Yep, my headline for this post is pretty strongly-worded … but it’s also pretty accurate. The fact is, sanction-happy judges and vague, utopian court rules regarding ESI searches don’t mix, when you’re dealing with mounds of mostly-random electronic data.
Don’t take my word for it. Eric P. Mandel writes to the EDD Update blog about the “needle in the haystack when you have plenty of haystacks” conundrum. Technology has not (and perhaps never will) find a perfect solution to finding just the documents you need to produce, and cull out all the documents you need not to produce.
Just know that (a) you are not alone in your frustration; and (b) for now, keyword searching is still every bit as effective in culling down a production set as other search methodologies. This means that there is, ultimately, no substitute for working with opposing counsel to craft search queries that all parties can live with (which, if used in good faith, should keep those sanctions away from your door).