In my previous blog posts How to trim eDiscovery costs part one: Laying the groundwork, How to trim eDiscovery costs part two: Review fewer documents and review efficiently, and How to trim eDiscovery costs part three: Leverage technology by adding tools and apps to your review, I discussed reducing eDiscovery costs by:
- Taking the time to set the stage before documents are exchanged
- Leveraging analytics to send fewer documents to review
- Adding tools and apps to enhance your review.
In the next few weeks I will share more of our practical tips in this series of short articles. Here is Part 4 – Set your review team up for success. These tips will help gain efficiencies in your review project and save on review costs.
Human document review is normally the most expensive part of eDiscovery. Good preparation and active oversight can streamline the review, save on costs and improve quality.
1. Build a team with depth
The Review Team should consist of not only the review lawyers who do the first pass reviewing and coding but key members of the litigation team should also form part of the Review Team including a partner or other senior member(s). While they will not normally be doing the first pass review, they should participate in quality assurance, be available for questions, review key documents and participate in regular meetings. The Review Team should also include an eDiscovery professional. Getting the litigation team members active in the review process from the outset will not only save on eDiscovery costs, it will help gain valuable insight into the data and enhance case strategy.
2. Consistent team
Keeping a consistent Review Team for the duration of the project is ideal. There is a lot of information sharing and learning throughout a review project and particularly near the beginning of a project. Review Team members that join mid-project will have missed out on important discussions and learning opportunities. Retaining reviewers for the duration of the project keeps valuable knowledge and insight about the data available to the client and litigation team. In my experience, review lawyers who have chosen document review as a long-term career path are generally the most successful Review Team members. It can be difficult to achieve the same level of consistency and engagement from associates juggling priorities or contract lawyers who are actively job searching.
3. Give the review team good background information
Providing the Review Team with as much information as possible will help them in their analysis. Things such as timelines, a cast of characters, a list of acronyms, pleadings, orders, etc. contain helpful information. The review instructions should be as clear and comprehensive as possible. These instructions will inevitably require amendments as the review progresses so making sure the latest version is accessible to the review team is important. It is also helpful if you can attach example documents to the instructions. Uploading the review instructions and background documents to the review platform helps ensure the most current information is easily accessible and keeps sensitive information secure.
4. Software training
Spend time training the Review Team on the software. If you have review lawyers on staff it might be worthwhile sending them for certifications through the software company or hire reviewers who
already have certifications. Reviewers who are proficient with the software will hit the ground running and leverage the technology to maximize efficiency.
5. Regular communication
Have regular meetings with the Review Team. These meetings should include all reviewers, members of the litigation team particularly more senior members, an eDiscovery team member and sometimes the client. Encourage dialogue. Ask questions of the reviewers: what have they found that is interesting? Are they seeing types of documents that are repetitive or not important? Encourage questions. These meetings should be frequent in the early days of the review and then scheduled regularly. These meetings can be a great opportunity for all stakeholders to learn about the data and the case. Consider using collaborative software to share documents, ideas and minutes from meetings. We use collaborative software to manage Review Team question and answers so that information and instructions are being shared among the entire team. It also provides a record for future reference.
6. Monitor productivity
Run regular productivity reports. A reviewer moving too slowly might require further training, or perhaps they are simply receiving documents with large page counts. You might discover that their internet speed is not sufficient. Sometimes you discover that they are simply not productive and not a good fit for the project. On the flip side, a reviewer that is reviewing far more documents than the rest of the team is probably moving too quickly and will run into quality issues. You also want to keep an eye on how many hours per day a reviewer is working. Set a maximum number of working hours per day. Document review requires sharp focus and attention to detail which is hard to maintain for hours on end. Productivity and quality suffer when reviewers are putting in long days. Gaining visibility into reviewer habits early in the project gives you the opportunity to make adjustments and get back on track quickly.
7. Quality assurance and results monitoring
Quality Assurance should begin at the outset. When QA keeps pace with the review project it gives the litigation team early insight into the data and allows for timely adjustments. For example, you will normally discover documents that can be culled from the review set thereby further reducing the eDiscovery costs.
Having an engaged and collaborative Review Team will not only reduce your eDiscovery costs but will result in a more successful review. My next post will cover tips for reducing your hosting costs by archiving unnecessary data.
Please reach out to me at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments or to share your own tips.
If you would like to read the entire How to trim eDiscovery costs series, the posts can be found here:
How to trim eDiscovery costs part one: Lay the groundwork
How to trim eDiscovery costs part two: review fewer documents and review efficiently
How to trim eDiscovery costs part three: Leverage technology by adding tools and apps to your review
How to trim eDiscovery costs part five: Archive unnecessary data from your workspace