Earlier this week, I reported that Mary Mack, the executive director of the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the leading membership and certification organization for e-discovery professionals, and Kaylee Walstad, who Mack brought on in 2018 as vice president of client engagement, will leave the organization at the end of October.
Today, I spoke with Stephen Fredette, chairman and CEO of The BARBRI Group, which acquired ACEDS in 2015, to get his perspective on this news.
As I noted in my earlier post, Fredette first notified ACEDS members of the departures in an email last Friday, after which Mack sent out her own email. All agree that Mack and Walstad are leaving of their own volition.
In his email, Fredette praised Mack for her leadership, writing:
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mary for several years now and have been continually impressed with her leadership and advocacy in the legal technology field. As you know, she is an eDiscovery pioneer who has worked tirelessly to transform ACEDS into the global community of committed, like-minded eDiscovery professionals it is today.”
In our conversation today, Fredette reiterated that point, as well as his commitment to ACEDS. “I have the greatest respect for Mary and Kaylee and thank them very much for their leadership,” he said. “My intention is to build on what they’ve done and make the organization even stronger and better.”
He also thanked them for delaying their departures until Oct. 31, which he said gives him a long runway to find replacements and make a smooth transition with minimal disruption to ACEDS members.
Fredette said that he acquired ACEDS as part of a broader plan to make BARBRI a full-spectrum provider of legal education, not just for law students but also for new lawyers, established lawyers, paralegals, litigation-support professionals, and others.
Recently, for example, BARBRI acquired The Center for Legal Studies, a provider of online programs and training courses for paralegals, and is providing certification for those who go through its paralegal training programs. In 2017, it acquired iLawVentures, a provider of J.D. and post-J.D. programs.
For BARBRI, ACEDS plays an important role in that broader vision, Fredette said. For that reason, he is committed to continuing to build and expand the organization.