Making Document Review Painless – A 10 Step Process

First Reviewed : June 7, 2019
Last Reviewed: June 7, 2019

“Doing more with less” is the new legal mantra, particularly in litigation services. This mantra can be trickiest to implement in eDiscovery. Document reviews can end up becoming lengthy, expensive, and convoluted if you are not well-prepared. Special Counsel recently came up with ten steps for achieving a workflow that will prepare you for your next eDiscovery project[1].

1. Setting Goals

Understanding the objective of your project, be it production, investigation, privilege, deposition preparation, or witness or expert preparation, will lay the foundation for your workflow design.

2. Nature of Review

While Native Review is the review of ESI content in its native source format, Image Review is the conversion of ESI to image format. A time and cost-efficient approach would be to begin with Native Review and request responsive images and/or redacted documents as and when required.

3. Level of Review

Determine the depth to which you need to analyze your data and the levels of review you need to conduct. For eg: First level review, Second level review, Quality check review, and Attorney level review. Understanding the level of review the particular project requires will help you decide the size of your team.

4. Number of Documents

The number of documents you need to review will decide the time your team needs to allocate to this project. Data volumes also significantly affect workflows and project costs. To stick to you project timelines, you should conduct custodian interviews to understand the data before you receive the documents[2].

5. Roles and Responsibilities

Determining the designations and responsibilities of your team will help you assign access rights, streamline the flow of work, and meet deadlines. Ideally, your team should have enough number of review attorneys, a lead attorney, and a Project Manager[3].

6. Coding Information

Understanding the objective of your project, be it production, investigation, privilege, deposition preparation, or witness or expert preparation, will lay the foundation for your workflow design.

7. Customization

You may need to customize your workflow on the basis of tasks such as batching, reviewer batch sets, quality control, searches, search terms, search reports, key terms etc. Choosing these rights wisely will prevent digressions from the document review workflow.

8. Access

Depending on the designation of the reviewer, you can choose between full administrative rights, minimal editing with full review rights, or administrative rights with fewer restrictions. Tweaking access to documents for external parties such as co-counsel and consultants is crucial for maintaining confidentiality. Hold internal discussions to discern what documents these external parties should be allowed to view, access, and/or edit. Managing permissions to the database is a task unto itself and one which you should take seriously.

9. Technology

There are many eDiscovery applications floating around. Spending considerable amount of time on these to discover which one is most appropriate for your project can work wonders for your workflow. Audit tools, discover each one’s benefits, arrive at one that is suitable for you, and train your team prior to beginning the project. Some noteworthy technologies are near-duplicate detection, email threading, categorization, and predictive coding[1].

10. Buffers

It is important to set aside time for circumstances for which you can’t prepare yourself. Changes to client budgets, resources, and complications in the workflows can delay results. A buffer in your workflow can accommodate such changes and ensure you stay on budget and meet your deadline.

Document review need not be a painful process. By dedicating enough time and energy to planning, strategizing, and designing case-by-case workflows, you will meet deadlines, improve accuracy, increase efficiency, and save costs on your document review projects.

For over 14 years, LegalEase Solutions has been providing corporate legal departments and law firms innovative support with their document review, legal research, Contract Lifecycle Management, compliance, and on-demand legal operations. Our team recently fast-tracked a review of 300,000+ documents for a Fortune 500 finance company, saving them 75% of their cost and time. If you are interested in streamlining your document review process, reach out to us at Our team of expert attorneys is happy to help.




Share the Post: