3 Benefits of a Simple Document Review Coding Layout




Complicated document review coding palettes not only add time to review, quality control (QC), and production, but can also lead to production errors and coding inconsistency across document families and duplicates.

A simplified document review layout will help ensure a speedy review with better consistency and a quicker, more precise QC cycle. Here’s why…

I recently migrated a legacy Concordance database to D4’s Relativity environment. Because both systems share load file formats, this migration is typically a pretty simple job, but this specific migration was anything but.  It was complicated by the fact that this specific Concordance database, which housed only 130,000 documents, contained more than 7,000 tags. That’s an average of only 18 documents per tag. I have designed and administered hundreds of litigation review databases, but this was by far the most tags I have ever seen in a Concordance database. I began to wonder about the practicality of all these tags; how would they be applied, how would you run conflicts before production, how would you be able to discern the differences between similar tags?

Of course, this is an extreme example, but every day I am struck by the complexity of the coding layouts requested by our clients.

For document production purposes there are really only a handful of calls to be made:

  • Is the document responsive?
  • Does it contain privileged material?
  • Does a protective order for confidentiality apply?
  • Should it be redacted?
  • Does it apply to one of our issues?
  • Is there a technical issue preventing the document from being reviewed?

While they may seem basic, these are the only questions that need to be answered by a document review layout, yet every day we are asked to create increasingly complex review palettes.

Our most basic review layouts seem to be the most successful, and that success is measured by the following three benefits.

1. Speed of Review

Document reviewers are an intelligent group, but even the brightest of reviewers get confused by complexity. A simple, efficient review coding layout reduces complexity which means less time thinking about the decision and more time spent making decisions. A simple palette also means fewer mouse clicks. In short a simple review means less confusion, fewer clicks and fewer decisions.

2. Improved Consistency

Despite their intelligence, document review can be mind-numbing for reviewers, and the more decisions required of a reviewer means an increased chance of distraction. A simple review layout will improve reviewer retention, focus, and lead to fewer questions. All of these factors help promote better consistency across the review.

3. Quicker, More Precise QC

In addition to enhanced speed of review, a simple coding layout also yields a quicker, more accurate quality control review. Fewer choices on a layout mean less room for error and fewer mistakes for your project manager to correct. During the production conflict check process, a simple approach allows for productions to be finalized and generated more quickly because there are fewer opportunities for conflicts to be created.

Document review is not rocket science or brain surgery; it does not need to be complicated. A simple coding layout is a step in the right direction toward de-mystifying the process and creating a more efficient, more consistent review and QC cycle.

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