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The document review is a critical component to most litigation. At its most basic level the document review is used to sort out responsive documents to produce and privileged documents to withhold. At later stages it is the time where the legal team can begin to gain a greater understanding of the factual issues in a case. It is also a time where legal strategies can emerge and begin to develop based on the type of information that is found in the collection of documents. There will inevitably be different strategies implemented for reviewing documents in preparation for production versus documents produced by opposing counsel, but the common thread is the need to (a) understand the scope of the review, (b) put in place supervision and procedures for managing the reviewers and (c) select the appropriate vendor, tools and platform for the review.

Electronic discovery, with its enormous volume of data, can seem daunting. The good news is that significant improvements in data storage, database and search technology, and online review functionality are providing increasingly efficient options for handling the volume of data and streamlining the review process. In addition, emerging search technologies that use methods like concept-based searching, linguistic pattern recognition and other areas that move beyond traditional keyword searching are now being used for initial culling of data as well as to provide supplemental search capabilities for different stages of the document review. A general knowledge of tools and trends has become an important part of the job responsibilities for those charged with preparing for a document review.

In this section we will discuss the many factors to be considered in preparing for a document review and managing it to completion. This includes the initial planning for the review, selecting a vendor, determining whether a review is better performed in-house or externally, system functionality, search capabilities, training of reviewers, production tools and a wide range of related management issues. Our focus will be on electronic data, although some issues also are pertinent to the review of paper documents.

Finally, we will look at emerging technologies and trends. These offer the hope of helping us enhance our ability to handle the growing volume of data and allowing us to further streamline the review process. If we accomplish those two objectives, we will be able to better serve our organizations and clients and will increase our chances of meeting the objectives of a sound overall litigation strategy.

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