Recent advances in legal technology and software have triggered a major shift in the scale and depth of document review. Doc review is being re-examined by legal professionals and law firms alike as a result of this shift. Specifically, doc review specialists have a thorough understanding of how the discovery process works. Moreover, they must understand the nuances such as keywords or phrases and the role information plays in the overall strategy of litigation document review. The ability to adhere to quality control standards and pay close attention to detail of litigation document review are essential. The ability and willingness of law firms to learn and use new technology may need to be added to this list as technological advances occur.

But perhaps more importantly, litigation document review specialists are being seen through the lens of creativity and innovation. The industry is changing, and four trends are changing the way law firms and legal professionals work. These are litigation document review trends that are reshaping the industry, and what they mean for law firms and legal professionals.

Artificial Intelligence-Driven Automation

A computerized model of human thought processes is the goal of artificial intelligence, also known as cognitive computing. The legal industry is no different. A.I. is responsible for litigation document review. Using a search engine, we can sift through massive amounts of data and pinpoint relevant information. An example of this is when A.I. Using software, 33,000 hours of audio recordings were analyzed and then consolidated down to just 140 hours, saving the defendant millions of dollars and decreasing review time by 99%.

Nevertheless, results such as these do not happen simply by installing a program and then sending it a huge amount of data. Whether a firm uses high-level associates to review electronic documents, contract attorneys, or cognitive computing, legal professionals will always be needed. The programs must be taught to recognize useful patterns by savvy litigation document review professionals. Businesses that are integrating artificial intelligence. In order for the software to work with their existing processes, they'll need to teach it. Eventually, even law firms that integrate artificial intelligence will benefit. To provide the most efficient and cost-effective service for their clients, technology will still require attorney-supervised litigation document review strategies.

The Explosion of E-Discovery

This year, the big trend in document review is that there will be more electronic discovery than ever before—and it's likely to keep growing. In some industries, such as banking and insurance, it already accounts for 50 percent or more of all litigation costs. When you couple this with the fact that most companies don't have centralized IT departments anymore but rather decentralized IT "islands" (i.e., individual units within a company control their own electronic systems), this means that in most companies, there is no one person who understands their legal department needs or their IT group's capacity. The result is that it is difficult to manage and impossible to forecast the costs of an e-discovery project. As a result, many companies are engaging in what we call "runaway discovery." In this scenario, as soon as the lawyers enter litigation with another party (or even just the threat of litigation), they simply demand all electronically stored information ("ESI") on keywords from day one without a shred of planning or budgeting. This has led to some very vocal complaints on both sides as well as skyrocketing cost overruns for projects where undertakings that should have taken six months were dragged out over two years. agreements, companies can not only avoid runaway discovery but also strive to find ways to reduce the overall cost of e-discovery.

Investing in Innovative Legal Sourcing

Known also as "alternative legal sourcing," smart sourcing involves using non-attorneys for specific legal tasks, and it's getting more popular both with in-house legal counsel and law firms. There are fewer people going to law school today than ten years ago, so there are fewer attorneys available. Moreover, retainer budgets are decreasing, so the legal market is forced to get creative in filling some of its understaffed positions.

Litigation document review and e-discovery fall within this group, which means that more law firms are using paralegals, legal assistants, law students, and litigation support personnel to handle this work, which is great news for detail-oriented legal professionals. Further, high-speed internet and telecommuting have made remote work an option for some, and they are able to carry out their duties from the comfort of their own homes.

Streamlined Storage

E-discovery and document review involve a large volume of documents that go through various processes to reach a conclusion (withholding, information governance, the end of an internal investigation, etc.). 

A single, easy-to-access location for tracking and storing this information allows case teams to save already completed work. In this way, they can access and reuse the data in the future. Costs, effort, and scale can be negatively impacted by redundant casework. The bottom line of a law firm can be greatly impacted by an integrated case management platform. All relevant documents can be linked using Relativity, Summation, Concordance, and Ringtail platforms for cost control and consistency on all litigation or defense teams. These platforms should be familiarized with by legal professionals interested in reviewing documents. Law firms that implement these platforms will be in a strong position to hire and retain top legal talent.

It doesn't matter if you're an experienced lawyer or just starting out, document review is an exciting field that requires the best of both traditional and emerging skills. Document review has been a fact of life for years because of the increased discovery obligations imposed on litigants. However, until recently it was just something that had to be done in litigation cases—not something that sophisticated companies thought about as part of their risk management programs. Traditional document review involved paper documents and relied upon people reviewing those documents—which is very time-intensive and expensive to do properly. In recent years, however, it has rapidly evolved and is constantly impacting the legal industry with each passing day with its growth and development. 

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