John Tredennick, the Denver lawyer who founded the e-discovery company Catalyst Repository Systems in 2000 and sold it earlier this year to OpenText for $75 million, has now announced the launch of the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that seeks to improve access to justice and make legal and regulatory compliance more efficient through the use of open source software.

“Open source has revolutionized the way software is developed worldwide,” Tredennick, who will serve as executive director, said in a statement announcing the foundation. “It represents a new and powerful alternative to proprietary software and has great applications in legal.”

Disclosure: I serve on the Merlin advisory board and formerly worked as a consultant with Catalyst when Tredennick was CEO.

John Tredennick

The Merlin Foundation plans to achieve its mission, Tredennick says, by:

  • Fostering worldwide education about the advantages of open source software
    and secure cloud computing.
  • Providing a central platform for legal professionals to collaborate on open
    source development projects.
  • Distributing open source software under free licenses to individuals and organizations around the world for legal and regulatory compliance processes.

The foundation will develop a central repository of active legal open source projects and provide a home for legal technologists to collaborate on software that will benefit both the legal profession and those who need legal services at an affordable price, Tredennick says.

Lew Visscher, former chief financial officer at Catalyst, will be CFO for the foundation. In addition, Merlin has begun to form an advisory board composed of a number of well-known legal technology professionals.

“We hope to recruit in Asia Pacific and Australasia as well in the next few months,” Tredennick says. “We are actively looking for great people to join our cause.”

Separately, Tredennick recently launched a company, Merlin Digital Magic, devoted to developing secure, cloud-based software to help corporations and law firms improve legal processes and automate compliance efforts.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.