Navigating the Dichotomy of Data: Tom O’Connor Speaks with Hunter McMahon This Week On the EDiscovery Channel

December 10, 2018

Are you increasingly perplexed by how to distinguish the differences among document types and whether they fit into labels such as “structured” or “unstructured” ? And is your confusion made even worse by increasingly massive amounts of data that have to be gathered and reviewed in increasingly shorter periods of time?

Well the folks at IDS  believe they have a solution.  Instead of focusing on documents and document structure, they focus instead on analyzing the actual contents of the documents, that is the context of that data.

Hunter McMahon is the Director of Data Analytics at IDS and in that role he assists clients in looking at data not documents. In this discussion, Hunter talks about how IDS does that and the remarkable increases in turn around time they accomplish with this approach.

Click here to watch the discussion.




The “Luddite” Lawyer: Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?

November 26, 2018

Webinar this week ….  to register go here and to read my white paper on the topic, click here



The “Luddite” Lawyer: Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?

Doug Austin and Tom O’Connor



Technology Assisted Review (TAR) has been court approved for nearly seven years now and other technologies and approaches have been proven to save time and money while even improving quality within the discovery process. Yet, many lawyers still have yet to embrace these new technologies and approaches. Why, and what needs to happen to change things? This CLE-approved* webcast will discuss a lawyer’s ethical duty to understand technology, how to address today’s challenges and embrace approaches for addressing those technologies, pertinent case law regarding the use of technology and resources for more information. Topics include:

+ Ethical Duties and Rules for Understanding Technology
+ Addressing Discovery of Various Sources of ESI Data
+ Understanding the Goals for Retrieving Responsive ESI
+ Considerations and Challenges for Using Technology Assisted Review
+ Considerations for Form of Production
+ Key Case Law Related to Technology Challenges
+ Resources for Expanding Your Technical Expertise
+ Recommendations for Becoming Technology Competent
+ Resources for More Information

Presentation Leaders:

Doug Austin is the VP of Products and Professional Services for CloudNine where he manages professional services consulting projects for CloudNine clients. Doug has over 25 years of experience providing legal technology consulting, technical project management and software development services to numerous commercial and government clients.

Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems. Tom’s consulting experience is primarily in complex litigation matters.

Using Office 365 for eDiscovery: Free Seminar at ESI Forum in San Diego on Nov. 15th

November 6, 2018


This is the flyer for the next MCLE session in our 2018 series. We are pleased again to host nationally-known speaker Tom O’Connor on his annual visit to our Forum. This time he will discuss the eDiscovery challenges and tools to preserve, collect, review and produce the ESI from Office 365 applications. More and more clients, companies, and individuals are using Microsoft’s cloud-based software to manage their businesses and personal affairs. Now Microsoft is incorporating eDiscovery tools within Office 365 that allow execution of some traditional eDiscovery evolutions.  Signup now for this timely presentation.

Please forward a copy of this flyer to anyone else who might be interested.

Sign up on the Forum’s webpage at While there, check the list of forthcoming programs and calendar their dates.

Follow our LinkedIn group as an additional way to stay informed. Just click on this link or the LinkedIn symbol on the Forum’s home page.

Please join us for another excellent and timely presentation. Free and informative, as always.






William N. Kammer| Solomon Ward | 401 B Street, Suite 1200 | San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 619.238.4809 | Fax: 619.615.7909 |



Get a “Clue” Regarding Your eDiscovery Process in this CloudNine webcast

October 30, 2018

Join Doug Austin of Cloud 9 as he interviews Mike Quartararo of eDPM Advisory Services  and Tom O’Connor of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center tomorrow at 1 pm EST for the “Get a ‘Clue’ Regarding Your eDiscovery Process” webcast.

As evidenced by some high-profile recent eDiscovery disasters, managing eDiscovery projects is more complex than ever. Not only have the volume and variability of ESI data sources increased dramatically, but there are often more stakeholders in eDiscovery projects today than characters on the board game Clue©. Successful eDiscovery today means not only meeting your obligations, but also making sure that each stakeholder in the process succeeds as well.  Tomorrow’s webcast can enable you to really get a “clue” regarding your eDiscovery process.

In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, Doug, Mike and Tom will discuss the various participants in the eDiscovery process, what motivates each of them, and best practices on how to avoid becoming the next high-profile eDiscovery disaster. Topics include:

  • The Process: Managing the Project from Initiation to Close
  • The Phases: Managing the Flow of ESI Before and During the Process
  • The Players: Goals and Objectives of Each eDiscovery Stakeholder
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Large Financial Institution’s Mistakes
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Government Entity’s Mistakes
  • Whodunnit?: Lessons Learned from a Medical Center’s Mistakes
  • Recommendations for Avoiding Your Own Mistakes
  • Resources for More Information

To register for the webcast, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  Three guys with beards on the Wolfman’s favorite day, what could be better!

A Little Craig Ball, A Little Forensic Examination Protocol, A Little Legal Innovation, A Really Big Microphone. That’s Why We Call It TechnoGumbo.

September 10, 2018

In the most recent eDiscovery Channel interview, Tom O’Connor asks Craig Ball about his new Forensic Examination Protocol. Then he adds some lagniappe with a short discussion about Ron Friedmann’s article Legal Innovation Takes More than Talk.

All right here on the eDiscovery Channel on YouTube.

Can eDiscovery Really Be Done Within Microsoft Office 365? Help Us Find Out.

September 6, 2018


I’m working with Don Swanson, president of Five Star Legal  to find out just how many firms out there are actually using Office 365 for eDiscovery. To that end, Don and I have come up with the O365 Challenge, a successor to the  2009  EDna Challenge posed by eDiscovery expert Craig D. Ball  and my 2011 follow up to that, the Ernie Challenge.

The twist for this new hypothetical challenge is that, like EDna and Ernie, the matter in question still has a budget restriction but all relevant data now resides within Microsoft Office 365.  We really want to know if Office 365’s eDiscovery capabilities are for real? Can litigants achieve the goals outlined in EDna and Ernie within Office 365? Can big case eDiscovery processes be handled within Office 365 on a small budget?

Why Microsoft Office 365?  Most people know O365 as a software-as-a-service offering of email, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud are used by most of the Fortune 500, as well as federal, state and local governments and educational institutions.

Like other cloud services, the Office 365 servers and applications are managed and maintained by Microsoft. And while Office 365 subscribers cannot access the physical machines where their data resides, Microsoft has introduced eDiscovery capabilities, which are built-in to the service and purport to handle key functions, including identification, preservation, analysis and collection.


A multi-national company is facing commercial litigation from a former supplier. The company believes the lawsuit is frivolous yet realizes there is at least $400,000 of potential financial exposure and the likelihood of significant legal expenditures. The business employs 750 and last year the company moved all email and SharePoint content to Microsoft Office 365.

The company general counsel has identified 10 employees who are likely to have data relevant to the lawsuit. Although she has retained outside counsel to handle the litigation, the general counsel is determined to control costs by dealing with initial eDiscovery aspects internally. To that end, she is familiarizing herself with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model™ and is meeting with the company information technology team to explore Office 365’s eDiscovery features.


The general counsel asks: Within the company’s Office 365 E3 licenses, which processes can be performed in-house to help control costs while meeting legal obligations?

The general counsel identifies several goals:

  1. Avoid purchase of additional software or hardware.
  2. Preserve potentially relevant email, including metadata.
  3. Analyze content using advanced search including keyword, date range and Boolean.
  4. Establish a defensible and cost-efficient workflow.

We have built a survey which asks about eDiscovery capabilities in Office 365, including:

  • Information Governance.
  • Identification.
  • Preservation.
  • Collection.
  • Processing.
  • Review.
  • Analysis.
  • Production.
  • Presentation.

The survey can be found at Survey responses submitted before Oct. 15, 2018, will be included in the white paper detailing the Microsoft Office 365 Challenge findings which Don and I will publish later in Q4.

So please take a few minutes and answer the survey. Or, if you prefer, just send your comments directly to Don or myself and we’ll be sure to include them in the final report.


August 29, 2018

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I just spent a very relaxing weekend with Gayle at my sister’s house in Noank CT.   Sunny, low humidity, light breezes, lobstah, cigars, fire pit at night in the back yard, more lobstah.  At one point during a relaxing moment in an Adirondack chair (with a lobstah and a cigar), my sister said to me, “don’t you want to go do something” and I replied, “I’m doing it”.

But at some point between crustaceans, Gayle and I spent a little time recapping the ILTACON18 conference we had attended the week before. You can see her summary in this week’s ACEDS blog at  as well as other recent posts by Bob Ambrogi and Kevin O’Keefe which capture the details of the show but I thought I’d add a few thoughts of my own because … well because I’m out of lobstahs and cutting back on cigars.

I had some initial trepidation going in to the conference given all the administrative issues, including the shakeup at ILTA HQ and the dust up over press credentials before the show.  (See my blog post at ) But once there, I saw that the event was being run very smoothly and was another resounding success.

I think there are several reasons for this.

First is the sessions. If the slogan for the real estate profession is “location location location” then the slogan for a professional conference should be “content content content.”  ILTACON18 offered anywhere from 35 to 40 sessions a day for four straight days and it was not just the volume of the sessions but the actual content.

These were professional discussions across a wide variety of topics ranging from training to lit support to enterprise management to back office applications and even the state of the profession. They covered topics for small, medium and large firms and featured excellent speakers and (mostly) a minimum of selling from the podium by speaker who were vendors.

Second was the organization. As always, ILTA volunteers did an excellent job of staffing and running the show.  But beyond that, it was the people themselves.  ILTACON is, after all, a user conference and the 1800 ILTA member attendees not only have their jobs in common, but they seem to genuinely like each other. That gives the conference a personable feeling that reminds me more than anything else of New Orleans, where people say hi to you on the sidewalk when you pass. Unlike people in Virginia and DC who seem startled when you do that.

Two examples arose from the admin issues I mentioned above. After I wrote my blog post about press passes and bloggers, I received a call from ILTA staff saying they had received a number of member comments about the policy and wanted to discuss how to revise it.  And at the show, ILTA members held a town hall meeting to discuss the issues around their recent leadership changes.

The point is, this is a group of people who aren’t afraid to discuss problems they are having openly and candidly  and then collectively make changes to adjust what they are doing. That aspect reminded me of growing up in Vermont and attending town meetings as a young boy. Democracy in action and a forum where everyone has an opportunity not only to voice their opinion but feel like it is being listened to and respected.

Isn’t THAT refreshing!

Third, of course was the venue. ILTA seems adept at finding venues large enough to handle their large turnouts. 4100 was reported for ILTACON18, a new record. And the Gaylord in National Harbor not only accommodated but managed the flow of traffic easily and comfortably.  There was actually room for Matt Homan to move his Idea Wall several times to new locations.  See

Next year the conference will be at the Swan and Dolphin at Disney World Orlando and the year after, at a personal favorite of mine, the Gaylord in Nashville. Both great venues that make attending a large conference still seem like fun.

Finally, two personal notes. The Co-Chair of the next two conferences will be Julie Brown, Litigation Technology Manager at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Columbia. I’ve known Julie for years and in addition to her being a great person for the role who will do a wonderful job, I love that a lit support person will be helping run things.

And second I must mention the ACEDS Monument Sunset Cruise up the Potomac River.  A riverboat full of CEDS members enjoyed a wonderful buffet dinner and great conversation as well as celebrating Mary Mack’s birthday. A relaxing evening with friends and a wonderful setting.


So great job once again ILTA. Craig Ball says you are his favorite conference and as we like to say in New Orleans, “yeah you right Craig”.  If you want to attend a tech conference with deep dive sessions across the entire gamut of law firm technical needs and mingle with knowledgeable tech people who are happy to discuss their experiences, this is the conference for you.