Category Archives: Uncategorized

Does Your TAR System Have My Favorite Feature? A Primer on Holistic Thinking

A_to_B-01-01I have noticed that in certain popular document-based systems in the e-discovery marketplace, there is a feature (a capability) that often gets touted.  Although I am a research scientist at Catalyst, I have been on enough sales calls with my fellow Catalyst team members to have heard numerous users of document-based systems ask whether or not we have the capability to automatically remove common headers and footers from email. There are document-based systems that showcase this capability as a feature that is good to have, so clients often include it in the checklist of capabilities that they’re seeking.

This leads me to ask: Why?

For the longest time, this request confused me. It was a capability that many have declared that they need, because they saw that it existed elsewhere. That leads me to want to discuss the topic of holistic thinking when it comes to one’s technology assisted review (TAR) algorithms and processes. Continue reading

‘Digital Detectives’ Podcast Interviews John Tredennick on TAR for Smart People


In the latest episode of the podcast Digital Detectives, hosts Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview Catalyst founder and CEO John Tredennick about technology assisted review (TAR). They discuss exactly what TAR includes and the specific ways it has helped companies reduce discovery costs. They also talk about his recent book, TAR for Smart People.

Listen to the full show by clicking on the link above or by visiting the Legal Talk Network.

Webinar Tomorrow: How to Know if Your TAR Vendor Uses Continuous Active Learning

blog-5vendorsMany vendors these days claim that their technology-assisted review products use a protocol called Continuous Active Learning. But how can you, as an e-discovery professional, be certain about those claims?

The reason this matters is that CAL has  been scientifically proven to be superior to other forms of TAR. In a landmark, peer-reviewed study published last year, e-discovery pioneers Maura Grossman and Gordon Cormack demonstrated CAL’s superiority. Their research proved that CAL was far more effective at finding relevant documents (at a much lower cost) than the one-time training methods used by earlier, TAR 1.0 systems. Continue reading

It’s E-Discovery Day – Join Catalyst and Others in A Day of Free Webinars

WebinarsToday is the first-ever E-Discovery Day, celebrating e-discovery’s vital and growing role in the legal process. The day — which is also the day new e-discovery rules take effect in the federal courts — features a full slate of free videocast panels with some of the top professionals in the field addressing a range of cutting-edge topics.

Catalyst is among today’s presenters, with a program at 4 p.m. Eastern time, Using Advanced Analytics Techniques to Meet the Proportionality Requirements of the New Federal Rules. We’ll discuss how advanced analytics techniques such as timelines, visual analytics, faceted search and the latest technology assisted review protocols can help address proportionality requirements while saving on e-discovery costs in the bargain. Continue reading

Revisiting the Blair and Maron Study: Evaluation of Retrieval Effectiveness for a Full-Text Document-Retrieval System

Full-Text_Document-Retrieval_SystemWhether at Sedona, Georgetown, Legaltech or any other of the many discovery conferences one might attend, a common debate centers on the efficacy of keyword search. “Keyword search is dead,” some argue, touting the effectiveness of the newer predictive analytics engines. “Long live keyword search,” comes back in return from lawyers who have relied on it for decades both to find legal precedent and, more recently, relevant documents for their cases.

Often, the critics of keyword searching cite the 1985 Blair and Maron study for the Association of Computing Machinery that suggested that full-text retrieval systems brought back only 20 percent of the relevant documents. That assertion is true but I wonder how many of the debaters have ever read the study itself. My guess is not many, including me. So I decided to give it a read. Continue reading

Webinar Redux: Here’s the Recording of Our Program on TAR and Transparency


If you missed Catalyst’s recent webinar, Solving the Transparency Issues in Technology Assisted Review, here is your second chance. The video above is a recording of the full webinar.

What is the transparency issue? Well, if you happened to read U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck’s decision earlier this year in Rio Tinto v. Vale, you have an understanding of why transparency is a concern with regard to the use of TAR. Although TAR is now so widely accepted that it has become—as Judge Peck said—black letter law, there remains significant uncertainty over the degree of transparency and cooperation required with respect to the training sets used in TAR. Continue reading

Startup Grind Interviews Catalyst CFO Lew Visscher

As CFO of Catalyst since 2004, Lew Visscher has helped grow the company from its early days as a law firm spin-off to an international legal technology leader. But this veteran financial executive is also known for his activities outside Catalyst. He is president of the board of the Colorado chapter of Financial Executives International and has also been president and treasurer of the board of Emergency Family Assistance Association, one of Boulder County’s largest and oldest non-profits serving the basic needs of the community.

Among finance and accounting professionals, Lew is best known as the founder of Lew’s List. This is a networking email database of nearly 10,000 finance and accounting members that Lew started in 2003. Today, Lew emails 100-150 job opportunities a month to the list’s members, helping companies find talent and talent find employment. It is the go-to source for finance and accounting jobs in Colorado. Continue reading