A peck of pickled peppers

By | 8th March 2012

Two things: Firstly, try saying this out loud as quickly as you can:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Secondly, some of you will recall that in the good old days before the introduction to the UK of Napoleonic measures such as litres, schoolchildren learned that two pints were equivalent to one quart and four quarts were a gallon. You may have forgotten, however, that two gallons are equivalent to a peck, two pecks make a kenning and four pecks a bushel.

If you have been reading this blog over the last few weeks, you will know that Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck in New York is certainly not hiding his light under a bushel! Hardly a day goes by without a reference to his activities in his court on the subject of predictive coding or computer assisted review.

Part of the rationale of this blog is that the non techies amongst our readers should not be bamboozled by too much esoteric techspeak and that the contents should be mildly entertaining and also partly of value educationally in matters concerning e-disclosure, and in that vein, I would be failing in my objective if I did not share with you all a fascinating (and short) article written by e-disclosure expert Conor Crowley which has been drawn to my attention by our friends at Equivio.

I do not know Mr Crowley but have discovered that he is the principal of his own law firm Crowley Law Office based in Virginia and is an expert on litigation readiness and e-disclosure. His commentary on Judge Peck’s recent Da Silva decision is pithy, insightful and concise (not that that description is any one of those three, but mere tautology).

In a little over three pages Mr Crowley sets out what may be drawn out of Judge Peck’s opinion on computer assisted review:  Judge Peck Endorses Predictive Coding [PDF]

The key point is that computer assisted review is now judicially approved in appropriate cases. As Mr Crowley says, the opinion is the most explicit judicial support to date for computer assisted review.

Judge Peck said;

“What the Bar should take away from this Opinion is that computer-assisted review is an available tool and should be seriously considered for use in large data-volume cases where it may save the producing party (or both parties) significant amounts of legal fees in document review. Counsel no longer have to worry about being the ‘first’ or ‘guinea pig’ for judicial acceptance of computer assisted review. As with keywords or any other technological solution to ediscovery, counsel must design an appropriate process, including use of available technology, with appropriate quality control testing, to review and produce relevant ESI while adhering to Rule 1 and Rule 26(b)(2)(C) proportionality. Computer assisted review now can be considered judicially-approved for use in appropriate cases.”

If English lawyers will forgive the reference to the Federal Procedure Rules (and will think of the equivalent provisions in the CPR), then I predict they will learn to enjoy the peck of pickled peppers provided by the learned Judge, whose generic message has as much application here as it carries in the US.

The message is likely to be highly persuasive.