Learning How to Shake and Bake with Keyword Searches at the ASU Arkfeld eDiscovery Conference

Last week I was at the ASU Arkfeld eDiscovery Conference in Tempe, AZ along with AD stalwarts Bryan Duberow and Thad Warren.  As part of our attendance, I spoke on a panel called The Search Continues: The Nitty-gritty of Selecting, Tuning, and Implementing Electronic Search Parameters and Protocols.

The session description seemed a bit daunting:

Discuss common assumptions and errors that lead to disproportionate discovery burdens, including:

  • Keyword search nuances;
  • Time periods, custodian-level differentiation, metadata field-based searches, etc.;
  • Structured data – network folders, business databases, and other non-e-mail evidence before applying keywords and;
  • The Big Picture: phased discovery, sampling, iterative review, and other approaches to stemming burden-creep, and how to set up proportionality arguments throughout.

So after a discussion with my co-speakers, Alex Goth (Litigation Support Manager with Squire Patton Boggs), Niloy Ray (eDiscovery Counsel at, and a member of, Littler’s eDiscovery Group) and Moderator, Joy Allen Woller (Conference Co-Chair and eDiscovery Counsel at Lewis Roca Rothgerber), we decided to spice things up with a race car motif to describe several of the stages of a keyword search workflow.

And at some point, we took it a step further and decided a lighthearted approach would be the race car drivers from Talladega Nights.  I’m not saying which one of us was Ricky Bobby.

Well to our surprise, we not only had an SRO crowd, but we had 60 minutes of interaction including great questions and lots of search tips from the audience. My takeaway from all of this was that keyword search is far from dead and, as I’ve posted before, is probably still the most common search method used by eDiscovery staff. TAR may be up and coming, but keyword search is still king.

So if you’d like to discuss the topic or hear some of the tips we covered in the session, drop me a note at tom.oconnor@advanceddiscovery.com.

Shake and bake!!


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