The Risk Involved Using Key Word Searches for Filtering and Data Culling

Not all searches are created equal.

Key Word Search Data Culling and FilteringCareful deliberation must be employed when using search methods to identify responsive, privileged or otherwise protected information to be withheld from production, such as in email discovery.  Even inadvertent disclosure to a third party may waive the privilege or protection if the proper precautions were not taken in crafting, testing and implementing a search – failure to identify and produce relevant documents may result in sanctions.  The search methods employed must be a combination of proven protocols and technologies, which is where Advanced Discovery’s experience and use of technology helps minimize risk.

Put key word search in its place..

Identifying at issue data within electronically stored information (ESI) can be daunting, given the number of documents even “small” data sizes may contain.  Key word searches are best employed in isolating documents that contain specific words; although knowing in advance the exact words that will accurately identify every person and issue in your case, and  being certain those words appear in each of the relevant documents within the data set, is very rare.  Determining which search method, or combination of methods, should be utilized requires an understanding of both the body of data, and the reviewer’s intended outcome.  The likelihood of either over or under achieving inclusive results when employing key word searches alone is high.  This can be due to many factors, including too wide or narrow a  scope of meta-data fields that the terms search through or improperly formatted terms.  Further, a key word search fails to reflect conceptual context.  If you search for the word ‘dog’ you will get all documents that contain the word ‘dog.’  But you will not get documents that contain the word puppy, canine or Labrador.  Advanced Discovery  works collaboratively with its clients to assist in crafting a methodology  that encompasses what is at issue, while minimizing risk.

The volume of electronically stored information keeps growing.

Electronically Stored InformationThe sources of potentially at issue data, from which responsive documents must be gleaned, grows daily.  The size of the “cloud” surrounding any business can reach staggering proportions.  Fortunately, the people with Advanced Discovery utilize the right tools for the job at hand.  Properly combining key word and other search methodologies (such as conceptual), for example, into a blended search strategy to provide the ability to view the entire corpus of documents through a more focused lens.  As the amount of available  ESI increases and case law on searching intelligently becomes even more prevalent, the need to incorporate advanced search technology and protocol is indisputable.

The development of defensible search methodologies is paramount.

It is important that parties be prepared to prove that repeatable search methodologies were properly crafted, tested and implemented.  The search results employed must stand up to challenge, or the risk of sanctions increases.  This methodology is best developed with the experience and expertise of someone familiar with  both technology and litigation.  The consultants at Advanced Discovery have the ability to assist clients in  structuring, executing and validating the searches performed, reporting the results of each search as requested, thereby assisting clients in defense of their searches if required.

To find out more about Advanced Discovery, visit our website.

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