Document Review Best Practices for Law Firms, Legal Departments and ALSPs

May 9, 2024 Document Review Best Practices for Law Firms, Legal Departments and ALSPs

We’re delighted to be able to support your document review. We know these production deadlines are often urgent and stressful. Our extensive network of actively barred document review professionals is just a click away to help you meet your production deadline with minimal headaches.

To be sure this review is successful, we've outlined some best practices as a reference.

Stage 1: Deadline + Documents = Help Needed

1. Key Considerations:

a. Consider the types of documents to be reviewed and the level of effort required (text messages go quickly, contracts may take a while, factor this into your calculations).

b. Choose a software or alert your review software provider that you have a review gearing up so they can support you.

c. Create a case assessment, protocol, and coding menu to share with the reviewers so they know what they are looking for.

2. Proactively consider issues before the review begins:

a. Protective order? Consider specific confidentiality coding.

b. Search terms: Run a preliminary search with your terms to review the responses and make sure they make sense and you don’t need to adjust your search terms.

c. Outstanding objections: Resolve significant outstanding objections to types of documents (e.g., financial, health, or payroll) and categories of documents (e.g., emails from less relevant or privileged custodians) in advance.

3. Protocol building: When creating a protocol, be sure it includes the following:

a. Introduction to the case

b. Responsiveness

c. Confidentiality

d. Privilege

Stage 2: We’re Ready to Hire Document Reviewers

1. Try to determine how many additional reviewers you’ll need to hire based on your volume of documents and your deadline.

2. Factor in time for training and ramp up, expect a minimum of 24–48 hours for reviewers to hit their “cruising speed.” Pad your timeline for unexpected personal issues.

3. Assess team makeup and whether you need to hire a project manager or if you already have someone on your team who can take on this role be sure to assign it to them and explain their responsibilities. Whether you hire for this role or not, you must assign one person on your permanent team as the review's main point of contact.

4. Check conflicts for your review team and have them sign any confidentiality agreements you might need.

5. Choose a real-time collaboration tool like Slack or Teams to manage questions from the team. Email is not great for quick messages en masse and can end up creating more issues than it solves in a scenario like this.

6. Create daily review goals for your reviewers and be sure to communicate these to the reviewers in advance.

7. Set up a kick-off meeting and training call. It’s ideal to have all reviewers on one kick-off call so you can answer all questions at once. If everyone cannot attend, record the call so you don’t have to repeat yourself.

Stage 3: Managing an On-Going Review

1. Make sure one person is equipped and tasked with assigning batches if you are not allowing reviewers to check out their own batches.

2. Review metrics for progress daily.

3. Assess your timeline and budget regularly, consider approving overtime in order to meet production deadline.

4. If reviewers are falling behind, communicate early and often to improve their efficiency.

Stage 4: We Met our Deadline! Now What?

1. Make sure to let your Hire an Esquire contact know that the reviewers can be released from the project.

2. Take a moment and provide feedback on how the reviewers performed—remember that feedback from prior clients helped us pick the top performers for your project and you can pay it forward by taking just a few minutes to share your insights with us.

3. Keep us in mind for your next document review! Thank you!