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Deconstructing Document Review: A Guide for 2019 Reviewers

Document review in 2019 requires legal professionals to run a proverbial “fine-toothed comb” over more information than ever before. With the addition of ESI to the already overwhelming document review process, the haystack surrounding the golden-needle keeps growing larger. With so much information requiring processing, organizing, and cataloging, accuracy and effective quality control measures are tantamount when legal professionals are executing a successful document review.

 

Only Allow Expert Hands On the File.

Effective document reviews need team members that are knowledgeable about the case and the document review process. Prior to beginning the project, the review team should be well educated by experts on the case in subject matter and relevant document selection. Informed participants will better streamline the review and prevent the turn over of irrelevant information or trade secrets. Review specialists for the case should also have experience with the document review platform itself, and be able to maintain protocols involving privilege, confidentiality, and case-specific issues.

 

Use Checklists to Keep the Review in Check.

Document review protocols must be organized, systematic, and able to be easily followed and maintained. A description of the protocol being used should involve a coding system that reviewers use to label or “tag” each document. Tags in review protocols vary from case to case but often include a version of the following.

 

  • Relevance. Include sub-tags like relevant, not relevant, hot, further review.
  • Privilege. Documents pertaining to privilege can be subdivided further to identify documents as privileged, unprivileged, or others.
  • Confidentiality. Subdivisions often include labeling documents as confidential, not confidential, or attorney-eyes only.

 

 

Let Technology Track the Review Process.

Technology-Assisted Review (TAR) cuts down on inefficiencies that present themselves during the ESI portion of a review. TAR software uses predictive coding that, when trained correctly, can quickly review a document and determine if it is relevant or irrelevant to the case. TAR requires use by legal professionals who are experts in the case under review to be effective, but when used appropriately, improves document review efficiency.

Additionally, all decisions made by the managing lawyer should be tracked in an official log and explained. Not only will the review log create a historical record that substantiates the review process, but will improve communication and accuracy for reviewer involved.

 

 

Final Document Production: Time and Format are Vital

Once all rounds of the review are complete, select the appropriate documents that will be produced. Quality control parameters set during the review protocol creation stage should be re-evaluated at this point. Ensure the final production set includes only documents intended for production to protect any confidential and privileged information. Allow the appropriate amount of time for production and always go over the final production to verify accuracy.

When utilizing a litigation support service company, like First Legal, maintain open communication with your document review partners. Greater communication between counsel and their selected third-party legal service provider will improve the efficiency and accuracy of the document review process. Ultimately, a good relationship created with a legal logistics company will substantiate the evidence being produced with greater confidence.

Document review and the myriad amount of sifting that comes with it is essential when preparing a case for litigation. Protect your case from costly remedial reviews, procedural errors, and breaches of privilege with the help of an outside document review provider.

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