Everything You Wanted to Know About Predictive Coding But Were Afraid to Ask

When I was a lawyer at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s, I worked on this crazy case in federal court involving electronic records preserved in the last days of the Reagan White House, following the Iran Contra Affair.  The lead counsel on the case for the government was my friend Jason Baron, who later went on to serve as Director of Litigation for the National Archives and Records Administration.

More recently, Jason joined Drinker Biddle’s Information Governance and eDiscovery practice as Of Counsel.  He just published a fascinating article in The Legal Intelligencer entitled “Using Analytics to Add Value to Your Legal Practice.”  He is talking about predictive coding.  Predictive coding is the use of a small set of coded documents to build a computer-generated model that can predict the coding on a larger set of documents and thereby facilitate legal review and analysis.  Are you amazed the way Amazon.com can suggest new books for you to read based on your past choices?  Predictive coding works the same way for document review in litigation.  Is predictive coding the next great thing or just a passing fad?  I am not sure, but Jason says that “as computing power increases, the power of predictive coding and like techniques will only grow in importance in both our daily and professional lives.”

Thoughtful lawyers and business leaders will watch predictive coding with great interest.