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Case Study: Leading Energy Company

Conducting a High-Volume, Fast-Paced Managed Review On Time and Under Budget

The Opportunity

A large energy company, facing a contentious regulatory proceeding, needed to review 1 million complex, technical documents within 30 days. Due to the highly sensitive information contained in the documents, thorough and time-consuming redaction was required.

Solution Summary

  1. Our Project Manager assessed the review protocol and the proposed workflow and then provided feedback and direction to the client and outside counsel
  2. The Project Manager worked with outside counsel to clarify instructions and address question
  3. Maintained an active decision log to ensure consistent tagging and accuracy throughout the review
  4. Hosted review in our state-of-the-art TurnKey Legal Center
  5. Hosted biweekly status calls to keep client and outside counsel abreast of all progress


Led by the Special Counsel Project Manager, our team of more than 100 document review attorneys reviewed all of the documents on time and saved the client $250,000.

The Goal

To find a proven partner who could work with outside counsel and deliver a successful Managed Review under a strict deadline.

Key Stats

100+ Experienced Document Reviewers

910,000+ Complex Documents Reviewed

97.3% Accuracy Rate

$250,000 Under Budget

Read the full case study:


A large energy company found itself embroiled in a contentious regulatory proceeding that required the review of 1 million documents within a month. The subject matter was complex and technical, and many of the documents required thorough redaction in order to protect sensitive proprietary information.

The client engaged Special Counsel as a preferred partner to work with their outside counsel and to conduct a Managed Review under a strict deadline.

Business Challenges

The case was extremely high-profile and expensive, and the client demanded cost certainty related to the Managed Review. Special Counsel recommended a per-document pricing structure. This arrangement provided the client with added assurance that they would stay within budget, regardless of the complex subject matter or length of documents that needed to be reviewed.

Special Counsel suggested hosting the review in our nearby TurnKey Legal Center, which was located in a lower-cost-market, to generate additional savings. The technology available in the Center allowed outside counsel to interface with the team as if all parties were working together in one location.

Our Solution

Prior to the launch of the Managed Review, the Project Manager assessed the review protocol and the proposed workflow and provided feedback to the client and outside counsel. To further ensure an efficient kickoff, the Project Manager collaborated with outside counsel to clarify review instructions, field and answer questions, and confirm that Special Counsel's stringent quality control process was adhered to by the review team.

The Project Manager recognized the technical subject matter inherent in the case and carefully selected reviewers with pertinent scientific backgrounds. Once in place, the team received robust and substantive training.

To create consistent tagging and an accurate work product, the Project Manager routinely updated and distributed the decision log with substantive guidance based on counsel's ongoing feedback.

Special Counsel executed a precise quality control process tailored to the advanced subject matter of the case. During the first week of the review, the Project Manager, along with the Quality Control Team, reviewed 10 percent of the documents. The Project Manager then investigated the errors and found that 83 percent of the mistakes were made on highly scientific and specific subsets of documents that represented three topic areas. With the approval of outside counsel, the Project Manager arranged for a subject matter expert to train the team of 100+ reviewers on those specific topics, immediately resulting in a double-digit decrease in the error ratio.

In the early stages of the review, outside counsel conducted their own quality control on the documents reviewed by Special Counsel. However, counsel quickly gained confidence in our accuracy, and reduced their quality control activity in order to focus on the substantive merits of the case. In the final stages of the review, the Project Manager developed additional targeted searches which included sweeps in the database to further demonstrate consistent coding.

Biweekly status calls were hosted with the client and outside counsel to provide clarity and updates on the progress of the review. Offering additional detail and communication, the Project Manager composed comprehensive daily reports that contained critical metrics, including the number of documents reviewed, the number of documents remaining to be reviewed and other relevant data.

The Project Manager also created and assigned batches of documents, ran searches in the database, and distributed a glossary of industry terms and acronyms to help the reviewers understand the content. By following this process, the Project Manager identified search terms that were not associated with responsive documents and removed several search terms from the filtering process. This measure removed 10 percent of the documents from the review, significantly reducing the cost of the project.

Outcomes / Highlights

Special Counsel reviewed 910,901 documents. Twelve percent underwent our standardized and extensive quality control process, resulting in a 97.3 percent accuracy rate.

Special Counsel's focus on quality, communication and transparency allowed the project to be completed on time. Leveraging the Project Manager's initiative and insight, Special Counsel greatly reduced the client's overall costs associated with the project. The isolation of topics requiring additional training alone saved the client over $75,000 and, in total, this successful review was delivered $250,000 under budget.

"We could not have done this without the Special Counsel Project Manager and review team. Their attention to detail and overall dedication to this case is illustrated by the strong work product yielded."

- Outside Counsel's Lead Partner

"The feedback from my outside counsel has been nothing but praise for the Special Counsel team… I truly appreciate all of their assistance in ensuring that the deadline was met, and the fact that the project was completed $250,000 under budget was definitely a win for my company internally."

- Client's Senior Counsel

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