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Reading Matter: Perspectives on Advanced Search for the Legal Professional

If your 2017 New Year’s resolution is to finally get on board with Rule 1.1 of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology,” do we have a book for you!

book-cover-compPERSPECTIVES ON PREDICTIVE CODING And Other Advanced Search Methods for the Legal Practitioner, a newly released work edited by industry insiders Jason R. Baron, Ralph C. Losey and Michael D. Berman, provides a well-rounded view of the uses of technology in eDiscovery. With a Foreword by TAR proponent Judge Andrew Peck and chapters authored by legal practitioners as well as search and data experts, the book will be informative for both newcomers and those already “inside the bubble” of eDiscovery who may be interested in the more arcane or nuanced aspects of technology-assisted review and data analytics.

As the title suggests, “predictive coding,” a software-driven, machine-learning approach to document review, is only one form of advanced search comprising technology-assisted review, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. In fact, there are other rules-based and machine-learning methodologies and tools that can be applied to document review, separately or in concert.  A goal of this book, according to the Introduction by Jason Baron, is to provide a set of perspectives on their use by “lawyers in pursuit of e-discovery, in investigations, and in other legal contexts, such as information governance.”

There are four main sections to the book; 1) Searching for ESI: Some Preliminary Perspectives; 2) Practitioner Perspectives; 3) Information Retrieval Perspectives; E-Discovery Standards; and 4) Analytics and the Law, and perusal of the chapters in each suggest the complexities and dimensions of the overall topic—precisely the reason why this book is such a necessity for any 21st century litigator or litigation support professional.

Whether you’re looking for an overview of the territory, (see, for example, Chapter 3: A Tour of Technology-Assisted Review by Maura R. Grossman and Gordon V. Cormack), concerns of the defense (see Chapter 8: Predictive Coding from the Defense Perspective: Issues and Challenges by Ronni D. Solomon, Rose J. Hunter-Jones, Jennifer A. Mencken, and Edward T. Logan), issues related to measurement (see Chapter 14: On the Place of Measurement in E-Discovery by H5’s own Bruce Hedin, Dan Brassil, and Amanda Jones), or how analytics is being used in the legal realm (see Chapter 16: Algorithms at the Gate: Leveraging Predictive Analytics in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures by Jeffrey C. Sharer and Robert D. Keeling), there is plenty to be found among the 20 chapters to enrich every level of experience.

As Jason Baron notes in the book’s Introduction, there appear even now “to be voices in the profession questioning whether predictive coding has been oversold or overhyped,” but there can be little doubt that the paper days have passed and the future must include some level of awareness and technological competence on the part of the legal community to address the evolving world of ESI.  For those not driven into early retirement by the prospect, understanding benefits of embracing advanced technologies is crucial. This book will help.

To order your copy of PERSPECTIVES ON PREDICTIVE CODING And Other Advanced Search Methods for the Legal Practitioner, visit the ABA site here.

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