Managed document review

You’ve all been there. Looming deadlines require you to have the data reviewed stat, but the expense is enough to make you hesitate. Whether it is for a government request, an internal investigation or a litigation, cost is a primary consideration in any case. Organizations have started to turn towards managed document review as a way to control these costs.

It is essential to have an organized workflow in place to ensure there is a monitoring of the budget and the case logistics. Service providers that approach discovery without a management component can most certainly place your case at risk for sanctions.

Although the costs of managed review seem higher at the outset, these reviews save thousands of dollars for the end client and the firm when compared to a linear document review workflow. A managed document review spearheaded by a service provider with an attorney at the realm, allows the client to effectively communicate and collaborate with the project manager to create a review structure and workflow that meets the needs of their cases.

How Managed Document Review Benefits You

1. Keep Your Focus on the Case

Project managers allow the paralegals, associates and partners billing at higher rates to keep their day jobs. The billable hours of the firm are not spent in the minute-by-minute management of the review team. Trying to prepare for depositions, file motions, and draft briefs at this same time is challenging. Having a review managed will alleviate the extra work that comes with a review, by giving the responsibility to the project manager.

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Role of Project Managers in Managed Document Review

The project manager identifies the contract attorneys best suited to serve as quality control reviewers or other relevant roles beyond first review. The project manager also works closely with the client to ensure they are involved in the discovery process, thereby mitigating claims that the firm attorneys were not ultimately responsible for the work product.

Project manager responsibilities typically start before the review in assisting with creation of review manuals, developing training structures and serving as points of contact for eDiscovery service providers.

An document review matter that includes anywhere from 4-150+ contract attorneys, should include a project manager whose sole focus is to:

  • Manage day-to-day operations of the review
  • Participate in initial eDiscovery software training and retraining of staff through a cases life cycle
  • 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
  • Develop review resources such as acronym lists and disseminate protocol changes and counsel guidance to the team of attorneys
  • Identify issues related to morale, facilities, and administrative logistics and then collaborate with staffing resources to ensure resolution
  • Making recommendations to improve the quality or efficiency of the review
  • Ensure a highly accurate and consistent work product

2. Defensibility as a Top Priority

Ever find yourself in the situation where the eDiscovery portion of your case needs to be justified to the courts or governing body? If not, then great! Here’s to hoping that is never the case. If it were the case however, project managers are versed in reporting and monitoring every aspect of the eDiscovery review that otherwise may slip through the cracks.

Consistent and Accurate Work Product

Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that once an associate or partner provides a discovery review training, all of the contract attorneys will correctly and consistently code according to the protocol. One way to ensure your case stays out of the red is to ensure the product being reviewed, produced or identified internally is correct with the protocol application provided to the contract attorneys. This is done by performing Quality Control (QC). Project managers perform quality control to monitor the accuracy of a work product.

Early implementation of quality control process in a document review is important to prevent miss-clicks or inadvertent coding from becoming a critical and potentially costly issue. Well-versed project managers would request the client’s legal team to regularly conduct a review of random documents in the database in order to provide feedback to the review team. This ensures that the review team has understood the training and the documents are being coded in the manner most helpful in developing the case.

3. Maximize Efficiencies

Whether it’s your first discovery matter or your 100th case, just one error may mean the difference between being under budget or being grossly over budget. Small items can have an inordinately large impact on case costs. Using an experienced project manager takes some of the risks away. Working with an expert in eDiscovery project management during the initial stages can help you identify potential issues and navigate them successfully before you are in the red. Project managers are very effective at managing the unexpected and assisting clients with initial estimates to ensure the client remains on target.

Time and time again I witness clients go it alone and then circle back for a project manager or even worse, try to manage it internally without being fully versed in the logistics of eDiscovery. In both instances the worst factor is usually the large invoices waiting at the end.

With so many moving pieces in even a seemingly small review, why start out without a plan? Better yet, choose a project manager that has proven success, high work product track record and notable clients. Start out with someone who already has a plan in place on how to help you facilitate your firm or client needs.

[callout-box ctatitle=”You could save $1 million dollars with managed review.” ctacopy=”Special Counsel’s proven managed review experience and understanding to control costs led this client to save 1$ million in this case study.” ctalink=”” ctalinktext=”See managed review in action.” /]