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October 04, 2011

Judge Peck: Green Light for Computer-Aided Coding

PeckIn the October issue of Law Technology News magazine, New York-based U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck argues that the time has come for computer-assisted coding — a.k.a. predictive coding — to be embraced by litigators and the judiciary. 

In "Search, Forward," Peck chronicles the evolution of search, concluding lawyers' fears of judicial rebuffs or potential Daubert hearings "seem largely misplaced." When using computer-assisted coding, he suggests that litigators should be prepared to explain "what was done and why that produced defensible results."  

"Until there is a judicial opinion approving (or even critiquing) the use of predictive coding, counsel will just have to rely on this article as a sign of judicial approval. In my opinion, computer-assisted coding should be used in those cases where it will help 'secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive' (Fed. R. Civ. P. 1) determination of cases in our e-discovery world."

Image: Russ Curtis


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When I last wrote about predictive coding on this blog, I noted that U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck’s keynote speech at the Carmel Valley eDiscovery Retreat in July was one of the clearest public statements to date by a judge that predictive coding is acceptable in certain matters.

While it is still the case that no reported opinion has blessed (or condemned) the use of this technology, this new LTN article by Magistrate Judge Peck again clearly signals his approval – and, this time, in writing.

It will be interesting to see what impact Magistrate Judge Peck’s article has on the ongoing dialogue about the use of predictive coding and what weight, if any, it is accorded if cited in court submissions.

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