After a decade of analytics and technology-driven workflows, document review is still the largest cost in the eDiscovery process. Industry experts estimate document review accounts for about 75% of total eDiscovery costs. Not only is document review very expensive, it has also become quite complex.
Traditional Document Review
Traditionally document reviews were handled by a group of young associates or temporary contract attorneys placed in a large conference room with sweatshop type conditions. The review team was typically provided a basic protocol and a quick presentation from a partner outlining the background of the case. From that point on, minimal supervision was provided beyond taking attendance. Any substantive questions were fielded by largely unqualified “senior” associates who often were only slightly more experienced. These “senior” associates knew little about, workflows, quality control or keeping people motivated. Moreover, most of attorneys doing the review loathed the work and would much rather prefer to be doing something of substance that would advance their careers. Instead, they sat in front of computers going through documents for hours on end, with little concern for their work quality. The results were predictable – i.e., incorrect tagging, missed privilege calls, poor quality control etc.
Managed Document Review
As a result of the inherent weaknesses of traditional document review, which was magnified by the ever-increasing amount of digital data, the solution of a “Managed Document Review” emerged, i.e. an outside vendor managed and staffed the review with competent, vetted review attorneys overseen by highly qualified review managers who implemented and supervised proven workflows and quality control procedures.
In contrast to traditional document review, a Managed Review has the key distinction of being led by a “Review Manager”, i.e., a seasoned eDiscovery professional and credentialed attorney with a high level of expertise and experience. This dedicated manager is the main point of contact for outside counsel and serves as the communication hub among counsel and the review team. The Review Manager knows what metrics to track and can perform all common review functions, such as document batching, coding pane modification, and QC. Thereby, eliminating the communication issues that often led to frequent delay or error. Accordingly, a Managed Document Review provides proven workflows and controls to maximize the productivity and efficiency of the review process.
Thus, a capable review team paired with expert review management equates to a far more accurate, efficient and less expensive review.
Below is a list of the key functions and aspects of a Managed Document Review that helps to provide a much more accurate and consistent work product than a traditional document review:
- Recruit, vet and supervise review attorneys
- Manage day-to-day operations of the review
- Participate in initial eDiscovery software training
- Manage workflow and schedules according to internal and external deadlines
- Monitor performance metrics such as the number of documents reviewed by individual attorneys and by the entire team each day, week, etc. and identifying those in need of coaching, re-training or termination
- Provide counsel guidance to the team of attorneys
- Identify issues related to morale, facilities, and administrative logistics
- Making recommendations to improve the quality or efficiency of the review
- Implement and oversee rigorous quality control processes