it is now black letter law that where the producing party wants to utilize TAR for document review, courts will permit it.” Continue reading

California Considers Ethical Duty To Be Competent in E-Discovery

By | This entry was posted in Ethics, Uncategorized and tagged on by .

Many attorneys still consider e-discovery to be a niche area of law practice, one they would prefer to stay well away from. But do lawyers have an ethical responsibility to be knowledgeable about e-discovery and competent in its practice? In California, the answer could soon be, “Yes.”

A proposed ethics opinion of the State Bar of California (Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 11-0004) would require attorneys who represent clients in litigation either to be competent in e-discovery or associate with others who are competent. The bar is accepting public comments on the proposed opinion until April 9, 2015. Continue reading

For Our Readers: Discounted Registration for Arkfeld eDiscovery Conference


Judge Scheindlin

Judge Scheindlin

The fourth annual ASU-Arkfeld eDiscovery and Digital Evidence Conference takes place March 11-13 in Tempe, Ariz., and we are happy to be able to offer this blog’s readers a 30 percent discount on registration.

This annual conference — produced by noted e-discovery attorney and educator Michael Arkfeld and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University — features three full days of programs presented by some of the leading judges, practitioners and educators. Continue reading

Forbes Interviews Catalyst’s John Tredennick and Mark Noel on Technology Assisted Review


What is the impact of data and technology on the modern law firm and lawyer? This was the question Forbes contributor David J. Parnell set out to answer when he recently interviewed John Tredennick, Catalyst’s founder and CEO, and Mark Noel, Catalyst’s managing director of professional services.

At one point in the wide-ranging interview — which was published on Forbes last week – Parnell asks Tredennick about some of the major changes in legal technology he has witnessed over the years. In response, Tredennick says that the legal industry is currently in the midst of a major transition with respect to technology assisted review.

Suddenly technology has come where you take a million documents in review—and for any big firm lawyer that’s a big smile on their face because with junior associates reviewing at 500 docs a day, you’ve got your year made—and somebody comes along and says, “You know, with a wave of a wand and a couple training docs, we’re going to cut that million documents down to about 50,000 docs that are probably important.” Maybe 95% of those billable hours go away. That does not make the lawyers smile. That does not make you smile.

But I’ve seen this for 30 years. The innovation comes out; the billable hour suffers; but you always have a few law firms that are not at the top, and then they say, “We don’t have 50,000 associates. Let’s go outsmart them. We’ll lead the way.” And they start taking business away from the big guys. And the corporate entities listen and change happens.

Elsewhere in the interview, Noel tells Parnell that technologies such as TAR are helping to ease the work of lawyers, but will never replace them.

Many people are realizing that they have to change the way they work. And tools like technology assisted review are changing the way attorneys work. But it’s not going to replace them. TAR tools can quickly analyze millions of documents for subtle patterns, but only humans can decide what’s important to the case, or what stories the documents can tell. So these systems are hybrids: The machines do what they do best, and the humans do what they do best. There will be plenty of work to go around for skilled practitioners who know the tools and have the right skillsets.

Read the full interview at Forbes.

Download our Free E-Book: ‘TAR for Smart People’

book_tar_for_smart_peopleIn her column today for the popular legal blog Above the Law, technology writer Nicole Black says that one of the best items of swag at this year’s LegalTech New York was the new book from Catalyst, TAR for Smart People: How Technology Assisted Review Works and Why It Matters for Legal Professionals.

At LegalTech, Catalyst handed out the book in hard copies. But for those of you who did not make it to LegalTech (or who just don’t want to kill any more trees), the e-book edition is now also available. To get your own copy, download it here free. It is available in both PDF and Epub versions.

The book was written by Catalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick,  with contributions by Dr. Jeremy Pickens,, one of the world’s leading information retrieval scientists and senior applied research scientist at Catalyst; Mark Noel, a lawyer who is managing director of professional services at Catalyst; and me, a lawyer and technology writer and director of communications at Catalyst. It features a forward by internationally known e-discovery lawyer Ralph Losey.

Starting from the premise that TAR is a sophisticated process that draws on science, technology and law, the book explains the basics of TAR while also exploring advanced issues and applications. The book serves as a practitioners’ guide to TAR, with a focus on the newest TAR protocol, Continuous Active Learning (CAL).