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Technology: Predictive coding still requires human expertise

It is unwise to rely solely on technology that is still so new

Technology has fundamentally changed litigation discovery obligations, processes and, most importantly, expenses. The days of clients sending file folders or bankers boxes of paper files to lawyers to review and produce are long gone. And, correspondingly, the expense of electronic discovery is the most rapidly increasing item in the average litigation budget.

In fact, a 2010 Duke University survey of major companies revealed that from 2006 to 2008 the average discovery costs ranged from $621,000 to just less than $3 million for average litigation matters. For larger litigation, the costs spanned from $2.3 million to $9.7 million.

Other aspects of technology-assisted review include being able to:

  • Organize and prioritize entire document collections for more efficient review
  • Categorize documents by key phrases, concepts and names
  • Determine the relevance, responsiveness and privilege status of any document
  • Locate all similar or related documents irrespective of keywords
  • Algorithmically reduce the number of documents requiring eyes-on review, therefore reducing the related billable hours

Predictive coding appeals to lawyers, particularly in-house counsel, because it aims to leverage technology to reduce the need—and expense—for human attorneys reviewing every document. However, there are several formidable arguments against it:

Contributing Author

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Judah Lifschitz

Judd Lifschitz is Co-President and the head of the Construction and Litigation & Trial Practice Groups at Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, P.C. He is an...

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Contributing Author

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George Carry

George D. Carry is an Associate in the Construction and Litigation & Trial Practice Groups at Shapiro Lifschitz & Schram, P.C. He has extensive experience...

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