EDRM Blog

Keeling and Chhatwal Publish Quantitative Expert Analysis of Keywords, Wildcards and Methodologies Applied to Privilege Review

"keyword" in an abstract blue graphic

EDRM Global Advisory Council Chair, Robert Keeling, partner and head of the firm’s e-discovery and data analytics group at Sidley Austin LLP (an EDRM Preserver Partner) and Rishi Chhatwal, assistant vice president and senior legal counsel for antitrust and enterprise e-discovery at AT&T Inc., published an expert analysis of their quantitative research into privilege review keyword construction in Law360 (registration required).

The article, “Keyword Searches To Improve Your Privilege Doc Review,” can be read here.

Richly cited, the article goes into great detail about the impact of using common keywords and wildcards when casting a net for privileged documents, as well as the impact of common practices like searching for attorney names and firms.

While search terms with outside counsel names were over 90% privileged, inside counsel’s precision dropped significantly as a predictor. According to Keeling and Chhatwal:

Email addresses and unique names of junior in-house counsel were the next best predictor of privilege, although these terms were slightly less effective at identifying privileged documents than the outside counsel terms — ranging from 68% to 93%.

These results are consistent with the different roles of in-house and outside counsel. In-house counsel may be involved with the business affairs of the company and may provide nonprivileged strategic business guidance in addition to legal advice.

The entire article, “Keyword Searches To Improve Your Privilege Doc Review,” can be read here.

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Mary Mack

Mary Mack is the CEO and Chief Legal Technologist for EDRM. Mary is the co-editor of the Thomson Reuters West Treatise, eDiscovery for Corporate Counsel and the co-author of A Process of Illumination: the Practical Guide to Electronic Discovery. She a member of the Illinois Bar and holds the CISSP among her certifications.


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