Hear that rumble? It’s the bench’s mounting frustration with the senseless, slipshod way lawyers approach keyword search. It started with federal Magistrate Judge John Facciola’s observation that keyword search entails a complicated interplay of sciences beyond a lawyer’s ken. He said lawyers selecting search terms without expert guidance were truly going “where angels fear to tread.”

Federal Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm called for “careful advance planning by persons qualified to design effective search methodology” and testing search methods for quality assurance. “The party selecting the methodology must be prepared to explain the rationale for the method chosen to the court, demonstrate that it is appropriate for the task, and show that it was properly implemented,” he declared.