Managed Review – A Recipe for Success
Managed review companies are popping up all over the place these days. What is managed review and why is it all the rage, from new company startups to large corporations with a footprint in e-discovery and litigation support?
The simple idea behind managed review is that a law firm, corporation, NGO or government entity engages a company to handle a document review process. Typically the document review occurs outside the client’s physical location, and the process is managed by a project manager or management team within the managed review provider.
The simple purpose of managed review is one of efficiency, cost savings and having a dedicated e-discovery project manager lead a team of attorneys through a document review project. Law firm clients have more time to practice law and communicate with their clients. Corporate legal departments engaging managed review vendors can save significant costs versus rates charged by their outside counsel.
Here are some basic ingredients that will make a managed review project successful.
Managed Review Entity Due Diligence
With so many managed review startups around, it is ultimately important to properly vet a managed review vendor for financial stability, longevity in the e-discovery market, references from current and past customers and corporate ownership. E-discovery is a risky business; make sure your managed review vendor and e-discovery partner is an organization that is accountable and stable to mitigate risk in each project.
Experience with e-Discovery Technology
Document review best practices, procedures and processes do not spring from a vacuum. Their development is a constant iterative process that is influenced by ESI processing, production specifications and legal issues surrounding the particular matter at hand. A managed review company should have not only project managers with extensive experience with document review, but also a team that includes legal professionals and e-discovery and review platform technical staff.
Today managed review companies must have a working knowledge of the use of analytics and technology-assisted review. Knowing how data was processed, what searches were applied and whether analytics or TAR was used gives crucial context to a document review. This context is necessary for project managers analyzing review results.
Security in e-discovery is ultimately important in so many ways. Choose a managed review company that protects ESI from start to finish and can back that up with documentation, procedures and security certifications. This applies to data systems where ESI is hosted, state-of-the-art firewalls, nondisclosure agreements for employees and physical security at managed review and hosting facilities.
This can be a source of frustration in many document review relationships. Document review is expensive, and the outcome of the review can have a major impact on a client’s matter. Look for a managed review partnership that prioritizes communication in both written processes and procedures and the everyday behavior of its employees and principals. This commitment to communication extends not only to the client, but also to other stakeholders in the e-discovery and document review portions of projects. Look for communication tools such as daily or weekly reporting that are built into project management workflows and processes.
Managed Review Staff
Does the managed review company employ full-time document review project managers? Does it have dedicated IT professionals on staff? Full-time employees provide consistency, reliability and predictability over the life of a review and from matter to matter.
What hours of the day and night are the review company’s services available for questions, customer service or emergencies? Many e-discovery matters are international in scope and require around-the-clock communication.
Document Review Procedures, Processes and Best Practices
Document review projects are very rarely the same from project to project. Inquire about standard review and quality control workflows. Determine if the vendor has the experience and ability to design custom review and quality control processes to meet a client’s specifications. Look for document review processes, documentation and workflows that conform to industry best practices to ensure a defensible and accurate end result.
Attorney Reviewer Training and Experience
At the heart of each review is the licensed attorney who manually reviews each document. Training, experience and management of reviewers can really make a difference in the quality and efficiency of a review. Ask specifically about training procedures. What are the minimal requirements for document reviewers? What are the vetting procedures and processes for potential reviewers? Does the vendor engage in background checks and reach out to professional references?
Look for quality control workflows and best practices. Inquire about the ability to customize quality control processes in reviews with unique requirements. Does the managed review provider have experienced quality control reviewers? How are first level reviewers given feedback on review performance? What kind of final safety checks are built into the review process after first level and quality control reviews are finished?
These are the principal ingredients to a successful document review with a managed review vendor. Taking the time to find the right managed review partner can not only make a document review less expensive, but also improve outcomes, reduce risk and make the process less stressful.