Wake-Up Call re: Deficient Keyword Searching; Need to Use Careful Thought, Quality Control, Testing & Cooperation

Law.com has a New York Law Journal piece from last month reporting on judicial frustration with poor keyword searching by lawyers:

H. Christopher Boehning & Daniel J. Toal, “Wake-Up Call on Slipshod Search Terms,” New York Law Journal (April 29, 2009)

The article reads in pertinent part:

Given the ubiquitous use of general purpose search engines such as Google and attorneys’ routine use of legal search engines such as Westlaw and LexisNexis, it is perhaps surprising that lawyers frequently falter in formulating search terms, or “keywords,” designed to retrieve relevant e-mails and other electronically stored information.

Nevertheless, courts have time and again confronted haphazard and uncoordinated search methodologies for ESI.

Evidently weary of deficient keyword searches, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck recently issued a self-styled “wake-up call” to members of the bar in the Southern District. Instead of attorneys designing keywords without adequate information “by the seat of their pants,” Peck appealed for keyword formulations based on careful thought, quality control, testing and cooperation.

The magistrate judge’s admonition arose in William A. Gross Constr. Assocs., Inc. v. American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co.[FOOTNOTE 1] The case involved multiple parties and multimillion dollar claims concerning alleged defects and delays in the construction of the Bronx County Hall of Justice….

Hat tip to Internet Guide for the Legal Researcher.

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