Ken Mohr and Larry Depew
When you hear about recent organizations who have achieved ASCLD/LAB accreditation, you may not
expect to hear a Fortune 500 company named: Walmart Stores, Inc. Ken Mohr, a principal at Crime Lab
Design, heard about the project Larry Depew and his company, Digital Forensics.US, LLC was doing with
Walmart’s E-Discovery and Forensic Services Laboratory and wanted to learn more about the trend for
convergence of E-Discovery and digital forensic services.
Larry and his team guided Walmart’s Lab through the following planned phased activities on the road to
Phase 1: Conduct an off-site analysis of their quality management
system manuals (quality, technical, operations) against ISO/IEC
27015:2005 and the ASCLD/LAB 2011 Supplemental Standards.
Phase 2: Conduct an on-site analysis of operations against the
Phase 3: Develop a roadmap and project schedule that incrementally establishes operational rigor that conforms to the International and
Phase 4: Draft policies and procedures into quality, technical, and
operations manuals that describe how the laboratory will meet the
Phase 5: Define the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for examiners to establish competency through an effective training program and
documented to a training manual.
Phase 6: Mentor the implementation of the system in conformance with the standards.
Phase 7: Measure performance through such activities and internal audits and management reviews and
make adjustments through formalized management review processes in an effort to improve the laboratory’s level of performance in a Plan-Do-Check-Act continuous cycle.
These phases continued over two years. Depew had three certified technical examiners all with ASCLD/
LAB assessor experience working on this project. The lab is staffed with a Lab Director, a Quality Manager, an E-Discovery Manager, 20 E-Discovery Specialists (examiners), and 19 Forensic Examiners. Lab
services include data collection, preservation, analysis, and reporting for internal investigations, such as
employee misuse or investigation of false injury claims (e.g., staged “slip and fall”). They also collect and
analyze video for law enforcement when a criminal event occurs in an area surveyed by Walmart cameras both in the stores and the parking lots. So, E-Discovery is the civil litigation side of data collection,
preservation, analysis, and reporting. The E-Discovery unit uses the same tools/software/methods that law
enforcement examiners use, but in response to ongoing or anticipated civil litigation.
How did a private company such as Walmart decide to seek accreditation?
I received a telephone call from the Lab’s Quality Manager Ken Gill. He explained their desire to earn
ASCLD/LAB accreditation having recently visited an FBI-sponsored Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL). Their goal was to establish operational rigor that an external accreditation assessment would
help establish, thus increasing confidence in the work product delivered to their customers.
What trends in the Digital Forensic industry is Walmart following or improving?
In my opinion, Walmart is leading rather than following the private sector industry in two ways. First, they
recognized that the baseline technical processes and requirements for quality management are essentially
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Leads with