By Jay White, President of SkylineOmega LLC

I still see many clients performing document review with a collection of PDF files on a thumb drive or on their network. While it is a step in the right direction when compared to paper, they are missing all the intended benefits of moving away from paper. PDF files are more or less static image files or electronic paper. Reviewing a collection of PDF files, even if they are searchable, is a tedious process that makes finding, organizing, and sharing the key facts frustrating, unnecessarily time consuming, and at times more expensive.

Using a review platform to review documents, especially those that were collected in native format, saves time and money. Work smarter, not harder is a well-known phrase. Using a review platform is exactly that. A review platform and a custom workflow based on the specifics of your case and the way you like to work will leverage technology to allow a review team to work through a collection of documents much faster and for often less money.

A good document review platform will handle native files for the review. This immediately saves cost and the data will be natively processed instead of full processing which includes imaging every document. Native processing is generally much less expensive and a much faster process. Your documents will be ready for review sooner for less, a big advantage of using a review platform with native review capabilities. With the native review, all metadata and extractable text is captured. OCR is performed on all files without extractable text such as a non-searchable PDF file. All of that metadata is then imported in to the review database and available for searching and filtering.

The true power of a review platform is the fluidity with which a reviewer can locate what is and what is not responsive to the case. Along with the metadata and searchable text, a reviewer has the ability to leverage analytics within a review database to categorize data, search for concepts, and group documents together by email threads and similar or near duplicate documents. Imagine finding a key document that speaks to a relevant concept in one PDF and then magically having every document that speaks to that concept automatically be put in to one folder for review. Now imagine that they are not just put in to one folder, but also given a score based on how strong the concept matches that of the original “training document”.

All of the functionality is not just meant to save time, but also to make sure nothing is missed. When an attorney produces documents pursuant to a discovery request, he or she is certifying that a good faith effort has been made. No one wants to inadvertently produce something that should not have or withhold documents that should have been produced.  Review platforms lend a peace of mind knowing document reviews and productions are completed with the highest level of accuracy thanks to features such as tagging that allows you to tag an entire document family with one click, related document pant to identify duplicate and near duplicate documents, and production safety nets that blocks production of any documents tagged privileged and also re-ocr’s documents with redaction on export to ensure text of redacted documents are not produced. You can also, leverage your tagging work product to instantly generate privilege reports and production reports.

Below are just a few comparisons outlining the benefits of using a review platform. Each week, I will update this post with more information about a function of a review platform and how to best use it in a workflow. The goal of this series is to show how using a review platform to manage your litigation cases will save time, reduce cost, and even allow a firm to handle more cases within the same amount of time with the resources they already have. Our chosen review platform is Eclipse, though in theory the bulk of this series will apply to any quality review platform.

My next post will cover native files, native processing, and the importance of the metadata for document review. I’ll start the scenario where a client comes to me with a set of data and we will start the journey and even compare pricing of preparing for review in a review platform or converting to PDF for review. Stay tuned.

If you have any specific questions on how to streamline your review, contact me at jwhite@skylineomega.com