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Evaluating Performance in eDiscovery Predictive Coding: Best Practices for Effective Assessment

Buddy Fisher

Evaluating Performance in eDiscovery Predictive Coding: Best Practices for Effective Assessment

As we continue our exploration of eDiscovery AI, it is crucial to assess the performance of the software to ensure its effectiveness and reliability. In this post, we will delve into the best practices for evaluating the performance of eDiscovery AI in document review. By implementing these practices, legal professionals can make informed decisions, refine the system, and achieve exceptional results in eDiscovery.

Define Evaluation Metrics:

To assess the performance of eDiscovery AI it is essential to establish clear evaluation metrics. Consider the following metrics that are commonly used:

a. Recall: Recall measures the ability of the system to identify relevant documents correctly. It represents the ratio of the number of relevant documents identified to the total number of relevant documents in the dataset. A higher recall indicates better performance in capturing relevant documents. The formula for calculating recall is TP/TP+FN.

b. Precision: Precision measures the accuracy of the system’s predictions by assessing the ratio of correctly identified relevant documents to the total number of documents predicted as relevant. A higher precision reflects fewer false positives, indicating higher precision in identifying relevant documents. The formula for calculating precision is TP/TP + FP.

c. F1 Score: The F1 score combines recall and precision into a single metric, providing a balanced assessment of the system’s performance. It is particularly useful when both recall and precision need to be considered simultaneously. The formula for calculating F1 is 2x precision x recall/precision + recall.

Design a Representative Test Dataset:

Creating a representative test set is crucial for evaluating the performance of eDiscovery AI. Follow these guidelines when selecting the documents for that sample:

a. Representative Sample: Ensure the test dataset is a truly random sample that accurately represents the entire data set being evaluated by eDiscovery AI. This balance helps in assessing recall and precision accurately.

b. Sample Size: Select a sample size that is large enough to yield useful results yet not so large that it creates an unreasonable amount of work for the attorneys that are responsible for manually reviewing the set.  The selection of random sample size is typically made based on the statistical parameters, confidence level and margin of error.  There is no agreed-upon right or wrong set of parameters, but common examples are 95% confidence level and a 2% or 3% margin of error.  

Conduct Comparative Analysis:

Conducting a comparative analysis is beneficial to evaluate the performance of eDiscovery AI in relation to other methods or human reviewers:

a. Human Reviewers: Compare the performance of eDiscovery AI with that of human reviewers. Assessing the agreement between the model’s predictions and human judgments provides insights into the model’s effectiveness and helps identify areas for improvement.

b. Baseline Models: Compare eDiscovery AI’s performance with other baseline models or existing tools used in eDiscovery. This analysis allows you to measure the advancements brought by eDiscovery AI and identify its unique value proposition.

Regular Monitoring and Feedback Loop:

Evaluation should be an ongoing process to monitor performance and drive continuous improvement:

a. Monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance of eDiscovery AI during the document review process. Regularly analyze the recall, precision, and F1 scores to identify any performance trends or issues that need attention.

b. Feedback Loop: Establish a feedback loop between the eDiscovery AI system and human reviewers. Gather feedback from human reviewers regarding the model’s classifications, areas of improvement, and potential errors. This feedback loop helps in refining instructions, training examples, and fine-tuning the model to enhance its performance.


Evaluating the performance of eDiscovery AI in eDiscovery predictive coding is a critical step to ensure reliable and accurate results. By defining evaluation metrics, designing a representative test dataset, conducting sampling and iterative refinement, conducting a comparative analysis, and establishing a regular monitoring and feedback loop, legal professionals can assess the effectiveness of eDiscovery AI and continuously optimize its performance. Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will discuss the ethical considerations and challenges in utilizing eDiscovery AI.

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