Victoria Hudgins: 3 Ways Keyword Search Might Be Failing Lawyers in E-Discovery

Extract from Victoria Hudgins’s article “3 Ways Keyword Search Might Be Failing Lawyers in E-Discovery”

During Legalweek 2022, a panel of e-discovery experts argued keyword searches are too limiting and should only play a small role in lawyers’ data review.

On March 11, Merlin Search Technologies Inc. founder and CEO John Tredennick led the “Search 2.0: Integrating AI With Keywords to Revolutionize Document Search” panel where he highlighted Sherlock, his company’s machine learning-powered document review platform, as a game-changing upgrade from searching keywords. But beyond his platform, Tredennick and the other panelists agreed simply leveraging keyword searches to find or analyze data is a disservice to clients. 

Below are the three reasons they said keyword searching is underwhelming.

1. New Environments Need New Tools

To be sure, keyword searches will have a role in lawyers’ data reviews, noted Redgrave partner Martin Tully. “Keywords aren’t going away, you use them in Outlook and Relativity,” he said. Still, as relevant data is created and stored on more collaboration platforms, keyword search limitations are exposed, he added.

“There are so many tools to use that are dynamic that aren’t based on a character there or a character here. [With Microsoft Teams and Slack] and countless environments, it’s all more important to levy something that can do a much better job,” Tully said.

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