While many businesses are fully reopening their offices, for most lawyers and law firms it has been “business as usual” with a (home office) twist. By now, you are a master of virtual meetings, paperless practice, and providing flexible services in the face of unprecedented constraints.
As we transition from full-time remote to in-office or hybrid work models, the communication and operational challenges we’ve been working to address over the past couple of years will continue, and it may even bring about some new ones too.
As we grapple with finding the “new normal”, there is still legal work to be done. That document production deadline might be creeping up or perhaps, now that many of our clients are returning to the office, there is a new collection of documents to review. You might have finally received that document production from opposing counsel that was delayed due to the pandemic.
Ricoh Canada has been operating successful remote document review teams for several years, which is why there’s no better team to share the top tips and tricks learned along the way.
1. Strengthen and streamline communication
A team’s success can often be attributed to strong and effective communication, which is vital to remote work in any capacity. Carrying out remote document review can be quite isolating; when a question arises, it is not as easy as poking your head around the corner to discuss with your colleague next door — and, during this unprecedented time, a lot of questions are likely to arise.
One way to coordinate an open flow for discussion is by using collaborative tools like for instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing. This way, you can check in and hold regular review team meetings via teleconference. Create a living document that all review team members can securely access to view and edit, where you can track questions and the answers provided by senior counsel. Not only will this streamline work and increase the efficiency of your remote review, it will also facilitate collaboration with new team members and get them up to speed quickly. Some review platforms also allow for substantive questions to be tracked within the tool itself, which can make communication even more streamlined.
2. Use the technology
You may be (and hopefully are!) already using all the available analytics tools your chosen review platform offers in order to streamline your review. Keep in mind, there are likely other tools available that can assist with keeping your remote review on track.
For example, dashboards are an amazing tool that can provide a quick visual snapshot of your review and your team’s progress. They can also provide a visual representation of your dataset as it advances including the number of producible documents, the number of documents assigned to each issue and/or designated as “key”, as well as privileged documents.
3. Automate, automate, automate
Use technology to automate as much of your review as possible. Searches can be set up to automatically populate if/when they meet certain criteria. For example, perhaps you only want to review documents that pertain to a certain issue or want to only review privileged documents. You can set your search to automatically populate once a document (or a document and its family) has been tagged to that particular issue or marked as privileged by your team members. In RelativityOne you can also use the tool itself as a communication device, noting questions which require some insight or guidance from senior counsel on the document itself rather than on a separate spreadsheet or through email. These questions can then be tracked in a dynamic search.
4. Invest in training
As they say, a team is only as strong as its weakest member — and is only as qualified as their least-trained person. While it might seem easy enough to say “use the technology” to help maximize the efficiency of your remote review, it can be a whole other challenge to actually do it, especially if you do not have internal technical support or access to an external support provider such as Ricoh. Your team must devote time to training in order to use your review tool effectively. Most major review platforms offer training and certificates through webinars and other online tools. Building this technical knowledge will not only help your remote reviews now but will help you to maximize efficiencies that will positively impact your client both strategically and financially.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to collaborating with your team remotely to complete your review, but these tips should get you started. If you are looking for information on review services and how we can help your team, be sure to reach out to Ricoh today.
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