By Tim Rollins
It’s no wonder why document review is increasingly moving in-house at both public and private organizations. Not only does it account for approximately 75% of e-discovery costs, but organizations are also finding more and more use cases for document review technology, including:
- Internal and regulatory investigations
- Data breach response
- Data subject access requests (DSARs)
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and public record request (PRR) responses.
In fact, in the 2021 Legal Technology Report for In-House Counsel from Exterro and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), over 70% of companies over $1 billion in annual revenue reported they either have or plan to purchase document review technology in the next twelve months.
But any significant investment in SaaS technology requires more than just plunking down money and implementing the software. For organizations to achieve a good return on investment, they have to lay the foundation for success. And that entails preparing the people on your team, as well as defining a best practice process that aligns with the software’s capabilities. (Ideally, you should be choosing software that aligns with your process, but that topic is beyond the scope of this blog article.) Today, we’ll be focusing on the steps you should take on the people side of the equation.
Identify where key capabilities reside on your IT and legal teams.
Document review requires both operational and legal mindsets. Make sure you have identified team members that understand the requirements of e-discovery, risk and compliance, and privacy regulations, as well as the technical baseline of where relevant data resides and how to preserve, retrieve, and produce it on demand. If you have gaps in some of these key required skills, consider addressing them before investing in technology, as they will want a voice in the decision.
Secure executive support for bringing review in-house.
Understand the key levers that will motivate organizational leaders to bring document review in-house. Modern review technology can reduce legal and compliance costs, mitigate privacy and security risks, and increase operational efficiency. Identify goals that align with your executive team’s priorities, so you will have clear-cut ways to evaluate success after you’ve implemented the technology.
Identify who will conduct document review.
Investing in document review technology doesn’t mean you have to have a complete in-house review team. With sufficient review volumes, for example in an organization that frequently processes public records requests, an in-house team can offer cost and security benefits. However, if volume goes up and down over time, scaling with external teams (i.e., service providers, law firms) makes sense. They can log into secure review platforms, like Exterro Review, allowing organizations to scale up review when needed while retaining control over the process.
Secure a dedicated document review team.
Make sure you have a sufficient staffing on your team to accomplish all your goals. This means more than having in-house capabilities; they must have defined responsibilities related to the e-discovery and document review tasks required of them. Relying on shared resources can result in key document review or e-discovery tasks being deprioritized at the wrong time.
Train your document review team appropriately.
Make sure that your team understands the entire process for e-discovery (as well as other document review uses), their contributions to the process, and how to use the technology solution(s) you put in place. Team members can become dissatisfied if they don’t understand how their roles contribute to larger strategic goals and objectives.
To learn more about moving document review in-house, including what you can do to prepare your process and technology environment, download Bringing Document Review In-House: A Self-Assessment Checklist.