Document review is an increasingly difficult problem for many law firms and companies during litigation. The vast amount of data, communications, documents, and other information falls somewhere between overwhelming to crushing, to essentially impossible. Litigants and attorneys are under pressure to locate the produce relevant documents during the discovery process, which can be extremely costly.
Attorneys demand seemingly limitless amounts of data and information as a strategic way to burden the opposing party, while also trying to gather the information needed to advance their cases. On the flip side, parties also strategically “dump” documents and information on an opposing party, giving them the burden of somehow wading through all of the information. Again, all of this comes at a hefty price.
Law firms and their clients are often tempted to hire companies that employ offshore workers to get through a production or a review as quickly and cheaply as possible. But this strategy may come at a steep price.
Discovery is a critical component to many litigation matters. A litigant can win or lose a case during discovery.
Outsourcing document review is often necessary due to cost and attorneys available to handle this work within a firm. But use caution. Law firms have been sued for malpractice for allegedly failing to adequately supervise their document review attorneys in violation of their ethical duty of competence. J-M Manufacturing v. McDermott Will & Emery (2011). A firm cannot discharge its duty of competence by bringing in an outside document review attorney team. Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1. The firm ultimately remains responsible for the document review attorneys’ work. Model Rule of Professional 5.1.
When faced with a large document review, a law firm should make every attempt to bring in competent document review attorneys who are experienced and knowledgeable in the matters at issue. Be cautious of document review companies that use quotas. Some companies essentially force their document review attorneys to rush through reviews in order to meet a minimum review pace, which may be unrealistic depending on the documents and/or the subject matter. While speed is important, it cannot take priority over accuracy.
Outside document review attorneys can be an important part of a discovery strategy. Montage Legal Group works with many freelance attorneys who have extensive document review experience, and who actually enjoy document review projects. Yes, that is correct! If you have questions about document review through Montage Legal Group, you can reach out to us at [email protected].