Bolch Judicial Institute
Bolch Judicial Institute
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January 2020
(Location to be Announced)

The Duke Law Bolch Judicial Institute will hold an invitation-only Distinguished Lawyers conference on Examining Accuracy and Effectiveness of Machine-Learning (AI) When Applied to Ediscovery in January 2020 at a location and time to be announced.  If you are interested in attending, please send a brief description of your experience and reasons for attending the conference to

Business, medical, and myriad other establishments have been applying machine-learning (AI) methods in their work for many years.  They rely on machine-learning results when making critical decisions, involving not only huge financial stakes but the health of individuals.  Despite a long and solid success record in these other fields, many practitioners and judges remain skeptics and suspicious of machine-learning methods when applied to ediscovery.

The conference will examine the accuracy and effectiveness of machine-learning discovery methods and its reasonable availability to parties and determine whether best practices (or possibly rule amendments) should be developed to increase the use of machine-learning methods in ediscovery.  Experts in computer science, statistics, AI, and ediscovery will examine how machine-learning methods are applied in other fields, how their results are measured, including their metrics, and the record achieved.  Ediscovery experts, practitioners, and judges will then address the bench’s and bar’s reluctance to accept machine-learning in ediscovery, taking into account the AI experience in these other fields.

The 2015 Civil Rule amendments call for a judge to ensure that discovery is proportional and to consider claims of undue burden or expense incurred in discovery in light of the benefits and costs of the technology that is reasonably available to the parties.  Recognizing that a producing party is in the best position to know how to search its information sources, the conference will examine what, if any, role a judge has when ineffective and inefficient discovery-search methods are used. We will also consider whether Rule 1’s aspirational call for cooperation, which was intended to promote lawyer consultations about the “scope of discovery,” e.g., custodians, time range, and sources of information, also extends to promoting lawyer consultations on the “methods of discovery,” e.g., TAR training and review.

Fifteen federal judges and approximately 50-75 practitioners are expected to attend.

Active interaction among judges, practitioners, and law professors in an intimate environment is a hallmark of every Duke Law’s Distinguished Lawyers Conference.  At the conference, we will ask that each panelist make brief remarks.  We will then open a general discussion.  All conferees are expected to participate in the discussion.

To encourage frank discussions, the conference is held under the Chatham House Rule: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

Registration Fee – The registration fee of $1,250 includes conference materials, two continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunch on Thursday, a reception on Thursday evening, and grab-and-go snacks at the end of the conference on Friday.  An early-bird registration fee of $1,100 applies, if you register on or before December 1, 2019. Please email any questions to

CLE ─ CLE will be applied for in North Carolina and the state where the conference is held.  If you are a practicing attorney in North Carolina or the state where the conference is held, your CLE hours will be submitted for you.  Attorneys from other states will receive a “Certificate of Attendance” and a completed “Uniform Application for Accreditation” form after the conference in order to submit CLE hours for your state.