Legal document review or the Discovery phase of litigation is when both parties in a legal case analyze and sort through data and documents. Sometimes during this review, documents that may contain sensitive information or privileged information will be considered.
In this article, we take a closer look at the legal document review process, its purpose, automations, and the steps typically included.
What is Legal Document Review?
Legal document review is a process where both parties in a lawsuit assess the documents surfaced during the “Discovery” phase of litigation. The attorneys and their clients analyze these documents and decide their relevance to the case.
The discovery phase of litigation is when each party might request documents from the other party. The other party might then hand over documents. The requesting party has time to review all of the documents to find out if they have relevance to the case in question. Then, document reviewers will review them further to ascertain if they contain sensitive or privileged information.
Legal document review is an essential part of the litigation process. Through reviewing documents flagged as evidence, lawyers can construct the case they need to prosecute or defend their case. They can also, eliminate redundant, misleading, or excessive documents that would otherwise interfere with or slow down the litigation process.
Who Carries out a Legal Document Review?
Legal document reviews are usually carried out by qualified attorneys or law students who are studying for the bar exam. The document reviewer will look at each specific document and code it for things like privilege, confidentiality, and responsiveness.
After a reviewer has gone over a document, it is sent to the Quality Control (QC) team of attorneys who review it. A good document reviewer will build a solid foundation for any lawsuit, whether they work for the prosecution or for the defense.
This can be a long, tedious, and costly process when done manually. That’s why there are AI tools that can help with the review process.
Legal Document Review Software
The discovery phase of litigation can produce hundreds of documents, all of them with potential relevance to the lawsuit. Legal document review software is available to help ease the process. Any time you’re faced with organizing large amounts of documents and data for review, AI and digitally-assisted tools will increase the speed and accuracy of search and document collation.
As an attorney, it is not always easy to find the right legal documentation software developed for your particular needs.
When choosing your legal document review software, you’ll want to consider the following:
Understand the Legal Software Bill of Rights
Assess your particular needs and requirements, e.g., What kind of documents do you need to find ?
Assess coding ability - do you want to code the documents yourself or have a third party do the code for you? Think about the level of experience you need in programming and if anyone else on your team already has sufficient coding skills.
Make yourself familiar with features, reviews, and the history of the software and the company producing it. Some software might need to be integrated with other systems.
Once you have decided on the best legal document review software for your organization, you’ll want to think about training your teams on it. Another option is hiring a third party to implement and oversee the eDiscovery process including software management.
Legal Document Review Services
No matter how many documents, there are to review, or how strict the deadlines are, eDiscovery is beneficial as it allows you to process documents and electronic material to use in litigation. eDiscovery services allow an organization to have all documentation reviewed in one stage, reducing the amount of time, cost, and scope of discovery. Efficient eDiscovery allows the litigation process to proceed smoothly.
The legal document review process can be complex and time-consuming. For attorneys and law firms today, being able to automate some of these documentation processes can be useful, saving time and money.
Legal document review services allow legal professionals to outsource the eDiscovery process, thereby increasing quality and efficiency. Some of these services integrate AI technology as a team of professionals manage the process.
Document Review Companies
It is possible to conduct document review within legal departments or legal teams, but it is beneficial to outsource legal review to qualified professional reviewers. Employing document review companies can increase the speed and accuracy of a review process. They may be able to suggest changes, and provide accurate results and summaries of the documents provided through the discovery phase of litigation.
If you are a law firm or legal department, UnitedLex can help with your legal document review process. Learn more about litigation support services and managed review services.
Read a case study on dramatic data reduction and time sensitive document review.
Download a whitepaper on Digital-Enabled Discovery and Review.
UnitedLex is a technology and legal services, company committed to delivering full-scale Digital Legal Transformation. The world’s most forward-thinking law departments rely on the company’s expertise in over 25 global jurisdictions. Founded in 2006, the team includes 3,000 legal, engineering, and technology professionals with major operations in 18 countries. For more information, contact us.
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