The work of legal and eDiscovery professionals is often tedious, and in many cases, this is a direct result of legal document review. If you’ve never found yourself curled into the fetal position when dealing with this task, you’re among a special few. However, careful attention to the right document review process steps can be a true time saver.
Proper doc review is necessary to identify evidence relevant to a case and remove sensitive and privileged information. eDiscovery software like Logikcull can prove invaluable in this endeavor, but professionals should still understand the best document review guidelines and how to expedite their work.
Step 1: Cull Unnecessary Documents
The legal document review process involves an insane amount of data and information. After all, it’s not just documentation that’s relevant to a case on hand. There’s also an abundance of irrelevant data, privileged information, spam, and general noise. By culling these documents before moving onto other document review process steps, you can save time and resources, cut costs, improve accuracy, and mitigate risk.
However, streamlining this step is often easier said than done. If it wasn’t, everyone would already be doing it. Utilizing discovery software to automate this process can make an effective document review process easier.
As an example, with Logikcull the data culling happens automatically. Upon ingestion, all your data will get automatically deduplicated, indexed, and organized in Amazon-like filters that allow you to parse through the noise with ease.
Step 2: Identify Key Documents
The entire focus of the legal document review process is to identify responsive documents. Of course, this approach can look very different depending on the unique circumstances of a case.
Regardless of whether you’re sifting through troves of emails or just a few contracts, being able to identify and organize relevant information is a critical task on the document review checklist. Fortunately, this is an endeavor that’s simplified through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, Logikcull has Suggested Tags, which automatically learn from your tagging decisions. This allows the system to make recommendations to speed up legal document review.
Every documentation plan template should include tags in order to facilitate search, prioritize review, and group related documents. And with tools like Suggested Tags, you can accomplish these tasks with minimal effort.
Step 3: Leverage AI
As discussed in the previous section, artificial intelligence is already doing great things for the legal document review process. However, it’s important for legal and eDiscovery professionals to understand that AI goes far beyond tools like Suggested Tags. In fact, AI chatbots are already poised to speed up the review process even more than it already has. In the future, this will include expediting tasks such as:
- Document categorization: AI chatbots can use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to categorize documents based on their content, relevance, and other factors.
- Prioritization and routing: AI chatbots can prioritize documents based on their importance and route them to the appropriate reviewer based on their expertise or workload.
- Redaction: AI chatbots can be trained to automatically redact sensitive or privileged information from documents, such as personally identifiable information (PII) or attorney-client communications.
- Relevancy flagging: AI chatbots can use machine learning algorithms to predict which documents are likely to be relevant or irrelevant based on the content of the documents and the coding decisions made by reviewers.
In the future, artificial intelligence will be able to handle most of the steps involved in the document review process . However, the benefits of AI aren’t some distant vision for the future. After all, we’re already seeing people utilize ChatGPT for everything from writing code to passing college entry essays. With the release of Logikbot AI — the first eDiscovery system to integrate a LLM — many of those future “dreams” will become realities overnight.
Step 4: Collaborate with Outside Counsel
No matter how integrated artificial intelligence becomes in the document review methodology, it will never completely erase the need for human input. One of the areas this is most true is collaboration with outside counsel. While you may want to handle everything in-house, there are many benefits to working with other professionals. These include:
- Expertise: Outside counsel may have specialized expertise in particular areas of the law (e.g., antitrust, intellectual property) that may prove valuable.
- Resources: Outside counsel often has access to additional resources — such as support staff and tech — that you may not have in-house.
- Objectivity: It never hurts to get an outside perspective so you don't get tunnel vision or trapped in groupthink.
Of course, you shouldn’t work with outside counsel just because it's common practice. If you have the in-house expertise necessary — or there are cost, confidentiality, or strategic concerns — integrating outside counsel into your document review methodology may not be ideal.
Step 5: Keep the Review Process in One Platform
Document review has become an expansive process, and it’s not just because of the emergence of big data. For instance, document review as a method of data collection is now a common occurrence in the academic world.
No matter how in-depth or expansive this process becomes within different industries, though, every professional involved in these tasks should try to confine their work to a single platform.
There are various benefits to doing this:
- Efficiency: Utilizing a single platform can streamline document review.
- Consistency: Using multiple platforms means documents will not be reviewed in a consistent manner.
- Collaboration: Multiple reviewers are typically involved in document review. A single platform can facilitate communication and collaboration.
- Security: Having document review confined to a single platform can improve security and confidentiality of privileged and sensitive information.
- Cost savings: Utilizing a single service reduces the need to pay for multiple licenses or subscriptions.
By providing a centralized, web-based platform for managing all aspects of the eDiscovery process, cloud-based tools like Logikcull can keep all your work streamlined, coordinated, and secure.
Step 6: Bulletproof Your Review Process
Regardless of the document review process steps you follow, it’s important to ensure your work is secure and compliant with regulations. With the right resources, it’s easy to prove that a good-faith approach was taken. Utilizing tools with high security standards like Logikcull can assist with the following tasks — all of which will bulletproof your review process:
- Implement strong access controls
- Protect sensitive data
- Monitor user activity
- Comply with regulations
Focusing on these principles will help you minimize data breaches, legal penalties, and even potential damage to your organization’s brand reputation. After all, you don’t want to be known as the schlub who got your company dragged through the mud online or in the media.
The legal document review process is unavoidable when you work in eDiscovery. Utilizing automation tools, artificial intelligence, and human capital in efficient ways can greatly simplify the process and save your organization money while maintaining legal compliance.
When you combine cutting-edge tools like Logikbot AI and Suggested Tags with features like project-wide redactions, AV transcriptions, and automatic PII recognition — all available in Logikcull —, you can have a fully streamlined doc review process that can make your job far less stressful, and the task 10x cheaper.