Federal Judicial Center Guide to TAR


The Federal Judicial Center is the official research organization for the United States federal courts. Its governing body is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and a committee on which seven federal judges serve.

In 2017, the FJC published a pocket guide to TAR for federal judges entitled, Technology-Assisted Review for Discovery Requests.

In addressing whether or not TAR constitutes 'a reasonable inquiry' under FRCP 26(g), the Guide states that TAR will perform well in situations where the following conditions exist:

1. The number of documents in a collection is large

2. Responsive documents are expected to be similar to each other in some fashion. 3. The TAR algorithm measures that similarity.

The guide also notes that TAR is not always better than keyword searching in identifying responsive documents, and that the algorithms used by various vendors often differ greatly. The FJC bemoans the fact that there, "There is, to our knowledge, no published manual that evaluates the algorithms of each vendor and explains the requirements of each algorithm for proper seed set construction."

Disputes over the efficacy of TAR will be less likely when the following steps are taken:

1. Proper Seed Set Construction - the parties should be transparent about the process and consider the production of the seed set, or at least which documents were part of the seed set.

2. Statistical Validation - the appropriate threshold rates for recall and precision depend both on the circumstances of each case, and the methods used to calculate these rates.

The guide also provides a draft order entitled, "Order on Using Technology-Assisted Review in Discovery of Electronically Stored Information in Civil Cases".

The Tip of the Night for November 20, 2015 addressed the FJC pocket guide on ESI Discovery.


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