How to optimize results and minimize costs during document review

Epiq's world-class teams collaborate to provide innovative solutions and comprehensive support

How to optimize results and minimize costs during document review
Epiq’s Tiana Van Dyk, Senior Director, Client Services and Abbas Najarali, Senior Director, Operations.

This article was produced in partnership with Epiq.

In the quest to optimize document review results and minimize cost, one basic concept reaps the most rewards: planning.

“There are things when you’re building a doc review methodology – from small details like appropriate highlighting for privilege and key terms, to the structure of document tags, to how you build out your issue tables for how documents are identified and related back to key issues and strategies – that literally cut the time a person spends pushing buttons in half, which really streamlines things,” says Tiana Van Dyk, Senior Director, Client Services at Epiq, a global leader in legal and business services.

“Small changes facilitate one or two seconds off every document, which adds up tremendously over time. There are the big strategies like how to tackle analytics versus linear review, but before you've even picked up a pencil and done anything to the documents, if you build an efficient physical review structure, you're already steps ahead.”

Abbas Najarali, Senior Director, Operations, agrees that an emphasis on upfront planning cannot be overstated, and he points to engagement from the right individuals and from the very start of the project as key to establishing efficient workflows. When engaged in a large-scale document review, unless there’s a true scope change, switching direction downstream means more work, more effort, and more cost so having key players develop and disseminate proper instructions to the team sets the review up for success. Doing sampling, for example, to validate that issues identified appear representative of the actual issues in the documents also drives efficiency: if issue codes are too high-level or generic a higher percentage of documents ends up in the “yes bucket” which dilutes the richness of the categorization and may increases cost in second level review.

“It's easy to think of it as templated approach, and while we do have overall workflows to build from every review is independent,” says Najarali. “The goals are different, the data is different, so taking the time to assess the scenario pays huge dividends down the road.”

Beyond initial prioritization setup planning, project management is also a critical component. The idea that when you start a document review you go in semi-blind isn't untrue, but it can be mitigated if you start with an investment upfront to make sure you’re not just looking at the data without a plan, hoping it will tell a story.

“Too often people don’t see the opportunity – they say they don't have time so just start the review,” says Van Dyk. “And that’s a really bad, really expensive way to do it.”

Van Dyk and Najarali are both 15-year veterans of the field. Najarali brings experience leading and delivering complex digital forensic and eDiscovery in Canadian and global engagements, and Van Dyk leverages her experience to design successful eDiscovery strategies and document reviews. Both are representative of the expertise at Epiq, where world-class teams leverage proven processes, effective end-to-end strategies, and a suite of leading-edge technologies to drive measurable results.

Trusted to provide innovative solutions and comprehensive support, Epiq works with clients as a strategic partner. The managed review business focuses on building out capacity by augmenting inhouse teams or fully executing reviews that are outside a client’s manageable scope, but most of the time Epiq’s service falls somewhere between those two goal posts: most commonly clients have their own quality control (QC) teams, with Epiq handling the bulk of the first level review and the client validating the work product.

Epiq also provides important insight such as whether you need to pursue document review at all – a definite way to conserve costs. The Case Insights Team can do a structured review alongside inhouse counsel and employ data analytics to determine if the evidence suggests a review needs to be pursued. They present metrics for validation by the client to support their findings, which helps with risk mitigation and allows clients to make informed decisions. In something like an employment matter or determining whether trade secrets got out or not, for example, “that investigative point can really be cost saving,” Van Dyk notes.

That team can also manage that initial investigative piece, coming in for a preliminary review and doing the critical pre-work that brings clarity to the client and helps them organize the data better. They provide data metrics to validate the issues, privilege, and assumptions to present a clear picture as to what needs to be done before starting.

“That maybe doesn't make sense for a small review, but when you start hitting document volumes in the thousands or more – and that’s what we see regularly – getting a baseline understanding of what's there is a difficult proposition,” Najarali says.

As there are different goals in the middle of a review than at the start or at the end, the team can do a full assessment and provide results that align with whatever phase the client is in. It's also a good option when receiving documents from opposing counsel that need to be reviewed for understanding of content and the Case Insights Team “gives you a better understanding of what your received, how to best focus your teams, and really help control your cost,” Najarali adds.

Aligned with the Case Insights Team are Epiq’s advanced technology offerings. A dedicated team of experts – who join in an official capacity or in an overlay capacity – partner closely with the review team working with the client to make sure that the vast number of technologies Epiq offers are applied strategically and defensively and that both use and outcomes are optimized. While anyone could technically follow the user manual and push the buttons, just like normal document review, it's an art, Van Dyk says.

“Understanding how to read the output, how to look at data holistically and say this is going to fit in workflow A, it's not going to fit in workflow B, and workflow C is going to cost more – that's never in the manual, and that's where our Advanced Technology Team shines. They create a bespoke solution for clients with a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and before you know it you have the most delicious dinner you've ever had on your plate. They have all the ingredients and they put them together in the right order.”

Regardless of the level of involvement, Epiq’s holistic and customizable services are a valuable asset when it comes to optimizing results and minimizing costs associated with document review. In every instance, Epiq cultivates a strong relationship with clients that keeps everyone engaged and part of the process, with partnership the overarching goal.

“Collaboration, open communication, and constant dialogue minimize a lot of the ‘we thought you said X, but you really meant Y, and now we have to go back on 50,000 documents,’” says Van Dyk. “When we're talking about managed review, we have lawyers who will do the review, we have lawyers to manage those people, and we have technology people who will ensure the processes being followed are optimized for your data set, for your goals, and for your type of matter.”

For more information on how Epiq can assist you in your next document review, reach out today.

Epiq is a worldwide provider of legal and business services, serving law firms, corporations, financial institutions and government agencies—helping them streamline the administration of business operations, class action and mass tort, court reporting, eDiscovery, regulatory, compliance, restructuring, legal transformation, and bankruptcy matters.

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