News from ACEDS, EDRM and the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation

This blog falls silent when I go to foreign conferences – packing, panel preparation, travelling and the event itself push aside other things, and the post-event catch-up is inevitably tiresome. Some announcements are worth capturing now that I have settled back in.


Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad, as the ACEDS Executive Director and VP Client Engagement respectively, have together turned ACEDS (the Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists) into an educational force to be reckoned with, within and beyond the US. The announcement (reported here by Bob Ambrogi) that they were leaving ACEDS, came freighted with strong hints (“We’re not going away”) that a new venture was being planned. But what would that be?

While we pondered that, it was announced that Mike Quartararo would become the new Executive Director of ACEDS. The ACEDS announcement is here. Ari Kaplan will help build and chair a new ACEDS Global Advisory Board. I saw Mike Quartararo last week and it was clear that he is full of ideas for carrying on Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad’s work. His Open letter to the ACEDS membership pays tribute to Mary and Kaylee and sets out his initial plans for ACEDS.


We did not have long to wait to find out what Mary Mack and Kaylee Walstad were doing. It was announced that they had acquired EDRM (the Electronic Discovery Reference Model). The EDRM press release is here.

George Socha, co-founder of the EDRM, said:

When Tom Gelbmann and I founded the EDRM in 2005, we sought to create a resource that would help folks to better understand e-discovery and its potential,” said George Socha. “I am thrilled that Mary and Kaylee will be taking the helm at the EDRM, guiding it and its community to the next level. I have worked with Mary and Kaylee for many years and eagerly look forward to working closely with them as they advance and expand the EDRM.

I interviewed Mary and Kaylee at Relativity Fest and you can find out more about their plans shortly.

Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation

Early this year, John Tredennick sold Catalyst to OpenText. I have heard nothing from him since then except about his beloved horses, but did not imagine that he would settle down to rural retirement. What would he do?

The answer turned up last week in the form of a press release from the new Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation. Its purpose is more or less described in its name. You can find the press release and some comment from Rob Robinson on the Complex Discovery site here.

John Tredennick said:

“Open source has revolutionized the way software is developed worldwide. It represents a new and powerful alternative to proprietary software and has great applications in legal. Teams of developers and legal professionals worldwide are collaborating to make software that improves access to justice for clients and makes legal and regulatory compliance less costly”.

John Tredennick has written an interesting post on the Merlin blog called Wikipedia: An Open Source Encyclopedia in which he draws a parallel between the word’s best-known collaborative project and what Merlin hopes to achieve. Linux gets a mention as well, for obvious reasons.

Merlin aims to build an advisory board from a range of disciplines and countries around the world. Mary Mack and Bob Ambrogi are named as being involved, and others have been recruited who will be named in due course. I have declined John’s kind invitation to be involved, with regret, on the grounds that I have enough to be doing for now.

Why “with regret”? Like the people named above, and a handful of others, I have been involved in eDiscovery since it was invented. We are the generation which found ourselves at the frontier of a whole new discipline. It is really exciting to see those founders doing new things and engaging in ventures which will develop new ideas and new platforms (in both the technical and the educational sense of that word).

I will watch developments at all these organisations – ACEDS, ERDM and Merlin – with interest.



About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
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