Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What’s the Difference Between Automated Review and Predictive Coding?

Automated review and predictive coding are often mentioned in the same breath, as synonyms for each other. They are actually different concepts. Predictive coding, in which a topic-expert manually codes a "seed set" of documents (and the software follows suit) is a type of automated review. There are 2 other types.

A second approach to automated review is called Rules-Based Coding, in which a set of rules is created to direct how documents should be coded, very similar to a Coding Manual or a Review Memo that might be prepared for a group of on- or off-shore contract attorneys. The preparation of the Ruleset is typically done by some combination of topic experts, attorneys and technologists. The rules are run on the document population and it is evaluated, tweaked and run again until all parties are satisfied.

The third approach to automated review is called Present & Direct, in which software takes a first, unprompted assessment of the documents and puts forth a graphical representation (pretty charts and diagrams) of what the data contains. This is sometimes called Early Case Assessment or Data Visualization. Once data analysis is presented, the reviewer "informs" the software what he/she wants by batch-tagging key document groupings.

All of these techniques are variations of one another and each has its strengths and weaknesses for use in different types of matters and circumstances. (A topic for a future blog post, clearly!) The point here it is to recognize that Predictive Coding DOES NOT EQUAL Automated Review; it is simply one of several techniques to accomplish it.