Nightmare on Review Street: Insights from EDRM's Expert Panel
Have you ever felt that the management of legal reviews often resembles a scene from a horror story – full of looming deadlines, confusing complexities, and scary risks?
For legal professionals in the digital sphere, there’s nothing scarier than the prospect of a data breach or a costly mistake during review. But when you know how to navigate those risks, you can approach legal reviews with a newfound confidence!
This was the central theme of the recent EDRM webinar, “Nightmare on Review Street: Horror Stories of Managed Review,” where a panel of seasoned professionals shared their daunting experiences and the strategies they employ to navigate these treacherous waters.
The session was both informative and entertaining – showing just how powerful sound processes and enterprise-level technology are when it comes to making reviews efficient, secure, and manageable.
Chris Baker, the Director of Managed Review Delivery and Operations at Purpose Legal, opened the discussion by emphasizing the necessity of streamlining the discovery process.
Baker’s approach centers on fostering robust relationships with stakeholders to ensure smooth operations. He underscored the challenges that arise when reviewers are terminated without proper notice, recounting a chilling instance where such an oversight escalated to the threat of a lawsuit—a stark reminder of the importance of clear communication in review management.
Dov Gold-Medina, Senior Review Manager at Purpose Legal, echoed Baker’s sentiment, adding that the recurring themes in managed review often entail immediate starts with tight deadlines. Gold-Medina stressed the significance of preparation – especially when facing complex workflows and resource allocation, to avoid the common pitfalls that turn e-discovery projects into nightmares.
We all face deadlines and pressure, but cutting corners can often spiral. Briordy Meyers, Discovery Counsel, introduced a cautionary tale of being “penny wise and pound foolish.” He shared how without alignment and coordination within the team, even the best intentions can lead to missteps that cost time and money.
So, what’s a team to do to make sure that reviews go off without a spooky hitch? The webinar wasn’t just a look back on horror stories – it was also a chance to look at the best practices required to ensure successful outcomes.
The group delved into project management, outlining the disasters that stem from a lack of coordination. The panelists unanimously agreed on the need for meticulous upfront planning and consistent communication to preclude nightmares. This is complemented by having established morning calls and other protocols to keep the team aligned.
When it comes to law firms, the speakers highlighted the critical nature of standardized reporting systems, clear lines of authority, and early communication to build trust and efficiently manage contingencies.
The importance of transparency and documentation was also underlined, particularly in facilitating effective decision-making and communication. Not only will this help firms protect their rights and reputation, but it will also foster a more collaborative culture.
Managing eDiscovery nightmares extends beyond internal team dynamics to encompass client relationships. For instance, if clients continue to underestimate the scope of an e-discovery project, then it can put undue pressure on teams with limited resources.
The panelists advised taking a proactive stance in addressing issues, fostering a culture of inclusion to empower team members to contribute to problem-solving, and ensuring responsibility is taken when mistakes occur. Moving past the blame game and focusing on solutions is crucial for maintaining client trust and accountability.
The group came to a consensus on the necessity of proactivity in project management.
Reflecting on past mistakes and sharing insights is a valuable practice for department heads to help teams learn and improve. Anticipating problems and investing in all stakeholders were also pointed out as strategies to enhance the work environment and project outcomes.
Finally, the importance of understanding different perspectives in the document review process was underscored.
When technical team members are open to lawyers’ perspectives – and vice versa – the overall review process could be substantially improved. High-quality reviewers stand out by anticipating problems and bringing extra value, thereby moving from being mere contract attorneys to being integral, invested members of the legal team.
Knowing you aren’t alone in the review process, and understanding the best practices for improving it, can take the “scaries” out of dealing with any situation. But to get the full picture of what makes the best review process, we highly recommend watching the full webinar.
Register to watch the full webinar online, and make sure to catch all webinars in the series to get the most out of your review process!