Microsoft Office 365 eDiscovery Challenge 2020

January 28, 2020

In the fall of 2018, eDiscovery consultants Don Swanson, president of Five Star Legal and  Tom O’Connor, director of the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center, ran the Microsoft Office eDiscovery Challenge.  The MO Challenge, as it came to be known, was a follow up to the  2009 EDna Challenge from eDiscovery expert Craig D. Ball and the subsequent 2011 Ernie Challenge from Tom O’Connor, two  earlier projects which asked eDiscovery lawyers and forensic technologists how they would handle a hypothetical small eDiscovery project on a limited budget.

The MO Challenge of 2018 was a similar hypothetical with a twist: the matter in question still had a budget restriction but all relevant data resided within Microsoft Office 365.  The challenge asked if Office 365’s eDiscovery capabilities are realistic and can help litigants achieve the goals outlined in EDna and Ernie but within the Office 365 framework?  Further, can big case eDiscovery processes be handled within Office 365 on a small budget?

Survey questions were posted on a web site in Survey Monkey and the results were tabulated by Don and Tom, then released in a report which Bob Ambrogi posted on his LawSites blog. You can read that report here

Now Don and Tom are repeating the survey in an attempt to see if we have progressed at all in our use of the Office 365 eDiscovery tool set. The survey can be accessed on line here  or if you are attending LegalTech in New York City next week, they will have a short hard copy “ballot” you can fill out and give back to them to be included in the results. 

And to refresh your memory, here are the parameters of the MO Challenge again:


A multi-national company is facing commercial litigation from a former supplier. The company believes the lawsuit is frivolous yet realizes there is at least $400,000 of potential financial exposure and the likelihood of significant legal expenditures. The business employs 750 and last year the company moved all email and SharePoint content to Microsoft Office 365.

The company general counsel has identified 10 employees who are likely to have data relevant to the lawsuit. Although she has retained outside counsel to handle the litigation, the general counsel is determined to control costs by dealing with initial eDiscovery aspects internally. To that end, she is familiarizing herself with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model™ and is meeting with the company information technology team to explore Office 365’s eDiscovery features.


The general counsel asks: Within the company’s Office 365 licenses, which processes can be performed in-house to help control costs while meeting legal obligations?

The general counsel identifies several goals:

1.    Avoid purchase of additional software or hardware.

2.    Preserve potentially relevant email, including metadata.

3.    Analyze content using advanced search including keyword, date range and Boolean.

4.    Establish a defensible and cost-efficient workflow.

We have built a survey which asks about eDiscovery capabilities in Office 365, including:

·         Information Governance.

·         Identification.

·         Preservation.

·         Collection.

·         Processing.

·         Review.

·         Analysis.

·         Production.

·         Presentation.

Once again, the survey can be found at  or by seeing Don or Tom in person next week at LegalTech in New York City.  

Are Cell Phones Taking Over eDiscovery?

November 15, 2019

The good folks at the Spoliate This! podcast have just released an interview with me where we discuss the prevalence of mobile devices in litigation proceedings, whether you need to collect them, pitfalls of mobile forensic collections, and the type of information they contain.

It’s a great conversation and you can listen to it at Apple users can access it at

GumboCast: Tom and Rachi Talk Legal Tech Conferences

September 25, 2019

Tom O and Rachi Messing doing a test drive of their podcast platform with a discussion of legal tech conferences: the good, the bad and the ultimate tech conference as envisioned by them (AKA, TomandRachipalooza)

Shawn Huston of LSP Partners Gives His View on Attending ILTACON19

September 16, 2019

Shawn Huston is the Managing Partner at LSP Data Solutions LLC in Philadelphia, an EDT channel partner. LSP has been providing litigation support services to solo attorneys, boutique firms and the AM LAW 100 for over 20 years. Shawn spent some time with Tom O’Connor at the recent ILTACON19 conference and in this interview gives some feedback on his experience.

Last Reminder for the The O’Connors Tag Team CLE at New Orleans Bar Tomorrow

August 8, 2019

Like The Rolling Stones, we are approaching the last stop on our summer tour.

Friday, August 9, 2019  New Orleans Bar Association Free on Fridays Tech CLE Series

“Authentication of Social Media Evidence: A New Twist on the Old Rules”

Social Media has become a hotbed of potential evidence in many cases nationwide over the past several years. The more prevalent cases involving social media as evidence are in the field of person injury, family law, criminal law, labor law and Workman’s Compensation. How can the researcher best access this invaluable data? How to get the information into evidence? Must one preserve the social media sites where the data resides? What about private data versus public data? How do the Federal Rules of Evidence apply to social media when introducing it as evidence? Don’t miss this session on one of the most exciting areas of the law and come away with good, practical knowledge on how you can capitalize on this potential evidence for your next case.

Tom O’Connor, Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center
Gayle O’Connor, GMO Marketing

Date: Friday, August 9, 2019
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: NOBA Conference Room, 650 Poydras Street, Suite 1505

To preregister please email Briana Nelms or call NOBA at (504) 525-7453.

Cost:  FREE for NOBA Members ; $35 for Non-Members

And yes, all the members of the Rolling Stones are older than both Gayle AND Tom!!

Rachi Messing & Tom O’Connor Wrap Up Their Series On O365 EDiscovery Features

August 6, 2019

This is the last video in our series and we finish up by summarizing the eDiscovery tools in O365 and how they align to the EDRM . We also answer a few questions that have been posed along the way, look at features that have been released since we started this project and preview some of the upcoming items on the product road map.

Rachi and would both like to thank everyone for their comments along the way and a special note of thanks to Judge Xavier Rodriguez for getting us started on this project by asking for some material he could present to the eDiscovery class he teaches at St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio.  Please continue to send any more questions or comments to us while we plan our next project, coming to a browser near you this fall!


EDRM Co-Founder George Socha Talks About Upcoming Conference

March 24, 2013

Ediscovery RedZone regulars Browning Marean and Tom O’Connor speak with EDRM co-founder George Socha about the upcoming conference “EDiscovery Skills for Medium and Small Cases” at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. George describes how the groundbreaking 1 ½ day conference, co-sponsored by EDRM and the International Center for Automated Research (ICAIR) at Levin College of Law, will be both live and streamed on line, offered at an extremely low price and feature practical “how to” demos of ED software.

Browning and Tom will join Atty Bruce Olson live via video feed from the ABA TechShow to do the opening day presentation while DWR Ediscovery expert Barry O’Melia will be speaking on site at the conference about search technology while. Digital WarRoom is also contributing free licenses to it’s award winning software to all on site attendees.

Get all the information on how to register by listening to George Socha in the EDiscovery Red Zone at

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