Why Offshore Document Review Services?
During Discovery, parties can compel the other party to provide them with evidence such as documents that may be pertinent to their claim, whether as a claimant or defendant, in cases of civil actions. Although the definition of discovery is broad, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure excludes privileged information from the purview of evidence that may be exacted during discovery under Rule 26(b) (1). Complying with discovery rules can be particularly difficult for the parties, since they have to go through loads of evidence in order to review and respond to each discovery request. The discovery process also entails significant legal costs for the litigants.
The Lengthy Discover Process
As representatives of the parties, it is the responsibility of the attorneys to conduct review of the documents that are needed to be produced during discovery, and this review process may consume significant amounts of time and effort, thereby increasing the costs for each party during litigation. Traditionally, it was the attorneys themselves who reviewed the documents in order to exclude irrelevant or privileged documents, however, with the advancement of technology the volume of documents and information that may be subject to review during discovery exploded. “Electronically stored information” or ESI was declared as discoverable under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, commencing the era of e-discovery. During large-scale litigation, document review may involve millions of e-mails and other forms of electronically stored information, often making up nearly 90% of discoverable material.
Leveraging Document Review Services
The primary stage of the document review process includes reviewing documents for:
- Work-product confidentiality & issue codes
Not only does this process take up a large segment of litigation efforts and costs, but is also considered monotonous and unnecessarily consuming work by high profile attorneys at prohibitive costs. For that reason, this part of the discovery process is often outsourced to litigation support service providers including individual contractors, companies and offshore providers. Litigation Support is provided by specialized providers consisting of legal professionals assisting attorneys and law firms by designing and developing databases for managing, sorting, indexing, abstracting, and coordinating the large volumes of data produced in major litigation. They may also help in overall management of firms by supervising staff, vendors, junior attorneys, data entry personnel etc., apart from conducting document review.
Litigation support is outsourced, not only to domestic providers but also to offshore countries such as India to lower costs and shorten the discovery timeline. This outsourcing of the document review process to specialized firms, commonly termed as “Managed Document Review” has proven to reduce litigation costs by three quarters for some law firms. For instance, a case study by Biz & Legis, a legal service provider wherein a law firm approached Biz & Legis to outsource the review of over 20,000 documents during discovery shows that the client found his litigation costs reduced by 75% without compromise in the quality of the review process.
DuPont has relied on overseas resources to conduct large scale reviews reserving their domestic for developing arguments, writing briefs, and other trial work. Even contract attorneys generally charge $150 per hour for document review that is conducted by paralegals, but offshore providers charge only about $30 per hour by actual attorneys. India’s legal system is quite similar to the United States and English is the primary language for law students. Thus, a multitude of highly qualified document reviewers can be hired quickly and on an as-needed basis at significantly lower costs.
Whilst DuPont itself was a client rather than a law firm, the strategy of outsourcing document review can reduce costs for the law firms as well. The primary reason for the reduction in costs experienced by DuPont was the lower pay requirements of offshore lawyers. Within an average American law firm, a paralegal usually accorded with tasks of document review demands a salary of over $50,000 a year, which is significantly higher than the $30,000 demanded by the average attorney in India. If firms choose to outsource discovery support services to offshore document review providers like Kensium, they can reduce costs not only for the clients but also for themselves.
Apart from the financial aspect of reduction in litigation costs, the move toward offshore document review process is also driven by considerations of efficiency and availability of around the clock services. By tapping resource pools on the other side of the globe, firms can effectively halve their review time when seizing on differences in time zones. They can hire highly qualified legal professionals trained specifically in document review methodologies to provide consistent, credible and cost-effective work. This also allows law firms to engage their qualified attorneys in work demanding usage of core competencies generating higher rates of return and demanding higher levels of expertise (such as preparation of arguments and briefings), rather than use their efforts in tasks that may be performed by other professional service providers for lower costs.
Document review conducted using document review software often requires strong knowledge and expertise for best results. For smaller firms with limited human resources, the benefit of using discovery professionals for document review are even higher since they may not possess expertise in the area of document review. Whether a linear review or technology assisted, these services can be provided by specialized companies or individual professionals, who are well-versed in document review workflows and technology and can maximize productivity.
Document Review, an important part of the discovery process, involves review of virtual and hardcopy documents for relevancy and privilege, and can consume immense efforts, thereby increasing costs for firms and its clients. Though an important pre-trial procedure, the task can be performed well by offshore litigation support providers. Outsourcing can reduce costs without compromising on the quality of review , and is thereby used by law firms for primary stages of document review.
Call 877 KENSIUM (536-7486) or email firstname.lastname@example.org today for details!
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