Document review remains an important task performed in anticipation of legal proceedings during the discovery phase of the litigation process. In the process of document review, an attorney assesses legal documents to evaluate their relevance to the case and appropriateness to the law. Due to electronic data like instant messages, emails and voice mails, document review has increased in prominence in the legal field, creating a workload for attorneys that can become quite overwhelming.
The later stages of the document review process may label documents as privileged if they fit under the attorney-client privilege or as a work product. Privileged documents may have their contents revised or be held from review altogether.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology
Document review has justly become known to be a tedious and daunting task. Electronic databases vastly improve the efficiency of the review process, as thousands of pages can be reviewed in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, electronic databases have substantially increased the volume of documents needing to be reviewed, creating a catch-22 scenario.
The job of document reviewer carries considerable responsibility. Mislabeled documents may lead to the unintentional disclosure of key client information, resulting in outcomes that are quite undesirable. Important information that may protect a client might be overlooked. Indeed, poor research can jeopardize a case with dire outcomes.
Document review is typically carried out by a team of paralegals with the supervision of an attorney. This has become a common practice in the interest of saving money. Rather than doing the job in-house, the job is handed out on a contract basis. Though paralegals don't enjoy the high rates of attorneys, they can often work from home thanks to the convenience of the Internet and computer technologies.
Document Review Now a Focus of Many Legal Careers
Thanks to the growth of electronic data in the last decade, the amount of documents needed to be reviewed has created a steady supply of work for paralegals and attorneys. Since the work is done under contract, the pay does not compare to that of a secured position in a firm, obviously. However, in an increasingly strapped job market for attorneys, documents review creates steady work that's consistent and dependable, especially for those looking for work in discovery review management.