Jump Start your Review with Conceptual Search

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Every review project starts with a review memo. You’ve no doubt spent hours drafting the review memo and relaying its contents to the document reviewers. Stopping here, however, is a disservice to your drafting efforts; the review memo’s full potential is still untapped.

Conceptual search tools allow users to query their data with paragraphs of text to find documents containing similar conceptual content.  These conceptual queries can be executed using document excerpts or user drafted text.  Unlike keyword searching, conceptual search attempts to understand semantic meaning and context of terms, allowing users to work around common language obstacles like misspellings, synonyms, code words, and regional dialects.

Conceptual search is a powerful tool for search, prioritization, and quality control, and can be used effortlessly in your next review memo by following a few simple guidelines.

First, for best results, conceptual queries should be crafted using the human paradigm: a conceptual search is sufficient if a human can find the documents needed with the information provided.  With the human paradigm in mind, the review memo is a particularly good fit for concept search, as case teams are literally spelling out what human reviewers should return as “responsive.”

Second, make best use of your review memo by running individual conceptual searches for each issue or element of responsiveness, using paragraphs copied directly from the review memo.  With this technique, the case team can quickly identify and prioritize the review of documents most closely related to areas of interest, and increase their chances of identifying key documents early in the case.

Third, this approach can be used for quality control checks over documents that were not in the population promoted for review to ensure your search terms or culling methods were not over-exclusive.  Simply sample any results and determine whether additional searching is necessary, or if the results are small, simply promote for review.

Case teams spend significant time drafting review memos, but often fail to fully realize the fruits of their labor.  With a little additional effort, conceptual search can be a powerful asset to find what you need, when you need it.



Author: Sarah Cole, JD, Director, Solutions and Relativity Master

Sarah Cole in an industry veteran specializing in building efficiency, developing advanced workflows, and defining best practices for strategic use of technologies. A Relativity Certified Masters, Sarah is one of the industry’s leading authorities on the Relativity platform. Most recently, in her 2017 Relativity Fest session: Validating Analytics with Magic and Dragons, Sarah showed attendees how to use their favorite legal analytics tools to investigate fan theories in popular fictional series.   Sarah’s nine years of industry experience comprises hands-on roles in legal, document review and management, document hosting and production operations, project management, consulting, and analytics expert capacities. In her role as Director of Solutions for Advanced Discovery, Sarah employs her passion for efficiency, extensive experience, and in-depth knowledge of technologies and workflows to assist clients in managing cost-effective, defensible eDiscovery initiatives. Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts from State University of New York and a Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School.

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