In a society of mass litigation, the need for litigation document review has never been greater. For over a decade now, speech-to-text technology has put tons of material into the hands of litigators and legal professionals on short notice. The sheer volume of documents for review means that even if you have years' worth of experience and no room left in your schedule, but why is it so important? Let us take a glimpse of its dynamics.
WHAT IS LITIGATION DOCUMENT REVIEW?
Litigation document review is a process employed by attorneys for the purpose of locating, retrieving, and analyzing any documents necessary for trial. The process necessitates a wide breadth of knowledge in order to be sufficiently effective. A competent litigator will familiarize him or herself with legal procedures and discovery rules, as well as the nuances that might arise during the discovery process. Litigation Review is a process by which an attorney or other third-party reviews and analyzes documents for legal matters. It can be done before or after discovery—the time in the litigation process when each side reveals relevant information to the other—but it may not be required in every case. The Litigation review might take place as part of a pre-trial motion, or it might happen during the trial. As such, Litigation Review is a step that one might encounter at any stage of the litigation cycle.
The Litigation review phase involves an investigation to determine whether information has evidentiary value in a legal action or claim. This phase may also be referred to as eDiscovery. It focuses on identifying relevant data and ensuring that only responsive documents are disclosed. The process uses forensic techniques developed for computer investigations such as identification and preservation of data from volatile storage devices and live systems; de-duplication; compression; encryption; hashing; network analysis; file signature
HOW DOES THE DOCUMENT REVIEW PROCESS WORK?
Currently, this is achieved via a combination of human and technical review teams. During the review of litigation, attorneys must be familiar with the legal and factual issues and make judgments regarding privileges and responsiveness. A team of contract attorneys or paralegals examines each document one at a time to determine whether it contains any relevant information in order to minimize costs. Despite the fact that these processes are becoming less labor-intensive due to advances in technology, they still represent the part of the EDRM where the greatest cost savings can be realized.
Most documents are deemed privileged, relevant, or responsive by paralegals or other document reviewers. Tags are used to indicate these designations. Also, reviewers may use case-specific tags to identify issues, sensitivity tags to identify "hot" or "smoking gun" documents, or helpfulness tags such as positive, neutral, or negative. Tags can be valuable attorney work products and should be retained for documents that may be involved in multiple litigation matters.
IMPORTANCE OF LITIGATION DOCUMENT REVIEW
1 – Importance of Litigation review is noticeable because each document reflects a fact or set of facts related to any issue in any case. The fact may be obvious from the writing or it may be more subtle. There may be one fact or any facts contained in a given document. The importance of each particular fact will vary with the case, but each document must first be examined for what it might contain as far as facts are concerned.
2 – Document review is essential because, if someone has reviewed all the documents previously produced by a party and has not made any objections at that time to their contents, then that party waives any further objection to those contents for purposes of this litigation. This means that everyone can look at everything without fear they will say something incriminating because they did not object when they were supposed to before the production of these documents in discovery (i.e., during document production).
3 – It allows the producing party to identify all relevant documents and then decide what should be designated as privileged (if something is produced) or what should be withheld as protected by a valid claim of privilege. If this identification process occurs early on, there will not be many challenges in court later during litigation when people are trying to figure out if they have to disclose certain items. This means that everyone can look at everything without fear they will say something incriminating because they did not object when they were supposed to before the production of these documents in discovery (i.e., during document production).
4 – Litigation review is also important because failure to read those documents may result in missing something a client needs for a case. When the client or an investigator is not reading every document, their task becomes much harder. This means that everyone can look at everything without fear they will say something incriminating because they did not object when they were supposed to before the production of these documents in discovery (i.e., during document production).
5 – Final reason that Litigation review is important because reviewing all relevant documents early on allows any party to bring them up if there are problems with the settlement discussions and mediation sessions so that alternatives may be considered. It also allows a party to quickly locate what it needs for pretrial preparation of its case as well as what will be needed for trial. For example, discovery statements can often contain documentary information relevant to your cases such as photographs of accident sites or experts' reports. There may be internal communications by company executives that reveal information about what really took place, the company's attitude toward its products and employees, or specific issues in litigation. When they are not read (i.e., reviewed) this internal information is often missed, causing later problems in cases because of lack of preparation to deal with it properly at trial.
A GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT DOCUMENT REVIEW SOFTWARE
Using the right e-discovery software, in-house teams can initiate legal holds easily, conduct targeted preservation and collection, process data at hyper speed, and review documents with confidence.
Since a typical third-party service might charge hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour for document review, even a small reduction in outsourcing can have a significant impact. Therefore, many corporate legal teams are reducing costs by conducting some or all of their e-discovery in-house. Teams can also benefit from in-house document review by speeding up case resolution and improving data security. Corporate legal departments can bring routine document review in-house with modern, cloud-based e-discovery software that requires minimal training and staff resources while providing significant cost savings and security.
Before choosing a document review software, keep these things in mind.
- MAKE THE MOST OF MODERN, CLOUD-BASED APPLICATIONS
An in-house cloud-native processing application is a great way for legal teams to save time and money and improve data security during e-discovery. Make sure the solution is built on a true cloud architecture. Security should not be compromised. Get a feel for the software by taking it for a spin. Taking a big decision requires an in-depth understanding of the details.
- START GETTING ORGANIZED
In order to begin the culling process, you must have your data in the system and lay the foundation for successful eDiscovery. Every step of the process will be quicker with an organized and correctly loaded dataset. From storing your data logically to using consistent naming conventions, everything will help.
- FOLLOW THE LINES
Meeting with opposing counsel under 26(f) should determine what culling criteria will be used to identify potentially responsive data sets (i.e. priority custodians, date ranges, search terms, domain culling, etc.). Searching for relevant data can be culled to reduce the overall volume before sending it to an external reviewer.
- ADVANCE YOUR REVIEW SKILLS
After you have processed and culled the data to remove non-responsive information, you can begin reviewing the documents. Modern e-discovery software provides features such as Keyword highlighting, viewing email threads, stemmed searches, and tagging content that is relevant.
The legal profession is a lucrative one. However, it can be quite complex and confusing. Getting into the industry can require years of experience in law school as well as on-the-job training. Not every attorney needs all this time or money to hone their skills. Litigation document review has become an emerging profession that lawyers in particular can turn to for work when they need a quick break from hours of research, writing briefs, and other similar activities that are typical of the job. In fact, many individuals who have already obtained their law degrees are opting for litigation document reviews rather than taking on more traditional jobs in order to earn higher incomes with less effort than they would have put into them otherwise.
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