This three minute video is designed for view with a high-speed connection in high definition (HD), full screen mode. This video supplements last week’s blog on the keyword search debate at LegalTech. It is a video excerpt of a law school class where I respond to a question by co-professor William Hamilton.
In Bill’s question, not included on the video, he changed the fact scenario created by Jason R. Baron for LegalTech to take the asymmetric ethics issue out of the picture. He asked me to assume the requesting party did not specify a list of keywords, and that the producing party did not know of any special “AvatarApp” keyword. Instead, he asked me to assume a very typical scenario in legal practice today where both sides just meet and discuss what search terms to use. Bill then asked me how my argument to general counsel would change. He asked how I would respond to a suggestion by the general counsel that good keywords be used, better than the initial list proposed by the requesting party, instead of a multimodal approach.
Recall from last week’s blog that this is the argument at LegalTech where I try to persuade Orange Corp. to retain my firm, over Jason’s hypothetical firm, to handle the e-discovery work in defense of a large case. My firm argued for using a variety of search techniques, not just keyword search, in what I called multimodal search. Jason advanced the contrary position, one which he does not personally endorse. He proposed that the prospective client follow current custom, and most case law, and simply negotiate and use keyword searches. He argued against spending time and money on other alternative approaches, such as concept search and other expert techniques.
Bill’s variance of the factual scenario takes out the ethical issue and thus brings the conflict between keyword search and multimodal into clear focus. The video concludes with my ad-libbed two-minute pitch for multimodal, which is about all of the time you would be given to present a novel idea to the general counsel of a large corporation, assuming they would agree to see you at all. In today’s environment, with runaway e-discovery costs and a severe economic recession, more in-house will likely take the time to listen to novel cost saving suggestions. Many are likely to conclude, as I did in this scenario, that it its well worth spending a little more money up front to save a lot of money overall.