Most custodians cannot be ‘trusted’ to run effective searches because designing legally sufficient electronic searches in the discovery or FOIA contexts is not part of their daily responsibilities. Searching for an answer on Google (or Westlaw or Lexis) is very different from searching for all responsive documents in the FOIA or e-discovery context.
Simple keyword searching is often not enough: Even in the simplest case requiring a search of online email, there is no guarantee that using keywords will always prove sufficient. There is increasingly strong evidence that “keyword searching is not nearly effective as identifying relevant information as many lawyers would like to believe.” As Judge Andrew Peck—one of this Court’s experts in e-discovery—recently put it: “In too many cases, however, the way lawyers choose keywords is the equivalent of the child’s game of ‘Go Fish’… Keyword searches usually are not very effective.”
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