Document review is a labor intensive process, and is the most integral part of e-discovery.
The document review process requires reviewers to check each and every page of the collected data and determine which documents are sensitive and relevant to the lawsuit.
However, with the introduction of electronic and digital documents, the relatively simple task of document review has become highly complex, tedious and time consuming. This is because, the numbers of documents like patents, letters to clients, emails, hr
documents, etc. that an organization produces have multiplied manifolds.
Hence, now the focus of document review project management, remains on reducing the involved costs, improving accuracy and fast tracking document reviews to meet the set deadlines. In short, not only good but also the most efficient work product. It has
been observed that grouping documents based on their subject matter instead of grouping them in a chronological order for forwarding them for review, can be an extremely efficient way to fast track document review.
Document Grouping and Review:
Usually, documents are segregated chronologically in batches and distributed for review. However, the major drawback here is that it becomes difficult to access the capabilities and productivity of reviewers as every batch has different complexity of documents.
The complexity of every group cannot be measured as the batches are grouped chronologically. Another disadvantage is that two documents that are chronologically positioned can have completely different concepts and be related to vastly different subjects,
and hence slow down the review process.
Concept batching is a relatively new trend in the eDiscovery circles. With concept searching, documents can be searched and grouped based on the theme, topics and what the documents are about. These conceptually batched documents can further be sent for
review. Here the benefit is that, since a single batch contains conceptually similar documents, the reviewer’s job becomes easy and hence productivity increases.
Use of Technology for Fast Document Culling:
As mentioned earlier, today the volumes of electronic documents generated in an organization are exponentially growing. Now, not all of these documents are relevant, there are lot of irrelevant documents, spam emails, chain mails, junk e-mails and adverts.
Technology assisted review, i.e predictive coding - uses the expertise of attorneys and machine learning techniques to sift out all the unnecessary and irrelevant documents and cull data so that reviewers get only the most relevant documents
for review. The first pass review also tags documents as confidential, ‘hot’ i.e. most important, for redaction, for further review etc. Documents that are deemed confidential, highly complex or most important are handled separately for the best outcomes.
Experience Counts, and Reviewer Retention Is the Key:
Document review is a skilled and a niche pursuit. Document reviewers require specialized knowledge of document review tools, Electronic Discovery Reference Model (ERDM) and need to have a deep understanding of litigation process.
In order to fast track a project and ensure the best outcomes, it is of prime importance to engage reviewers who are highly experienced. If reviewers are frequently replaced in an ongoing document review project, companies have to invest extra time efforts
and money to train these reviewers and allow them time to get acquainted to the requirements and work patterns followed for a particular project. Here the initial time taken to familiarize with the project and work patterns slows down the review process, besides
it takes reviewers some time before they start delivering the quality expected from them. Hence, apart from engaging the best reviewers it is also of great importance to retain them.