Exploring What is Predictive Coding in eDiscovery

Understanding what is predictive coding in eDiscovery and how it operates has become increasingly vital for business ...

Understanding what is predictive coding in eDiscovery and how it operates has become increasingly vital for business leaders, given the accelerating digitalization of data creation and storage. This powerful technology, which employs artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze electronically stored information (ESI), can streamline the discovery process significantly.

In this blog post, we delve into the inner workings of predictive coding and discuss its role in transforming manual review processes. We will explore how predictive algorithms classify documents based on a training set coded manually by reviewers.

We'll also examine key differences between machine learning and predictive coding or technology-assisted review, as well as barriers to adoption within the legal industry. Finally, we will address global trends influencing future growth prospects for predicative code approach in eDiscovery. Read on as we cover what is predictive coding in eDiscovery, how it works and some of its benefits. 

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Table Of Contents:

What is Predictive Coding in eDiscovery

In the complex world of eDiscovery, predictive coding has emerged as a game-changer. It employs artificial intelligence (AI) to sift through vast amounts of electronically stored information (ESI), identifying relevant documents during legal proceedings such as audits and investigations.

How Predictive Coding Works in eDiscovery

Predictive coding uses machine learning algorithms to automatically categorize and prioritize ESI, making it easier for human reviewers to find pertinent data. This predictive coding process significantly reduces the time spent on manual analysis.

The Benefits of Using Predictive Coding for Document Review

  • Efficiency: By automating much of the initial sorting process, the predictive coding process allows legal teams to focus their efforts where they're most needed.
  • Accuracy: AI can help minimize human error, leading to more precise results. Advancements in predictive code technology seem to happen almost daily, so the increasing prevalence of AI is only going to mean better accuracy in the future.
  • Cost-effectiveness: By replacing some manual labor with AI, businesses can realize substantial cost savings in the long run.

NIST's research showed that predictive coding could boost document review productivity by as much as 80%. That's a lot of time saved for legal teams.

While predictive coding or technology-assisted review is not a perfect solution, it has proven to be a valuable tool in the eDiscovery process. As predictive coding technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more advancements in this field.

Approaches Used During the Review Phase

In the realm of eDiscovery, two primary automated methods are used during the review phase - predictive coding and machine learning. These technologies have revolutionized document review by sifting through large data sets efficiently, significantly reducing the number of documents that require human attention.

Differences between Predictive Coding and Machine Learning

Predictive coding uses artificial intelligence to identify relevant ESI for legal proceedings. On the other hand, machine learning is a broader concept where computers learn from data without being explicitly programmed.

Streamlining the Discovery Process with Advanced Tools

These advanced tools in eDiscovery can expedite processes and enhance accuracy. They not only save time but also provide more precise results compared to traditional manual-only analysis methods.

Barriers to Adoption Within Legal Industry

In the legal industry, predictive coding in eDiscovery has been slow to gain traction. The primary barriers include high implementation costs and a general aversion to new technologies among lawyers. These hurdles have slowed down uptake despite potential long-term savings on document review costs.

Expensive Implementation Costs

The cost of implementing predictive coding technology can be substantial, particularly for smaller firms or those without extensive IT support. This financial barrier often outweighs the perceived benefits of increased efficiency and accuracy.

Overcoming Fear of New Tech

To overcome these challenges, it's essential that law firms understand how this technique can streamline their processes. Education and training are key components of this understanding, helping to alleviate fears around adopting this innovative methodology. Lawyers may be hesitant to try something new, yet the advantages of predictive coding are undeniable. 

Transparency Disputes Over Use of Predictive Coding

The use of predictive coding in eDiscovery has sparked a significant debate over transparency. Some legal professionals argue that all aspects of the process should be disclosed, while others believe only necessary details need to be shared with opposing counsel or courts.

Differing Viewpoints on Transparency Requirements

A key point of contention is whether full disclosure compromises strategic advantages during litigation. For instance, disclosing too much about the algorithm used could potentially allow manipulation by adversaries. On the other hand, some argue for full transparency to ensure fairness and accuracy in document review.

Implications for Case Outcomes Based on Disclosure Levels

Disclosure levels can significantly impact case outcomes. Inadequate disclosure may lead to disputes over discovery results, while excessive information might compromise your strategy. Therefore, striking a balance is crucial when using this technique in eDiscovery processes.

Maintaining transparency is not only a legal obligation, but also an ethical imperative. Clients should be apprised of the techniques and processes employed when examining their data. Additionally, transparency can help build trust between legal teams and clients.

As technology continues to advance, it's likely that transparency requirements will evolve as well. To remain competitive, legal professionals must keep abreast of the ever-evolving transparency requirements and adjust accordingly to ensure optimal results for their clients.

Future of AI in Jobs Related to eDiscovery

The application of predictive coding extends beyond law firms to companies across various industries. These businesses deal with massive volumes of data daily, largely due to digitalization trends that show no signs of slowing down. So it is even more crucial in today's world where speed and accuracy in decision-making are paramount, especially when dealing with regulatory compliance issues and litigation matters.

Predicted Growth Areas for AI-Assisted Tools like Predictive Coding

  • Data Management: With the increasing volume of data generated by organizations, there is a growing need for efficient data management systems powered by AI. Predictive coding increases a teams ability to sift through large volumes of data quickly and efficiently.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Companies can use AI tools to ensure they comply with regulations efficiently and accurately. 
  • Document Review: AI can assist in document review by identifying relevant documents and reducing the time and cost associated with manual review. 
  • Contract Analysis: AI can analyze contracts to identify key terms and clauses, reducing the time and cost associated with manual review. 

Most experts agree that AI will not replace humans entirely anytime soon. Instead, it acts as a tool enhancing productivity rather than eliminating roles altogether.

Reporting Capabilities and Their Importance

Implementing predictive coding in your eDiscovery process requires robust reporting capabilities. These features provide invaluable insights into the effectiveness of the system overall. It's not just about having a tool that can sift through large volumes of data, but also one that can give you detailed reports on its performance.

This allows for continual refinement and improvement processes over time, ensuring you get the best possible results from your investment. Some key considerations when selecting an appropriate software package include:

  • The ability to generate comprehensive reports.
  • User-friendly interface for easy navigation and understanding of data.
  • In-depth analytics to measure system efficiency and accuracy.

Choosing the right software package with advanced reporting capabilities is crucial in maximizing value derived from AI-assisted tools like Predictive Coding. 

Why Comprehensive Reports Matter

Comprehensive reports provide a detailed breakdown of the system's performance, including metrics like recall, precision, and F1 score. By analyzing the metrics, one can ascertain how well the system is operating and pinpoint areas for improvement.

For example, if the recall rate is low, it means the system is missing relevant documents. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as poor training data or an inadequate algorithm. Once the cause of the issue has been identified, it is possible to take action and enhance system efficiency.

The Importance of User-Friendly Interfaces

Even the most comprehensive reports are useless if you can't understand them. That's why it's essential to choose a software package with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate and interpret the data.

Look for features like interactive dashboards, customizable reports, and intuitive visualizations. Look for features that enable quick identification of trends and patterns in the data to easily draw insights and take action.

Measuring Efficiency and Accuracy

Finally, it's essential to choose a software package with in-depth analytics that can measure the system's efficiency and accuracy. This includes metrics like throughput, processing speed, and error rates.

By monitoring these figures with time, you can spot areas that need to be improved and enhance the system's functioning. For example, if the processing speed is slow, you may need to upgrade your hardware or optimize your workflow to speed up the process. Predictive coding increases the effectiveness of a review team but the improvement is only as good as the overall team that is is supporting.

Overall, choosing the right software package with advanced reporting capabilities is crucial in maximizing the value derived from AI-assisted tools like Predictive Coding. With the right tools in place, you can streamline your investigation, reduce costs, and improve the accuracy of your results.

Key Takeaway: 

Implementing predictive coding in eDiscovery requires software with robust reporting capabilities, including comprehensive reports, user-friendly interfaces, and in-depth analytics to measure system efficiency and accuracy. Choosing the right software package is crucial for maximizing value derived from AI-assisted tools like Predictive Coding.

Global Trends and Future Growth Prospects for Predictive Coding

In the eDiscovery landscape, predictive coding software is gaining global traction. This trend is notably seen in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The undeniable benefits it offers, such as cost-efficiency, expedited timelines, and reduced workloads, are driving this growth.

Factors Contributing to Increased Global Acceptance

  • Cost-Efficiency: Predictive coding reduces costs associated with manual document review.
  • Faster Timelines: It speeds up the discovery process by automating data analysis.
  • Limited Workload: By sifting through large sets of data efficiently, predictive coding minimizes human intervention. Implementing a predictive coding workflow can drastically improve the efficiency of a legal team.

The future looks promising for predictive coding given these advantages. However, its successful implementation still depends on various factors that organizations must consider carefully before adoption.

Success Factors for Implementing Predictive Code Approach

If you're considering adopting a predictive code approach, success heavily relies on proper training and system selection. It's also crucial to have representative samples of both relevant and non-relevant ESI in the initial stages.

Employing your strongest document reviewers and developing systematic procedures are essential for maximizing the value derived from AI-assisted tools. Despite the challenges involved in implementation, it's worth exploring given the significant advantages it could bring to your business.


In this blog we have covered what is predictive coding in eDiscovery. Predictive coding is like having a super-smart assistant that helps you sort through mountains of documents during eDiscovery, using machine learning algorithms to predict which documents are relevant to a case and which ones aren't.

Despite some initial reluctance from the legal industry, predictive coding is gaining traction globally as a way to save time and resources during document review.

When choosing a software package, it's important to consider reporting capabilities and transparency requirements, and to stay up-to-date with advances in AI technology.

As predictive coding and other AI tools continue to evolve, they're likely to become even more essential in eDiscovery and related fields.

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