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How to Do Virtual Document Reviews

A person's hands typing on a laptop keyboard with digital graphics overlaid, symbolizing cloud computing, data transfer, and online security. Icons include a shield, gears, cloud with arrows, mail, document, and multimedia symbols, representing virtual document management and cybersecurity.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing trends in remote work, ordinary business practices have firmly begun to move online. However, that shift has not been seamless and organizations have faced obstacles requiring pivots into new directions. In eDiscovery, a particular challenge is conducting document reviews virtually while still maintaining high standards of efficiency and accuracy.

Technology Considerations

Ahead of performing a virtual document review, consider screening the reviewer’s home technology. What kinds of technology are at their disposal, and what level of support do they need? Which operating system is on their computer? How fast is their internet? Is their webcam resolution high enough to perform biometric authentication as a security measure? These questions should be asked ahead of placing someone on a review team.

Due to the potentially confidential nature of data being reviewed, it is paramount to take extra steps to ensure security during virtual document review. Additional security measures to take can include webcam user identity authentication, restrictions on printing, saving, or copying what is onscreen, and audit trails. If using webcam authentication, it can be helpful to ensure the user’s background will be consistent throughout the review. Otherwise, this can affect their lighting enough that the program will not recognize them.

Communicating with the Review Team

Frequent communication via phone and email can help alleviate concerns over fully remote document reviews. This also ensures that questions can be answered in real time, as they would during an in-person review. Briefing the review team on the specifics of a case with a virtual conference is straightforward enough, but which methods are available remotely to ensure the team is being accurate and on-track throughout the whole review?

If productivity is a concern, there are software solutions available that can track and analyze how many documents a reviewer has covered in a day, their active hours spent reviewing, and collective metrics for the whole review team. These systems of measurement can be useful when billing separately for review time by offering a more complete picture of when and how work was completed.

There is more room for confusion in a remote document review because the review team is not always given as many opportunities to ask questions as they are in-person, so planning for increased quality control can be a way to identify any accuracy issues and offer feedback to both individual reviewers and the group.

Virtual document reviews require some additional preparation and considerations, but they are very manageable in today’s increasingly remote workplace. As with many modifications brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibility is essential. Working hours may shift, communications may increase, and new security measures may be adopted, but the reward for all these efforts will be an accurate, efficient document review.

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