Frequently Asked Questions
Merlin Digital Magic, Inc. is a Delaware corporation founded in early 2019. Merlin’s headquarters and leadership team are in Denver Colorado. We also maintain a growing development team in Coimbatore India.
Our team consists primarily of senior developers, QC professionals and operations support, Most of us have been working together for more than a decade. We have added and are adding additional senior design, development and QA professionals, recruiting them from other major technology companies
Merlin was founded by John Tredennick, one of the recognized pioneers in e-discovery and legal process workflow. John spent the first twenty years of his career as a trial lawyer and partner of a national law firm. In 2000, he spun out an award-winning technology division of the law firm, forming Catalyst Repository Systems, Inc. In 2005, he and a group of investors purchased Catalyst from the law firm.
John grew Catalyst into an international company with five data centers and more than 160 employees around the world. The company served many of the largest organizations and law firms in the world.
In January of 2019, Catalyst was sold to a large, international public technology company. Not ready to retire, Tredennick formed Merlin to continue making digital magic.
John Tredennick founded Catalyst in 2000 as a spin out from a large national law firm. In 2005, he and a group of investors purchased Catalyst from the law firm.
John grew Catalyst into an international company with five data centers and about over 160 employees around the world. The company served many of the largest companies and law firms in the world.
In the late 2000s, Catalyst became known as the a leader in multi-language discovery, with a particular focus on the challenging Asian languages. That lead to Catalyst placing offices in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. We also set up two data centers in Tokyo.
In 2013, Catalyst released the first commercially-available continuous active learning (AI) algorithms for Technology Assisted Review. These machine learning algorithms proved adept at finding relevant documents, often reducing discovery review by more than 90%. Our founder wrote the book on Technology Assisted Review called TAR for Smart People, now in its third edition.
Catalyst also built compliance workflow systems for companies like AIG, Wyndham, Fairfield and Sears. You can read more about them in Case Studies.
In January of 2019, Catalyst was sold to a large, international public technology company where it continues in business..
We believe software is the magic of the 21st century. Digital magic happens when we develop and deploy software to help manage compliance, review millions of documents and automate legal process workflow. For those of us used to manual, paper-based processes, the things we can do with a computer seem like magic.
We know that software isn’t really magic. Software runs on bits and bytes. Hardware runs on gates and connectors. The cloud is just software and hardware running over a worldwide network. But it certainly feels like magic when we use it.
And there is no reason we can’t have fun with the concept.
Merlin builds world-class software for investigations, ediscovery and regulatory compliance. We combine the power of AI and the flexibility of cloud computing with our own “digital magic” to make search smarter, review easier, and compliance more affordable. We’ve been building search, review and compliance software for more than twenty years.
We specialize in secure cloud computing, incorporating the latest search, workflow and machine learning technology into our code. It allows us to deliver what clients value most—speed, simplicity, scalability and cost savings—and to deliver it securely from anywhere in the world.
We bring over two decades of experience designing, building and supporting software that automates work processes, manages document review and facilitates regulatory compliance efforts. We have built systems for many of the largest companies and law firms in the world.
We have a strong bias in favor of using open source software for our projects. Why? Because they work better than commercial software in many cases. More reliable, better features, more secure and supported by thousands of developers rather than a few.
At our prior company, we used a combination of open source and proprietary software. Over the years, we found that the best open source software matched up to its proprietary counterparts in both features and reliability.
Linux, for example, was our operating system of choice. We found the software to be lightweight, fast and rock solid reliable for massive operations. It certainly stood up well compared to Windows server or other proprietary options. That is likely why most of the Internet runs on Linux and Apache servers. Most search engines are based on Lucene, or its derivatives, ElasticSearch and Solr. MySQL stands up well to Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle, at least for our purposes.
We write software using open source languages like .Net Core, Vue.js and Bootstrap. We often build our software to run in containers, using Docker, an open source project. We manage our platform using Kubernetes, which Google created and licensed as open source. We build our core products on MySQL and ElasticSearch but also use commercial products to supplement our offerings.
We take advantage of the many tools and services offered by AWS, which supports a number of great open source tools as well as providing their own. We use AWS’s ElasticSearch and MySql services as an alternative to managing the servers ourselves. We use Fargate, for example, for serverless computing and Lambda for other serverless tasks. We use Cloudwatch to monitor access to our systems and SimpleDB for audit tables. AWS offers hundreds of services that can be accessed in nearly every part of the world.
In our view, open source has become, or is fast becoming, the dominant way software is created. The power of collaboration that led to Wikipedia is also driving software development today. You can read a lot more about these topics on the Merlin Foundation website.
Merlin IS is a revolutionary, AI-powered search and review platform to help people find the information they need—quickly and easily—without having to master complex search syntax.
Merlin Comply is a customizable, automated workflow platform to help clients meet regulatory obligations—efficiently and effectively—while eliminating costly mistakes.
Our platform helps facilitate legal automation for compliance and operations. Although we design custom software for many of our clients, we are doing so in a way that makes individual components reusable. That way newer clients benefit from our reusable components.
Our CEO joined with others to form the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation in the fall of 2019. He did so because he was convinced that open source software and secure cloud computing could help improve access to justice and make compliance efforts and legal operations more efficient and effective. At present, Merlin Digital Magic funds costs for the Merlin Foundation. That may change as the Foundation becomes more well established.
Otherwise, the two organizations operate independently. The Foundation’s goal is to support legal open source software projects of any type and by any individual or organization. Merlin Digital’s goal is to create and develop world-class software often using open source software under the hood. Our hope is to offer components of our software under an open source license as well.
You can learn more about the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation here.