More about Merlin
"A Sorcerer's Start"
Pioneering Legal Technology
The Merlin team originated at a large national law firm where John Tredennick, founder and CEO of Merlin, was a longtime trial lawyer, technologist and law partner. In 1995, the firm designated Tredennick as 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 to connect the firm’s ten offices across the country.
Litigation Systems: In 1998, the team initially offered 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 approximately 350 clients and law firms coordinating digitally on the defense. The team supported other cases, including a large offshore wage and hours claim against nearly a dozen major retailers.
Review Workflow: The team soon began building systems to automate other types of legal review workflow. The team developed systems that helped Sears manage advertising review with legal counsel, helped Albertson’s manage labor cases, and helped AIG support its reinsurers and manage claims administration across the company. The team later developed a system that helped Wyndham, one of the largest timeshare companies in the world, manage timeshare marketing review. Several of these systems are still running today.
Awards: The team’s efforts and projects were documented by Microsoft and Adobe, which cemented their burgeoning reputation as legal innovators. After the team was awarded several technology awards beyond the legal realm, in 1999, Adobe’s CEO nominated them to be enshrined in the Smithsonian Institute as part of the Computerworld-Smithsonian Innovation Archives where they joined such technology luminaries as Netscape, eBay and Fannie Mae (the first Internet-originated mortgage company).
By 2000, so many people were hiring Tredennick’s team for legal technology services the firm decided to expand the business originally known as CaseShare. In 2005, the company changed its name to Catalyst, when Tredennick purchased the business from his law firm. Over the next decade and a half, Catalyst grew from a handful of employees to more than 180 employees 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. Catalyst’s clients included many of the largest companies and law firms in the world.
In January 2019, Catalyst was purchased by OpenText, a multibillion-dollar global technology company. Not ready to retire, Tredennick founded Merlin Digital Magic, Inc., where he was joined by an increasing number of his old team members. Their goal was to build software using the latest in open source and cloud technology to help clients automate review workflows 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.