Predictive coding - what is it and how is it being used?

Predictive coding - what is it and how is it being used?


Predictive coding is a method of technology assisted review (TAR) used to assess the relevance of high volumes of documents for purposes of electronic disclosure (e-disclosure).


How does predictive coding work?


Predictive coding uses a combination of keyword search and iterative computer learning to rank the relevance of each individual document.

It starts off with a human operator (such as a lawyer) who understands how to grade the relevance of a legal document for purposes of disclosure. They will perform a search for relevant documents in an initial ‘seed set’ and grade these manually, providing a relevance mark for each (eg on a scale of 1 – 10). The software will analyse their manual grading to optimise its own search engine AI. This process will be repeated multiple times to enhance accuracy. 

Once the human operator has ‘trained’ the AI, the predictive coding system can be left to trawl through the bulk of documents automatically, with just the occasional verification for accuracy by lawyers. In this way, thousands of documents can be graded for relevance (for purposes of disclosure) in a fraction of the time it would take a team of paralegals.


Pros and cons of predictive coding


The primary benefits of predictive coding are speed and overall cos

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About the author:
Alex Heshmaty is a legal copywriter and journalist with a particular interest in legal technology. He runs Legal Words, a legal copywriting and marketing agency.