More about Merlin
"A Sorcerer's Start"
Pioneering Legal Technology
The Merlin team got its start at a large national law firm where John Tredennick, our founder and CEO, was a longtime trial lawyer, technologist and law partner. In 1995, the firm asked him to become Chief Technology Officer, the first at any major law firm. One of his first steps was to hire a sophisticated team of software developers to build web-based workflow systems that connected the firm’s ten offices across the country.
Litigation Systems: In 1998, the team started offering workflow systems to help legal departments and law firms across the country collaborate in complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation. One major engagement involved developing a litigation platform for the defense of trillion-dollar qui tam claims against the oil and gas industry. The matter continued for more than a decade, with about 350 clients and law firms coordinating digitally on the defense. The team supported other cases, including a large offshore wage and hours claim against about a dozen major retailers.
Review Workflow: The team soon began building systems to automate other types of legal review workflow. One helped Sears manage advertising review with legal counsel. Another, helped Albertson’s manage labor cases. Later, they built a system that helped Wyndham, one of the largest timeshare companies in the world, manage timeshare marketing review. And several, that are still running today, helped AIG support its reinsurers and manage claims administration across the company.
Awards: These efforts led Microsoft and Adobe to film videos about the team’s projects, cementing their burgeoning reputation as legal innovators. After the team won several technology awards that went beyond the legal realm, Adobe’s CEO in 1999 nominated them to be enshrined in the Smithsonian Institute as part of the Computerworld-Smithsonian Innovation Archives. The firm joined such technology luminaries as Netscape, eBay and Fannie Mae (first Internet-originated mortgage).
By 2000, so many people were hiring Tredennick’s team for legal technology services the firm decided it was time to spin out the business. Originally called CaseShare, the company changed its name to Catalyst in 2005, when Tredennick bought the business from his law firm. Over the next decade and a half, the company grew from a handful to more than 180 employees spread across the world. Data under management grew from a few hundred gigabytes to petabytes stored in five data centers in the U.S. and Asia. Its clients included many of the largest companies and law firms in the world.
In January 2019, Catalyst was purchased by OpenText, a multi-billion dollar global technology company. Not ready to retire, Tredennick founded Merlin Digital Magic, Inc. where he is joined by an increasing number of his old team mates. Their goal is to build software using the latest in open source and cloud technology to help clients automate review workflow and streamline compliance efforts.
In the days of Camelot, Merlin conjured magic for King Arthur
and his knights of the roundtable. While the magic seemed real,
it was just
a combination of chemistry and knowhow.
Software is the magic of the 21st century.
When we talk with Siri or use the Internet to get directions,
it feels like magic. Deep down, we know it isn’t magic,
just well-written code. But it might as well be.
That’s Digital Magic.
Download copies of CEO and Founder John Tredennick’s recent books:
TAR for Smart People: How Technology Assisted Review Works and Why it Matters, (3rd ed.) October 2018.
A User’s Guide to TAR (for Smart People), April 2017.
The Legal Hold Handbook for Smart People, January 2018.
The IT Handbook: Legal Hold and Collection, September 2018.
And don’t miss the next edition of TAR Talk with John Tredennick and Thomas Gricks.