From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|This article may contain original research. (May 2012)|
Document review (also known as doc review) is a valuable main staple of the type of work performed by attorneys for their clients. It is the process of an attorney reading written material related to a case. The written material being reviewed will vary depending on the type of case and the issues involved in the case.
Some types of cases that typically require large amounts of documents to be reviewed are litigation, mergers and acquisitions, and government and internal investigations (including internal audits). Regarding litigation, documents reviewed by attorneys are obtained through the process of Discovery which is generally governed by rules of procedure for the presiding court. In cases in United States Federal Courts the rules related to Discovery are Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (F.R.C.P.) 16, 26, 33, 34, 37, and 45 which were amended in 2006 to include "electronically stored information."
Though attorneys do still review hard copy documents today, most documents are reviewed electronically either as native files that were originally created electronically or as electronic copies of documents that were originally created in a hard copy format. Documents are often reviewed electronically using some type of software designed for the purpose of keeping track of any notes or information the attorneys would like to record about the document such as whether it is relevant to an issue, whether it may need to be produced as part of the Discovery process, or whether it is attorney client or otherwise privileged. When large amounts of documents need to be reviewed electronically, often a system is set up that includes review software. This system is known as a platform. Another term coming into common usage for this practice is E-Discovery and it is becoming common to incorporate machine learning techniques to help curb the growing cost of document review, even when done electronically.
At times, even with the use of electronic document review platforms the volume of documents that need to be reviewed by an attorney for a case can be expansive and many attorneys including even highly staffed international law firms will need to obtain assistance beyond their standard resources. In these instances other attorneys are often brought into the case to assist specifically with the review of the documents.
Traditionally, the additional attorneys needed to assist were hired on directly by attorneys and firms, or they may have worked as independent contractors. In recent years, many legal staffing companies have begun to act as intermediary employers between the law firms and the attorneys hired to assist with the document review. These legal staffing companies typically mark up the hourly rate charged to the hiring attorney or firm by as much as 60% - 70% so that the attorneys and firms hiring pay more and the hired attorneys earn less. For example, an attorney hired to perform document review directly for another attorney or law firm may charge that attorney or law firm a rate of $50.00 per hour. In this case the hiring attorney or firm would pay $50.00 per hour and the hired attorney would earn $50.00 per hour. When legal staffing companies hire an attorney as an intermediary for an attorney or firm they will typically charge the hiring attorney or firm $60.00 to $70.00 per hour and pay the hired attorney $30.00 to $40.00 per hour.
This trend has led to controversy in the legal profession as more and more of the work traditionally performed by U.S. attorneys is being outsourced to countries like India as a result of the legal staffing companies attempting to drive the rates down to remain competitive.
Traditional markets in the United States where many attorneys and firms typically hire additional attorneys to assist with document review are Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago.
|This legal term article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|