It’s December 23, and you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping. You know what that means. Your stress level is about to go way up, as you fight the crowds in the stores and on the streets. You’ll have to toss your carefully constructed gift list out the window, and settle for whatever the stores have left in stock. In desperation to find gifts that will please your loved ones, you’ll spend more money than you planned and blow your holiday budget. And despite your best efforts to persuade everyone that these last-minute gifts really are swell (it’s the thought that counts, right?), in the end, everyone’s going to be disappointed.
Don’t worry, I’m not judging you for your holiday shopping habits. . . But please, litigants, don’t treat document review you like you do your Christmas shopping.
Yet we often see clients and counsel adopt a similar approach. Despite knowing months in advance when document discovery deadlines fall, document review is put off until those deadlines are looming. And when making a last-minute scramble to get review completed and document productions out the door, inevitably the end result is similar to the last-minute holiday shopping:
- The substance of the review may need to be streamlined, with review guidelines limited in scope. The documents won’t get the detailed issue coding and other more granular review originally planned for.
- Reviewer resources may be limited, and you’ll find yourself fighting other projects to get reviewers assigned.
- Your “A-Team” reviewers might already be booked, so you’ll have to settle for whatever reviewers are available, regardless of their amount and type of review experience.
- Document reviews accomplished under extreme time pressure typically are less efficient, and cost more. You’ll blow right through discovery budgets prepared far in advance.
- Work product produced in a time crunch – especially if rigorous quality control is scaled back – is more likely to contain errors.
At DiscoverReady we take great pride in our high-quality, cost-efficient document review. But last-minute projects (especially very large ones) often limit us in what we can achieve for our clients, and they end up disappointed – as do we. I look forward to working with you on your next review project, hopefully with plenty of time to get it done!
Happy holidays from all of us at DiscoverReady.
A recognized thought leader in e-discovery, Maureen collaborates with the company’s clients and operations teams to develop innovative information strategies for legal discovery, compliance, and sensitive data protection. She speaks and writes frequently on significant issues in e-discovery and information governance, and participates actively in the Sedona Conference Working Groups on Electronic Document Retention and Production and Data Privacy and Security. Prior to DiscoverReady, Maureen was a partner at Paul Hastings LLP, where she represented Fortune 100 companies in complex employment litigation matters.