All posts tagged Document Review

Happy Birthday, Document Review Centre

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Can you believe it’s been a whole year since we launched our fabulous Document Review Centre in London? So much has changed since we first opened; we’ve doubled in size, we’ve launched a dedicated website for our review lawyers and we’ve even started to uncover trends in document review.

To celebrate this milestone, we held a party for our team of document review lawyers. Over 60 lawyers from current and past projects joined the managed review team at 1920 Bar in Clerkenwell for drinks and a few ‘friendly’ games of pool.

Below are a couple of photographs from the night.
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We’d like to thank our lawyers for their hard work over the past year; they are often the unsung heroes of a case, working countless weekends, missing Bank Christmas, and generally putting in the hours to make sure clients’ deadlines are met. We hope you enjoyed the party and look forward to another busy year!

 

Trends in Document Review: Phase II Investigations

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Kroll Ontrack’s Document Review centre handles a real variety of projects, each one with unique requirements and for different purposes.  However, one trend we have noticed since opening last January is an increased number of clients requiring assistance in matters that stem from the mergers and acquisitions process. Pre- and post-merger audits and merger control RFIs from regulatory bodies such as the European Commission, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the French Autorité de la concurrence, the German Bundeskartellamt as well as the US Department of Justice are just a few examples of incidences where ediscovery providers may be called upon for assistance.

Phase II is an in-depth analysis of the merger’s effects on competition and requires more time. It is opened when the case cannot be resolved in Phase I, i.e. when the Commission has concerns that the transaction could restrict competition in the internal market. A phase II investigation typically involves more extensive information gathering, including companies’ internal documents, extensive economic data, more detailed questionnaires to market participants, and/or site visits.

As mentioned in Kroll Ontrack’s landmark paper on the pressures faced by businesses from regulators, authorities such as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, European Commission and US Department of Justice are placing companies under increased scrutiny. As a result, corporations and their law firms are increasingly turning to the technology and specialist document review services offered by ediscovery providers to manage this data and reduce costs.

A recent Phase II request for information perhaps highlights why companies and their law firms are using managed document review services.  We were approached by a leading global law firm on behalf of their client, a FMCG supplier who had been subject to European Commission Phase II request for information and needed urgent document review services.

This case was particularly high priority as the client required highly-qualified review lawyers to start work within less than 24 hours at the weekend and had not contacted Kroll Ontrack until late on Friday afternoon.  However, despite this late notice, we were able to find the requested 7 lawyers to begin reviewing the next day.

Mid-way through the review, foreign language documents were discovered in the system. This could have represented a real set-back in terms of time needed for recruiting lawyers speaking the relevant languages. However, Kroll Ontrack’s pool of review lawyers are of such high calibre the existing team already contained several native and fluent speakers in those languages, despite language ability not being an initial criteria for selection.

In these circumstances, completing such a request in-house would have been incredibly difficult, not only from a technical standpoint but assembling, at short notice, qualified lawyers fluent in the unexpected languages.

Kroll Ontrack was able to provide a total of 42 review lawyers and conduct a privilege review of 19,000 documents and non-privileged review of 29,000 documents within 7 days.  Once the review was complete, the client was so impressed with our efficiency that 10 reviewers were retained in order to complete a redaction exercise.

 

Make mine a double!

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Last quarter we gave an update about our document review centre’s first few months of operation. As this quarter comes to a close, we thought we’d update you about what was another incredibly successful period. Not only did we build on last quarter’s work by continuing to provide services in multiple languages (English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish) and across a diverse range of sectors (banking / financial services, manufacturing, technology and transport and logistics), we also were delighted to officially open our new extension.

Double the capacity

Since opening in January, demand for our document review services has been high, and despite the extensive size of our existing facilities, we were consistently operating at full capacity. After working with our facilities team, we were able to optimise existing space at 25 Farringdon Street and build a secure extension designed with the same care and attention to detail as the original centre.

Celebrating in style

To celebrate the opening of our extended document review facilities, we invited our clients to join us for a glass or two of champagne and a tour of the centre. Around 40 clients joined us for the reception and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many clients commenting not only on the extended space but also on the smaller touches such as the art work, interior design and lighting that makes the space a uniquely pleasant document review environment.

“We are really pleased with the overwhelming demand for our managed review service,” said Daniel Kavan, manager of Evidence Consultancy & Managed Review. “Our clients recognise that using such services provide a more cost-effective approach to large reviews and that they don’t have to sacrifice quality.”

Our document review centre is expanding

In the last blog, we gave an update on the last quarter’s activities. In short, we’ve been incredibly busy and in high demand from clients, so much so that we’re delighted to announce that we are expanding our facilities to accommodate approximately 30 additional document reviewers.

This weekend our facilities team will be overseeing the first stage in the creation of new document review rooms at our Central London office. Just like the original rooms, the new spaces have been designed to ensure the working environment is as secure and comfortable as possible.

You can see for yourself just how pleasant our review centre is and meet the team by watching our new video.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.

Catching up with the Document Review team

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The first quarter of 2015 has been incredibly busy for our document review centre with client demand at an all-time high. In just 12 weeks we have managed ten complex document reviews and engaged over 100 lawyers.

Document review without borders

Most of the cases we have worked on in the past three months have been international projects and although our technology has powerful search capability in most languages, we always hire lawyers with native proficiency in the required language(s) to guarantee accuracy and quality. Visitors to our state-of-the-art document review centre over the last three months would have heard a plethora of European and Asian languages being spoken in and around the building, including German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, French, Swedish, Portuguese and, of course, English.

Happy lawyers equal happy clients

Our secure document review centre is purpose-built and designed with a reviewer’s comfort in mind. Spacious rooms, ergonomic chairs and eye-friendly lighting make the review centre a pleasant working environment. Many of our document review lawyers have commented positively on the document review centre’s facilities:

“I really like working with Kroll. The team is very friendly, the office and all facilities are very impressive and thus the working conditions are really pleasant.”

But it’s not all about style. Other feedback from our review lawyers shows that they feel welcome, valued and part of the team. Our meet-and-greet-events were particularly well-received as were networking sessions and after-work drinks.

Below are just a few testimonials from our recent document reviewers:

“I found the meet-and-greet event a wonderful experience; it was really great to get in touch with the company and to meet other colleagues!”

“The best thing about Kroll Ontrack is the PEOPLE. The staffare exceptionally professional, kind, and hard working.”

“I have to say you are the nicest team in the business, and I wish Kroll Ontrack every success!”

Because our lawyers have enjoyed working with us, we’ve been able to retain a bank of the most talented document reviewers for subsequent projects. This is great news for our clients who can be certain that the best team is on-board for the duration of their projects and potentially, for any future projects.

Delivering impressive results

Of all the cases we have worked on in the last few months, two have stood out from the crowd:

The first saw our team assisting in a pan-European regulatory request for a prospective joint venture and faced with an imminent deadline. Kroll Ontrack arranged and completed 2 simultaneous reviews totalling 15,000 documents using lawyers fluent in Swedish, German, and English all in 6 days. You can read more about how we achieved this by reading the full case study.

The second took saw our team working towards an even tighter deadline of just 72 hours. From getting the call on Thursday afternoon to finishing the project on Sunday, Kroll Ontrack arranged for 5 document reviewers to review over 7,000 Greek language documents. This allowed the client to proceed in an urgent Monday morning board meeting armed with all the information the requested. The full case study is available here.

Both these cases demonstrate the many strengths of our document review centre. From the expert managers, to dedicated reviewers, to our powerful and efficient software, the combination of these elements has allowed us to exceed client expectations and cement the centre as the go-to destination for document review in Europe.

The quarter ahead

The current quarter is already shaping up to be as busy as the last with a strong pipeline of cases. Look out for our next quarterly update for further information.

Daniel Kavan, the head of our Managed Review service commented

“I’m really pleased that our service has been so well-received by both our review lawyers and our clients.”

Warm up to unbundling

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The winter chill has enveloped the countryside; yet, I find myself unbundling . . . apparently, I’m not alone.

With increased focus on costs and budgeting and with some studies showing the review of documents topping 70% of total spend for discovery/disclosure, it’s no wonder that companies and law firms are looking for ways to reduce review expenditures whilst maintaining quality in this new economic reality.

One method frequently cited is predictive coding. Predictive coding enables dramatic cost savings over traditional linear review. Our clients have taken notice, and now a majority are using some level of predictive coding on their matters.

This should not imply that linear review is entirely replaceable. After properly scoping and collaborating with our clients, we often recommend linear review in coordination with predictive coding and other advanced tools.

Understanding the high spend for traditional linear review, our clients asked us to develop a more cost-effective way of conducting reviews. Building on our tradition of excellence in the U.S., we brought our Managed Review Services to Europe paying particular attention to the unique challenges posed by the differing legal systems, data privacy laws and regulations, cultures, and languages. We took a fresh look at how holistic reporting could lead to in-project review efficiency gains, we established standardised yet flexible quality control procedures to support a high-level of review accuracy, and we leveraged the expertise of our entire Kroll Ontrack team to provide a seamless experience across the EDRM.

We’ve previously written about our Managed Review Services (here, here, and here), and for the last several months, we’ve received tremendous feedback from our clients. A key reason for this success is our focus on professionalism, quality-of-life, and merit-based retention for the review lawyers. Here are a few of their comments:

‘It has been a real enjoyment to work with Kroll Ontrack.’

‘So far I have highly appreciated the cooperation with Kroll Ontrack based on transparency and trust. Your promise from the very first day of the review has been met. This gives you a good competitive advantage compared to the other agencies I have worked with for the past two years.’

‘The meet-and-greet event was a wonderful experience; it was great to get in touch with the management team and to meet other colleagues.’

‘I have to say you are the nicest team in the business, and I wish Kroll Ontrack every success!’

We would be delighted for you to discover our new Managed Review Centre located inside our warm and toasty European headquarters in central London, so please reach out to us at docreview@krollontrack.co.uk, and make sure you unbundle-up out there!

About Jeff Shapiro

Jeff joined Kroll Ontrack in July 2013, working as a Case Manager within the Legal Technologies practice group. In October 2014, Jeff was promoted to the newly created role of Managed Services Consultant. He provides end-to-end project management and consultancy for ediscovery and edisclosure clients, with emphasis on Fortune 500 companies, as well as Am Law 200 and Global 100 law firms. Jeff ensures that projects are carried out to the highest possible standards, within relevant timelines, and to the specification and cost as agreed with the client. He consults on the technical requirements of Civil Procedure Rules and practice direction, including disclosure forms, production formats, predictive coding, and Case Management Conference planning. Jeff specializes in commercial litigation, regulatory commission requests, and internal investigations, with emphasis on early case assessment and review strategy. Whilst with Kroll Ontrack, Jeff developed a ‘Case Management Manual’ to capture and consolidate existing procedures, document unwritten knowledge, and identify cost-efficient opportunities to enable a consistent and high-level of service to clients. Prior to moving to the UK and joining Kroll Ontrack, he worked for several years with leading law firms in their international ediscovery practice groups. Jeff received his Juris Doctorate from The Syracuse University College of Law, and he is licensed to practice law in the State of Virginia.

Managed Review – Supply and Demand

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You will probably be aware by now that in response to client demand, Kroll Ontrack is expanding its managed document review service by opening a dedicated facility in central London. The construction of this facility at our European HQ is well underway and we are already providing managed review services from our existing offices.

In addition to building the physical facility, we are busy expanding our “book” of reviewers (if you can call an Access database a book). This step is just as important as building the facility because this is what enables us to bring the professionalism which clients expect from Kroll Ontrack to our document review practice. We are hiring the best, highly-qualified, experienced and multilingual document review lawyers in order to provide market-leading managed review services to our clients.

As part of getting to know the lawyers that have signed up to assist us on managed review projects, last week we hosted a “Meet & Greet” evening to train the lawyers on our technology (a key component of ensuring that reviews are carried out efficiently and cost-effectively for clients) and identify the best talent.

We have had great interest from professionals working in this industry in partnering with us and have a solid portfolio of professionals to choose from when assembling review teams for clients. However, I was surprised and impressed by the strong turnout we had on the evening and the eagerness of review lawyers to partner with Kroll Ontrack on such projects. In putting this service together, we have aimed to provide a professional and comfortable working environment for lawyers to encourage the best possible output, and I’m pleased with the feedback we’ve received, comforted by the fact we’re well on our way to being the best of the best in this market.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.

The Doc Review-lution

Should you ever ask a lawyer what their biggest work-related gripes are, some combination of the following will be mentioned: excessive working hours, copious amounts of pressure, and the prioritisation of billable hours and business development over engagement in substantive legal analysis.

Lawyers, with Benefits

However, in recent years, an exception has emerged. There now exists a unique species of lawyer who relishes working late evenings and weekends, is removed from the front line pressure of legal practice, and spends their working hours purely on documentary analysis, rather than business development.

‘Doc reviewers’ are drafted in by firms to assist with large edisclosure projects. In basic terms, they are required to peruse all disclosable documents and categorise them appropriately. The urgent deadlines inherent in contentious matters mean that teams of reviewers are often needed at short notice, and required to work prolonged hours. However, given that they are paid on a per hour basis, with frequently significantly higher rates for evening and weekend work, reviewers often welcome the opportunity to spend as long as possible in the office. Furthermore, the work is detached from some of the most common sources of stress for lawyers – demanding clients and billable hours targets. And all the while, reviewers have the pleasure of working on high-profile (often cross-border) matters, with some of the City’s most illustrious firms.

The In-Betweeners

Who are these beneficiaries of London’s busy litigation market? During my adventures on the doc review circuit, I met an eclectic mix of lawyers ‘in between’ things, ranging from Antipodeans funding a period of travelling around Europe, to a former in-house IP lawyer who wanted to pursue his dream of being a rock star. Some were simply taking time away from permanent roles to consider their options, whilst others (like me) were pursuing post-graduate study.

Doc reviewers come from both arms of the profession – many barristers, often sick of being paid ‘less than baristas’ (as per the recent slogan of disaffected counsel) are attracted to the idea of a more regular and less-demanding income stream, which does not require cross-qualification. Further, lawyers can leverage foreign language skills to great effect, as higher rates are paid for reviewers assisting with non-English language documents.

A growing community has developed – with familiar faces appearing on different projects, and regular communication occurring on matters such as project availability, overtime rates, and most crucially of all – whether or not firms are providing complimentary coffee and biscuits.

Where Do I Sign?

There are some key drawbacks to becoming a career doc reviewer which you may want to hear before signing up.

The doc reviewer lifestyle comes with its own perils – the uncertainty of start and end dates of projects can make it difficult to plan almost anything. Also, the separation of doc reviewers from the other stages of case management means that their hard work can often go unrecognised, particularly as the case’s outcome may be many months after the review project has ended. Career development is also an issue – there is no recognisable career path, which means that reviewers can sometimes feel they are not moving towards a tangible goal.

These issues are unfortunate, particularly given that reviewers play increasingly pivotal roles in document-heavy proceedings. Parties to litigation and judges alike are becoming more conscious of how costs can be reduced; and Legal Process Outsourcers can offer more efficient solutions to voluminous disclosure exercises. The ability for firms to recruit experienced review teams at short notice can be invaluable.

The Review-lution

Kroll Ontrack is pioneering a new era in document review. Our extensive canvassing of feedback from reviewers has allowed us to recognise the frustrations that they often feel. Our new offering for these unsung heroes is an environment where reviewers are treated as associates, with state-of-the art facilities, complimentary career development training, and rewards for loyalty. Communication is fast and reliable – we understand how important it is for reviewers to be updated on developments as soon as possible. Above all, we foster a team environment, where reviewers feel that they are as integral to our services as any of our permanent staff.

Ultimately, the more motivated and comfortable our reviewers are, the higher the quality of service we can provide to our clients. The review-lution begins…

Document review lawyers interested in working at Kroll Ontrack can register their interest here: http://www.ediscovery.com/uk/solutions/review-services/lawyer-registration/

About Hitesh Chowdhry

Hitesh Chowdhry joined Kroll Ontrack’s London office in July 2014. He sits as a consultant within the Electronic Evidence Consultancy team, advising lawyers and their clients on how to effectively manage electronically stored documents in litigation, arbitration, and internal or regulatory investigations. Hitesh studied law up to Master’s level at Kings College, London. He trained as a solicitor at City firm Penningtons LLP, and qualified into the litigation department there in 2008. Hitesh moved on to join the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in 2010, where he acted on behalf of the Home Secretary in human rights claims. Prior to joining Kroll Ontrack, Hitesh spent one year working as a document review lawyer at various US firms in the City of London. Hitesh is currently studying an Executive MBA at the Cass Business School, London.

Our new Document Review centre

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­It is an exciting time at Kroll Ontrack, because we are expanding our document review service in Europe. In particular, we are in the process of opening our own dedicated review facility in central London. But we are not new to this. Since 2008, Kroll Ontrack’s clients have been using our expert contract lawyers for review exercises in litigation matters and competition investigations.

One of the great things about using Kroll Ontrack’s lawyers to supplement a review team is that not only do our professionals come with fantastic legal and language skills; they are also the experts in the review technology.

Having completed scores of reviews on ediscovery.com Review (and previously Ontrack Inview), our review teams know the platform back-to-front, meaning that they are able make the most of the technology, and actually perform a review in a way that is much more efficient than someone who only carries out a disclosure exercise or investigation every now and then.

With all this growth, we are seeking further people to partner with us on document review exercises. If you are a lawyer or a paralegal who would like to work with our clients on high-profile litigation matters, regulatory investigations and internal investigations, we would love to hear from you! You will be working closely with top international law firms and Kroll Ontrack’s technology experts. To register your interest in working with us on such projects, please click here.

About Daniel Kavan

Daniel Kavan leads Kroll Ontrack’s Electronic Evidence Consultancy team in Europe. He and his team of experts advise lawyers and their clients on how to manage and analyse evidence from emails and other electronically-stored documents in legal matters including litigation, arbitration, internal audits and regulatory investigations.

Common Oversights in Ediscovery

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If you’re getting married, buying a house, or doing anything you have little or no experience in, then consulting with people who have already travelled that road and have experience to share is a good idea. In a similar way, we turn to experts for legal or business advice. When it comes to ediscovery, there are many benefits in talking to technical experts.

My knowledge of ediscovery was low 3 weeks ago when I joined Kroll Ontrack as a summer intern. On a quest to learn as much as I could, I thought it would be useful to ask the experts around me at Kroll Ontrack for some advice on ediscovery best practices and how to avoid mistakes. So here are their technical tips on how to manage ediscovery projects slickly and efficiently in the future. In this first post I will focus on what not to do. In a follow up post I will offer some additional best practices.

 Digging blindly for data

Don’t underestimate the importance of carefully considering which data sources and custodians you need to collect from and process. Ediscovery providers can provide great technology and services to reduce the amount of data that needs to be reviewed (for example, by providing Early Data Assessment services or by using keyword filters). They can also optimise the review process (by offering, for example, predictive coding technologies) BUT it is very likely that the more data you collect, the more documents you will need to review. You therefore need to make careful selections based on what you need to prove the case and meet your disclosure obligations, and always with the case budget in mind.

Cutting costs with data collection

While thinking carefully about where to gather your data from, at the same time you do you need to be as inclusive as possible when collecting data and avoid the temptation to exclude custodians simply to save money. It can be time consuming and expensive to go back and collect data that really is needed later on.

Focusing on reducing the review set at any cost

When preparing to process large volumes of data from multiple custodians, it might seem appealing to choose global deduplication over custodian deduplication simply because this usually results in a smaller document review set.

Choosing global deduplication means that some custodians’ data sets will be incomplete as duplicates from one custodian set are removed because they already appear in the set of another custodian.

It is important that the right approach is carefully considered based on anticipation of the needs of the case and future production requirements, and not simply on a desire to keep the review set to a minimal size.

Relying on Assumptions

Keep things clear! Everyone only knows what they are told so don’t cut corners. Lawyers or companies engaging with an external expert should make sure they provide all the necessary details of the case (case deadlines, procedural milestones, key facts and issues, important document / data types, what is at stake financially or otherwise) as soon as they are known.

Similarly, experts need to be clear about the assumptions used to assess data volumes and the cost of processing it. No-one should under- or overestimate expectations about data volumes and cost. As far as possible work with real metrics taken from the data itself.

Over complicating the review process

When designing your document review process, keep your category tree (the list of topics or issues than can be assigned to a particular document) as simple as possible. This directly affects the success, speed and quality of the review.

Tagging whole families consistently

When categorising families of documents it might seem sensible to categorise all members of the family in the same way – it makes sense that if an email is relevant, all the attachments should be relevant too, right?   Wrong. The chances are that only some members of the family will have relevant content and that may only be relevant to a particular issue. When you tag all members of the same family consistently you lose clarity as to the content of each individual document. It becomes difficult to collate precisely those documents relevant to a specific issue without re-reviewing documents.

 

I don’t think ediscovery is effortless – but with the right help you will be able to navigate its maze of complexities with much more ease! Like most relationships, the success of an ediscovery project and a case as a whole lies in good communication and trust between all parties involved.