Catalyst Insight Review By Brett Burney

Recently, Brett Burney, e-discovery consultant and founder of Burney Consultants, reviewed Catalyst’s Insight Discovery search and review capabilities, which are part of Catalyst’s full EDRM platform comprising of Insight Legal Hold and Collect, Search & Review, Predict and Business Intelligence. We invited Brett to share his insights as a guest author.

Catalyst Insight – Lightning Quick, Responsive Review Platform for Instantly Searching Millions of Digital Files with a Built-In Continuous Active Learning Predictive Analytics Engine

It seems that Catalyst has always been on a mission to push the boundaries of applying advanced text analytics to enormous amounts of electronically stored information for eDiscovery and investigatory purposes… and it’s exciting to watch. The world isn’t going to stop creating digital information, we just keep generating more and hoarding it all. If you’re a litigator, you need capable tools that can parse through mountains of digital information to find the key components you need to support your arguments.

How can you do this? If you’re bullheaded enough to think you can do get through it by applying simple searches and filters, you’re in for an unfortunate surprise. There are only a handful of platforms on the market today that can handle tens of millions of documents and still be immediately responsive.

One of these platforms is Catalyst Insight which is the brainchild of former litigator John Tredennick who has become one of the foremost proponents of utilizing using text analytics to effectively scour through massive amounts of electronic data to find the documents you need for a matter. Tredennick and Catalyst have been the primary advocates of an advanced predictive coding approach called continuous active learning (CAL) which means the system is constantly analyzing every decision that someone makes on a document (e.g. relevant, privileged, junk, etc.) and then immediately applies those decisions across the rest of the document collection. Catalyst Insight then presents you with a focused collection of files that the system has deemed to be similar, which would logically mean they could also be relevant and you might want to mark them as such.

Don’t dismiss the idea of predictive coding or CAL—while this may not necessarily be a technology that YOU may use in a matter, there’s a good chance that your opposing party may want to use it and you need to be aware and informed.

Search & Review

Once your data is loaded into Catalyst Insight, most users head straight for the Search section, which is where you’ll immediately see the power and speed of the platform.

You can start typing your terms into the Free-Form Search box and watch the “dynamic find count” in the bottom right corner automatically update as you type showing you the number of files responsive to your search request. There’s no need to click a search button – you can watch your collection of 20 million documents get reduced down to 200 or 10 documents in less than a second as you start typing your search. You can add various search parameters all the while keeping an eye on your find count.

Catalyst doesn’t recommend using blind wildcards in your searches. Rather, use the Tracked Search option where you can type in a search term and immediately see the various terms that match your term, and that are similar to your term (misspellings, etc.). You can then select the terms that you really prefer to search, rather than performing a blind search using a wildcard.

The Power Search in Catalyst Insight allows you to perform hundreds of searches with one click – there’s no need to type a bunch of search queries connected with “or” parameters. You’ll receive a report once the searches are run against your data which can be printed for when you sit down to discuss keyword search terms with opposing counsel.

There’s also a Faceted Search—a facet is simply a data field that is associated with a special index to keep track of all the unique pieces and parts of your data. For example, a facet can be the sender or recipient of an email message, or the domain of the email address, or the subject line, etc. You can search for specific keywords in email subject lines, then add additional facets for a specific sender and a specific recipient. Facets can be dragged and added easily, and the entire time you can see how adding different facets affects your dynamic find count.

Lastly, Catalyst Insight allows you to create Dynamic Folders which can be used for a variety of purposes. First, you could create a search for a particular keyword and set up a Dynamic Folder to hold all of the results. As you ingest more data into the platform, any additional documents that match your search will be added to that Dynamic Folder. Second, a Dynamic Folder could be set up for a review workflow—once a reviewer applies a tag to a document inside a Dynamic Folder it can be removed and another similar document be added until the reviewer looks at their entire assignment.

Speaking of reviewers, Insight offers a helpful Visual Workflow Module that provides case administrators with a big picture on the progress of the project. Typically in large matters, there are dozens of individuals that are reviewing batches and groups of documents. Now the case manager can track the progress with an intuitive visual interface.

Viewing Documents

Catalyst Insight offers an extremely functional near-native document viewer where users can highlight and redact text directly in the platform without first having to convert a document to an image. In fact, Insight can automatically redact text/character patterns such as phone numbers, Social Security numbers, or any other personally identifiable information (PII) so you’re not having to manually search and redact each document.

The document viewing pane is fully customizable so that you can see the coding panel on whatever side of the screen suits you best, along with all of the related/duplicate documents and email conversation threads.

When you’re looking at emails, Catalyst Insight offers a few additional tools to visually track how your custodians were communicating with each other. For example, the Communication Tracker allows you to follow an email message from the original sender through to the ultimate individual recipients. You can create a Communication Report at any time. And the Communication Explorer provides a high-level visual representation of how all of the players were communicating with each other.


Productions can be created from a saved search, a filter made on specific facets, or a dynamic folder created just for this purpose. You are certainly free to walk through the production wizard and create a production set, although Catalyst and their service provider partners are always available to help in this aspect.

In many cases, it may be more prudent to accept the help because when you’re dealing with documents of this size and scope, it’s a huge benefit to have someone that’s experienced in creating production sets since things will change minute-to-minute before the production is finalized.


If you are faced with an extremely large document collection that must be reviewed and analyzed, one of your first options should be Catalyst Insight. In addition to their CAL predictive analytics engine, Catalyst is also well regarded for their ability to ingest and interpret documents of multiple languages.

Who Is Catalyst?

The Catalyst team has been preoccupied with designing secure, web-based document repositories since 2000, and are truly pioneers in the predictive coding technology circles known for their CAL approach. Catalyst is also one of the foremost platforms for processing and reviewing multi-language document collections.

Why You Should Consider Catalyst Insight…

  • Blazingly fast search engine that can evaluate millions of files and documents in milliseconds—there is no search index latency.
  • A variety of search options are available for digging deep into your data collections, including Free-Form Search, Tracked Search, Power Search, Faceted Search, and more.
  • A best-of-breed product for reviewing multi-language language documents. Handles over 280 languages and allows you to display the UI in multiple languages as well.
  • Utilizes Insight Predict to apply the predictive coding approach of CAL.

Try Out Catalyst For Yourself!

Contact Catalyst today for more information!


About Brett Burney

Brett Burney is Principal of Burney Consultants LLC where he focuses his time on bridging the chasm between the legal the technology frontiers of electronic discovery. Prior to establishing Burney Consultants, Brett spent five years at the law firm of Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked extensively with litigation teams in building electronic document databases, counseling on electronic discovery issues, and managing the technical responsibilities of presenting electronic evidence at trial. Brett is a featured speaker at numerous legal technology conferences and is a well-respected author on legal technology topics.