5 Tips for Implementing In-House Document Review

By Meg McLaughlin, Sr. Manager of Product and Content Marketing, Zapproved

Multi color houses on beachPop quiz: Which is growing faster – corporate data volumes or ediscovery expenses?

Trick question! The answer doesn’t matter, because they are each skyrocketing, and legal teams are on the hook for both.

As data storage becomes virtually limitless and new workplace technologies emerge, organizations and their employees are generating exponentially more data each year. Data retention policies can help, but the fact is that legal teams are responsible for preserving, collecting, and reviewing mountains of electronically stored information (ESI). We’re going to focus on the review side of things today.

In-house vs. Outsourced Document Review

Even in the face of growing data volumes, legal departments are receiving pressure to reduce legal spend. It’s no secret that data processing and review are the most expensive stage of the EDRM, but legal teams need a realistic option for reducing these costs.

Outsourcing everything is not sustainable precisely because of the growth of data. It’s simply too expensive, not to mention you are at the mercy of another company’s timelines.

On the flip side, in-house document review drives huge cost savings but you need to equip your team with the right tools. Most corporate legal review needs can be easily managed in-house, but what happens if you are facing a class action suit that would require hundreds of reviewers?

Save Money Without Overwhelming Your Team

We believe the most useful model is a hybrid approach to document review. Put the right tools and processes in place to allow you to handle the majority of your review in-house without overburdening your team. Reserve outside spend for large, highly complex, high risk cases – that’s what they do best, after all!

Another option is to simply process the data in-house, which allows you to dramatically reduce data volumes before sending to outside counsel. Because a typical third-party service might charge hundreds—or thousands—of dollars per hour for document review, even a small reduction in data volumes can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

How to Implement In-House Review

First, identify your gaps.

  1. Do you have the ability to process data? In other words, can you turn the ESI from multiple data sources into a format that is easily viewed and tagged. 
  2. Where does your processed data live? You’ll need a secure storage environment that will protect highly sensitive matter data.
  3. Do you have a review tool? Trying to rely on email systems or pdf viewers is labor intensive and potentially risky if metadata is altered in the act of reviewing documents. 
  4. Can you easily export data? When you do want to involve outside counsel, you need the ability to send *only* what you want them to review.

 

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