Managing eDiscovery Costs: Who Should Perform Your Document Review?
Here is the scenario: Your case is at the point when it is time to review some documents. The volume of data to be reviewed is not staggering, and the deadline for production is still a few months away. So you pull up your firm’s email directory to look for associates. Not just any old associates will do; you are looking for the associates who are the most efficient . . . no . . . the most accurate . . . nah . . . the least busy with other matters at the moment. Perfect. Whoever has a few hours to spare gets login credentials, a few minutes of brief training and then jumps onto the review platform and clicks away until another partner calls and assigns that person a more entertaining task.
Does this sound familiar? Do not be embarrassed if it does; you are not alone! Is there a better way? Yes, you bet there is!
Although keeping idle associates temporarily occupied with document review may seem like an efficient use of resources, it pales in comparison to organizing a well-trained, well-versed, consistent team of professional contract reviewers. This approach is not only more cost-effective, it is more efficient and produces a superior end product. Consider that traditional “linear” document review accounts for over 70 percent of e-discovery costs. By employing contract reviewers who bill at a fraction of associates’ rates, you can drastically reduce this expense and greatly reduce your overall e-discovery spend.
Furthermore, it is difficult to gauge how long the associates’ review will take because document review often shifts to the back burner when another task presents itself. With a team of full-time reviewers, it is quite easy to measure pace and accurately project when the team will complete your document review. Additionally, an associate who reviews documents for a few hours a day, a few times a week will not develop the same level of familiarity with the documents as a full-time reviewer whose sole job is to work through your documents. A rotating cast of available associates simply cannot produce results as consistent as a dedicated group of contract reviewers who are looking at your document set day in and day out from start to finish.
Another important fact to consider about today’s contract reviewers is that the pool of available reviewers is no longer limited to unemployed attorneys. Many are experienced, competent attorneys who for a variety of reasons have chosen to perform document review on a contract basis. Contract reviewers are dedicated professionals whose knowledge of and experience with current review software platforms often eclipse those of most of the attorneys at any firm. They are intimately familiar with the document review process, and the learning curve is shallow. That base of knowledge, training and experience brings with it efficiencies that part-time, less-interested associate reviewers simply cannot match. By teaming with a partner who engages in thorough contract attorney screening and hiring practices, you can build a team of professional, experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who will deliver a far more efficient, accurate and affordable review process.