Legal Process: Document Review Basics

Document review is integral in law practice.  It offers attorneys a chance to critically look into the merits of their cases and those of their opposing counsel, come up with actionable and practical solutions, and adequately advise their clients. Document review is also a form of due diligence. Failure to conduct it may expose an attorney to a negligence claim, primarily where a dispute arises when the client loses a case.

Some of the resources that aid in document review include case laws, legislation, facts, and evidence of the case. In conducting a document review, it is essential to:

  • Know the purpose of the review to enable you to narrow down the relevant materials

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the illusion of the bulk of work before starting your document review. Planning is vital since it allows you to sift through the necessary and unnecessary workload and the seeming mountain of work begins to look manageable. One may also use supporting resources such as review software, and human resources to ease the process. 

  • Compile relevant materials

It is important to note that not all collected information will be relevant, e.g., some may be outdated, biased, unreliable, privileged, or confidential. Relevant information will include information for and against your case attained through various means such as discovery; all this information should then be organized and used to develop the relevant evidence-based research highlighted below.

  • Use the evidence-based research 

An attorney can now decide which documents they may rely on, witnesses to call, and documents that will be subject to production. The evidence-based research will lead to a compelling case strategy, thus safeguarding your client’s interest as well as your interest from a possible negligence suit; it should therefore not be overlooked in any case. 

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