Extract from Jeffrey Wolff’s article “6 Tips For A More Efficient Legal Document Review Process”
It is no secret or surprise to anyone in the legal profession that document review takes up the bulk of the time, effort, and costs surrounding litigation. As the cost associated with litigation continues to rise across the United States, the need for document review to become more efficient has been at the forefront of many legal minds for well over a decade.
The case for tool-assisted solutions is obvious, and one that hardly needs any more explaining at this stage: in 2012, the RAND Corporation published a research brief that concluded that document review by itself absorbed about 73% of the cost associated with litigation, while also signaling that bringing labor cost down wasn’t a realistic option: “The rates paid to [project attorneys] may well have bottomed out, with further reductions of any significant size unlikely. Some companies have turned to LPOs with access to lawyers in other countries (…) but this practice may raise concerns about information security, oversight, maintaining attorney-client privilege, and logistics” (page 2).
In addition to labor costs being an unlikely source of cost reduction, RAND also notes that human reviewer speed has simply reached its apex. Even lawyers with relevant expertise and knowledge top out at roughly 100 documents per hour, a pace they reached decades ago. In 2018, LawGeex, an AI-assisted contract review tool, pitted 20 corporate lawyers against their solution.