How much do lawyers need to understand about metrics and statistics in order to conduct a proper search? This is a question which is fundamental to the take-up of modern technology, and one which is hard to address.
I saw a tweet last week in which a mathematically-minded hard-liner said that numeracy is as important to the modern lawyer as literacy. To admit that you were poor at maths, the tweeter said, is as bad as admitting to an inability to read.
If I am less of a hard-liner on this subject, it is probably because I am a mathematical dunce. It is also unhelpful to make such assertions when there are many fine litigation lawyers out there who do not take readily to science – that is probably why they followed an arts route at university. We must rise to the marketing issue which arises, not abuse those who find it hard.
FTI Technology knows a lot about the statistics of eDiscovery having long been a leader in eDiscovery tools which harness the power of statistics as an aid to discovery. FTI has now come up with a White Paper called Metrics that Matter which is the best example I have seen of an attempt to make the metrics of eDiscovery comprehensible to all.
It helps that the paper kicks off with reference which we can all understand. Van Halen, in issuing its specification for its performance requirements on tour, would bury in the middle of the spec a provision that M&Ms be provided without any brown ones. If the M&Ms arrived unfiltered, as it were, Van Halen knew that the instructions had not been read properly; if that provision had been missed, then what other and more fundamental points had been overlooked?
I leave it to you to read the paper to see how this is relevant to the metrics of eDiscovery. If you find even this lucid paper a hard read, it is as clear an explanation as you will find anywhere of what is, indeed, a complex subject. Complex or not, the paper will repay close reading. You may say that this is not for you. That is your choice on behalf of your clients, but you may care to consider how you will react when your opponent in litigation is eloquent and informed on the subject and you are not.
As Angela Bunting of Nuix suggested in my interview with her published today, the willingness to grasp the use of technology may prove to be a differentiator between opponents in which the young have an advantage over the older ones who may get left behind. This FTI paper will help you keep up.