This weekend's lead:

Another reason all this money is  
pouring into the e-discovery market


Gregory P Bufithis, Esq.

also featuring:

* a selection of upcoming and potentially interesting
live webinars/webcasts selected by Jonathan

9 March (Paris, France) - This  weekly compilation of Tweets comes from Jonathan who combs through Twitter on a daily basis, just one of his many activities at the helm of the eponymous ...

Yes, among his many activities in the world of managing electronic and hard copy data is his daily collection of articles, posts and sources of information on Twitter in the areas of forensic technology and discovery which he shares via email blasts entitled BONG! which we have distributed to our subscriber base for years.

Oh, yes ... why BONG! you might ask. Jonathan explains:

For those outside the UK (or in the UK but without televisions), BONG! is a reference to the main evening TV news in the UK, on which headlines are read out between strikes (bongs) of the now-silent Big Ben, the bell in the Elizabeth Tower (renamed from the Clock Tower in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee) at the Palace of Westminster. You can thank a particularly persistent pedant early on in the life of my BONG! for this rather precise explanation.

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Another reason all this money is 
pouring into the e-discovery market

So much for the technology stock collapse. 
Some of the tech companies worst hit in last autumn's stock market have bounced back to new highs in recent weeks - and what is most surprising is that bounce has shone a spotlight on a group of business software applications that are becoming increasingly familiar to the world's white-collar workers.

It is the old axiom I heard time and again when I worked on Wall Street: "Investors value, first and foremost, growth" (I spent three and one-half years as a currency trader and then mergers and acquisition analyst on The Street between university and law school. Long story. Amazing what a minor degree in physics can do. Requires another blog post).

In particular, Wall Street is betting on apps and technology that are becoming essential tools in a worker's life. Jackson Donahoe, a long-time friend and the managing partner of a venture capital fund in which I am a limited partner, put it this way:

So you look around and see the tech that is an essential tool in every worker's life. Core, fundamental platforms. Just like consumer tech companies and their platforms that have the same fundamental impact at work that the Faangs [Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google] have in their homes.

Note: the numbers are a bit crazy. Valuations are back up to the stratosphere. These business app/tech companies which operate in a market we all know ... software-as-a-service, or SaaS ... usually trade at six or seven times revenue, but that has been stretched to a multiple of 10 or more in the current run-up.

Jackson continued:

It is a big reason we look at and invest in your village, e-discovery/litigation support.

The exact point brought up by Robert Childress, founder of The Masters Conference. Here is a short clip from a much longer interview we did at Legaltech 2019. I will it post next week:
LegalTech 2019: Robert Childress on all that $$$ flowing into e-discovery
LegalTech 2019: Robert Childress, 
founder of The Masters Conference, 
on all that $$$ flowing into e-discovery

In the big SaaS world the charge has been led by Salesforce, which makes products used mainly for sales and marketing, and Workday, in human resources. They have joined two of the biggest traditional software companies, which have turned significant parts of their business into SaaS platforms in their own right.

But Jackson noted this:

We look at Adobe, which has expanded from its roots serving graphic artists into marketing, and especially Microsoft. Office 365, really, which has become a staple cloud service for many white-collar workers. It is growing in leaps and bounds. And although there are many fine, smaller companies in the e-discovery cloud sphere like Logikcull and Relativity, what gets us about 365 is their move to "in-place" analytics for e-discovery. And let's face it. E-discovery analytics is becoming a staple platform, too. The only other in-place analytics tech we have seen is Google's mobile federated machine learning: you do  the analytics  right on the mobile device. The data never leaves your phone or tablet.

Nick Robinson of Microsoft talked to us about this move by 365: the new shift to keeping your information and content in the systems where it is utilised, and performing your analytics there and not exporting it. Here is a short clip from a longer interview I will publish next week:
LegalTech 2019: a chat with Nick Robinson of Microsoft
LegalTech 2019: a chat with Nick Robinson of Microsoft

Jackson noted Google's Federated Learning. We saw a demo last week at the Mobile World Congress. This really needs a detailed post but in brief (and a  very simplified brief at that) :
  • distributed machine learning is an approach which enables model training on a large corpus of decentralized data
  • Google has built a scalable production system for Federated Learning in the domain of mobile devices, based on TensorFlow.
  • You can analyse data and that data never leaves your phone or tablet
  • It is one instance of a new approach being developed by several companies of "bringing the code to the data, instead of the data to the code". Only Microsoft does that in the e-discovery sphere right now, but they are about to be joined by another e-discovery provider.
  • One of the houghts behind all of this is it addresses the fundamental problems of privacy, ownership, and locality of data.

In the bewildering array of technology vying for a worker's attention, from services designed to handle specific tasks to those which act as broader collaboration and communication tools, as e-discovery becomes such a required platform it is no surprise the money is pouring in. 
As I noted before, I sent two video teams to Legaltech this year and we shot 62 video interviews. But more importantly I sent an additional reporter and her task was simply to find, meet and chat with certain entity attendees: venture capital, private equity, early-stage and finance houses. She logged in 102 business cards and over 75% said they were "looking for new opportunities". The others were there on behalf of client vendors. I do not know if that is a record for investor attendees. It was the first time we did that.
I will close with [xxx] who is a long-time friend who preferred not to go on record:

Look, it is pretty simple. And I know your venture capital fund, and I know you and I speak to the same people. It is all about essential new platforms for workers, and e-discovery is becoming one of those platforms. Beginning life as a software tool that automated search requests to now full blown information technology department units ... man, we are talking platforms that handle standard workflows.

Granted. The names we are all familiar with ... Brainspace, Catalyst (already gone), Logikcull, Relativity, etc., etc. ... will all disappear. They will get eaten the way Microsoft bought Equivio.

But this flowering of experimentation in narrowly designed tools --- which is what e-discovery tech was --- has now brought the industry to the start of consolidation. It follows a well-worn path. So our job is to find the "best of breed" and consolidate them into general-purpose platforms.
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Now, time for a    few other selections from Jonathan's  BONG!    from this past week ... 

What if creating innovative breakthroughs and developing a much-heralded innovation culture isn't about creating tiger teams or unleashing unbridled, free-wheeling creativity into every corner of the organization? What if driving innovation in the digital era came down to three simple actions?

The three surprising secrets that drive innovation in the digital era (CIO) 


Most of what's been written on collaboration in the legal industry simply deploys the word as if we all agree on its meaning, and in any event, usually addresses internal collaboration within law firms, or supply-side collaboration between firms and other service providers. Examples of true collaboration between a legal buyer and legal seller are rare, and there's a reason for that.  

The reality of collaboration (Law21) 


Lawyers have a penchant for defining terms. Why then is there no commonly accepted meaning for "legal services?" 

"Legal services" are whatever buyers need to solve business challenges (Legal Business World) 


Disclosing information requested under the Freedom of Information Act or state public records laws is already a tricky business. The use of improper redaction techniques now makes it incredibly risky, too. 

Take the risk out of redaction (Zylab) 


Microsoft Office 365 has been moving ever closer to helping corporates own the eDiscovery process but what the debut at Legaltech19 of the new Microsoft 365 compliance center showed us, is that the software giant is now a serious threat to external early case assessment providers.

"Own the eDiscovery process": Microsoft unveils compliance center (Legal IT Insider) 

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The following is a selection of upcoming and potentially interesting live webinars/webcasts that Jonathan collects. I f you have an upcoming event and want to promote it,  email Jonathan at

4 March
Drafting, editing and using the EDRM TAR Guidelines (EDRM)

5 March
Data protection and privacy in the post-GDPR world (EY) 

13 March
Three US judges discuss the 2019 federal judges survey results (ACEDS / Exterro) 
12 April
Think-tank: State of the legal industry (High Performance Counsel)

25 April 
Optimise your eDiscovery spend with business intelligence (ACEDS / Ricoh) 

7 May 
Evidence and disclosure in 2019 (LexisNexis) 

2 July
Cybercrime in 2019 (LexisNexis) 

The Project Counsel Group

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