Legal Process: Document Review Basics

Document review is a formalized technique of data collection involving the examination of existing records or documents.[1] It is often done by attorneys.

Document review is the final stage before production, in which a litigant provides discoverable information to its opponent. The purpose of document review, then, is to identify what information falls within the scope of discovery…Document review can also be used for broader purposes, such as regulatory investigations, subpoena and third-party requests, internal investigations, and in due diligence assessments for mergers and acquisitions.[2]

The review process often consists of several stages. The legal team may conduct a first pass review to analyze documents for relevance and code or mark them for a relevant subject matter. Litigation support personnel then load the coded data into a searchable database that allows litigation teams to easily locate key documents at every phase of the litigation process.[3]

It is conducted by: assessing existing documents, securing access to the documents you have identified through your assessment, ensuring confidentiality, compiling the documents relevant to your evaluation and understanding how and why the documents were produced. Some of the advantages of document review include: relatively inexpensive, good source of background information, unobtrusive…and may bring up issues not noted by other means. Its disadvantages include; information may be inapplicable, disorganized, unavailable, or out of date, could be biased because of selective survival of information, information may be incomplete or inaccurate and can be time consuming to collect, review, and analyze many documents.[4]





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