CEDS Spotlight: Johanny Olmedo
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
National Account Director at BIA
Please share your thoughts on the certification training, how long it took you to prepare for the exam, thoughts on the exam and how it has benefitted you- both the knowledge gained from training and certification and being part of the ACEDS community as a whole. (Whole experience)
I found the certification training to be extremely helpful. Three weeks prior to the exam I began the CEDS training course that was provided in the course catalogue. I watched the video presentation and focused on areas of the exam that I had the least hands-on experience, like certain aspects of collection and data processing. I also reviewed the PowerPoint presentation several times prior to the exam.
While the CEDS exam is challenging, I found that my day-to-day eDiscovery experience helped me pass the test. ACEDS’s materials did a very good job presenting real-world scenarios that eDiscovery professionals and attorneys face on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve already used some of the information I learned from preparing for the exam and from an ACEDS webinar to advise one of my clients.
Why did you decide to get certified? Do you have any other certifications?
I chose to get certified because ACEDS has set the bar for eDiscovery education. Prior to taking the exam, I spoke with several of my peers and each recommended I become certified because ACEDS is a fantastic resource for education, always highlighting best practices and providing insight into new technology.
Give us a background of your eDiscovery experience
I have worked in eDiscovery since 2002 in various roles in-house and at several managed review and eDiscovery providers. I began my career in 2002 when I joined Merrill Lynch's legal department. While at Merrill Lynch, I held a variety of positions, most notably as director and co-head of the Discovery and Regulatory Response Team (DARRT). DARRT was one of the first centralized discovery teams in the financial services industry, and I was one of the team members responsible for its creation in 2005.
As director and co-head, I managed the group responsible for answering all preliminary inquiries from federal and state regulators relating to the firm’s private client retail division and Merrill Lynch insurance group, as well as eDiscovery for all significant arbitrations and lawsuits.
As part of my role in DARRT, I was responsible for implementing and directing the firm’s e-discovery strategy, which saved the company over $10 million annually. This included managing discovery vendors, implementing the legal hold and document retention program and participating in the steering committee for record retention and destruction.
In addition to managing several different departments within DARRT, I continued to work substantively on many of the most significant and well-known class actions, arbitrations and regulatory investigations with a focus on discovery and cost reduction.
In 2009, I left the company and joined one of the largest staffing agencies as director of discovery management to launch its managed review division. As part of my role, I designed the entire managed review offering, hired and trained the project management team and consulted on and managed hundreds of document reviews across the country.
In 2014, I joined one of the fastest growing legal staffing agencies and launched the managed review division. Similar to my previous role, I designed the entire managed review offering, hired and trained the project management team and supervised hundreds of document reviews while also serving in a business development role.
Most recently, I joined BIA as National Account Director. My work now encompasses the complete eDiscovery spectrum, from legal holds to data collection to review to production. I work closely with my clients to provide eDiscovery and managed review services with the goal of implementing efficient eDiscovery processes, helping mitigate risk and reducing corporations’ legal spend.
Advice to others looking to take the exam
For those considering CEDS certification, I would recommend studying the PowerPoint and watching the videos ACEDS has provided. I would also recommend taking your time to read each scenario and question carefully before selecting an answer. Take into account the different sections and study areas that you don’t work on daily. Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before and have something to eat prior to the exam.