I have an open question to ask any and all of you...
Lot's of us have 10, 20, or even 30+ years of experience searching patents which means we have our own ingrained tricks, techniques, etc. The problem I run into is trying to teach my tricks and techniques to new searchers. Teaching a person how to perform patentability searching (find each limitation, the more per reference the better) is relatively easy and invalidity work is even easier (find a specific limitation, preferably in context). But clearance searching is a different beast entirely. Time is the best teacher I've found, with most searchers having their "Oh, I get it" moment 6-18 months into working as a searcher. Does any one have specific ideas on how to speed this up?
My most successful approach so far has been having newer searchers approach the search in two parts. First, perform a mini-patentability search as of 20 years ago. Try and kill the concept/product/improvement with expired art. Whatever you can not knock out with 20+ year old art is what needs to be cleared. It makes the search a little easier since the searcher can review the specifications and Figures within the old art and then focus on just the claims in the newer art. Plus they have a better understanding of the technology and its evolution prior to carefully reviewing claims. I find this works very well in most mechanical areas and in developed chemical, electrical, and medical areas, but not so well in areas with no expired art!
One caveat to this general question: This is more directed towards generic requests to "Clear this whole thing" rather than the preferred "Clear this tiny improvement on a previously cleared product".