By Matthew W. Miller, JD – Business Development Executive (Midwest Region)

The document review process is a crucial component of working in the legal industry. Getting it right can determine if a case is successful, and contributes to your reputation with clients and competitors. That’s why we’re breaking down the 5 practices you should adopt for successful document reviews.

1. Plan, Plan Again, then Plan Some More

A sports team wouldn’t go into a game without a game plan, so your legal team shouldn’t approach the discovery process without one either. Now is the time to strategize. That means setting the scope, making a schedule and evaluating available resources. Each member of the review team should know what their part in the process will be, so don’t neglect to define roles and responsibilities. Set clear expectations for each document reviewer so all tasks are out on the table and everyone can be held accountable to each other.

This is where Reveal’s platform can help. Reveal’s administrative tools function as a way to monitor the progress and tasks of reviewers. If the review process isn’t proceeding as scheduled and more team members need to be brought in to meet a deadline, you can make that adjustment early on.

Planning isn’t just advantageous to the review team. Oftentimes, clients want to know what costs they’ll be looking at, and planning ahead can help your team develop a clear picture of the review costs. The sales staff and project management team at Reveal offer a reasonable estimate of the costs that will go into processing and hosting, allowing you to provide a budget estimation for the client. Making plans and setting expectations is something you’ll thank yourself for down the road.

2. Develop SOPs for Legal Document Review

Legal document review can be a time consuming and stressful process, so having set procedures to fall back on and be a guide through the process is effective for maintaining productivity. That’s why defining your standard operating procedures (SOPs) is the best way to ensure a smooth and thorough legal document review process. Take the time to document the typical process your review team goes through when a review is successful. Then, turn the process into a definitive procedure that everyone is aware of and can follow.

Every time a new and better practice is learned, make improvements and add these changes to your SOP. Constant evaluation and improvement makes certain that your review team keeps up with the best practices in the industry and eliminates any common errors.

3. Recruit the Right Team Members

Finding and retaining competent document reviewers can make a review team prosper in the long term. Individuals who can keep up with the workload and contribute to developing an efficient SOP are an integral part of building a review workflow. Discovery is already a time-consuming process, so make a point to hire people with skills that will improve productivity. These team members will be the key factor in making sure you meet those court-imposed deadlines.

Review team members should also be competent with eDiscovery software use. Experienced reviewers will have a small learning curve when being introduced to a new platform. Reveal’s solution is user-friendly, especially for anyone experienced in using eDiscovery platforms.

Look for people with hard skills like project management, legal experience, subject matter expertise, EDRM management, and multi-lingual skills. Also, search for intangible qualities like being a team player, attention to detail, and excellent communication skills.

4. Enhance Coding Guidelines with Negative Instructions

When it comes to coding guidelines, pay attention to detail. The more clearly defined and detailed you make your goals for coding documents, the more efficient the eDiscovery process will be. Remember that what doesn’t qualify for specific codes is just as important as what does, so utilizing negative instructions is essential for weeding out non-responsive electronic documents.

Including more specific negative instructions and eliminating non-responsive documents can significantly decrease the amount of information the review team has to deal with, ultimately saving time and pinpointing the most actionable ESI. Using review software with advanced machine learning and predictive coding functionalities is essential for the success of this process.

5. Evaluate Your eDiscovery System

Choosing an eDiscovery solution can set the tone for your document review process, so law firms and legal teams have an important decision to make when evaluating the current system in use. There are critical questions you should ask when evaluating your electronic discovery solution. For example, does it manage all forms of electronically stored information (ESI)? Does it have multilingual capabilities? Does it ensure the preservation of evidence and quality control? Assess if your review software provides the essential functions, like built-in version control, duplication detection, and predictive coding.

Getting a bang for your buck is also a factor in evaluating your document review platform. Are you having to use multiple systems because one doesn’t have all the functions you need to conduct a thorough document review? An all-in-one solution like Reveal, where every function is included for one flat price, may be the more economical option for your organization and the more efficient platform for your review workflow.

Ask yourself, does your eDiscovery system enable both internal and external resources for project management? Does it enable communication tracking within the system? Does it have technology-assisted review (TAR) features? Asking these questions helps evaluate if your review team should consider how efficient your current system is, and if you should update to a more all-inclusive, cost-effective solution. An eDiscovery platform is table stakes in an already saturated marketplace, so having the best tools readily available for clients is an effective way of appearing competent.

Since Reveal’s platform offers the full package, 24/7 support is available with a subscription. Especially during this time when working conditions are uncertain, Reveal provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing workflows will not come to a halt if technical issues arise. Having this support available ensures a foolproof and successful legal document review process.