Articles From the Team
A guide to working as a temporary document review lawyer
What is Document Review?
Document review is when lawyers and paralegals examine documents relevant to pending litigation and regulatory investigations. It is quite often the most labour intensive stage of litigation. Teams of lawyers and paralegals will analyse the documents for key information. The review process often consists of several stages. Quite often the first review involves analysing the documents for relevance and coding them for relevant subject matter. The coded data is then loaded into a searchable database. A second more detailed review is then carried out. The purpose of the review is to determine which documents are relevant, privileged and confidential.
Who employs document review lawyers?
Most firms ranging from small litigation boutiques through to the top global firms will employ document review lawyers when they are handing a large litigation matter. There are also specialist outsourcing companies who win work from law firms and manage the disclosure on their behalf, who engage temporary document review lawyers and paralegals.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of firms in London employing lawyers and paralegals on a temporary basis to undertake document review work. With the rise of financial services litigation and investigations we have seen a significant increase in the number of firms who seek candidates to work on high profile matters such as the LIBOR investigation and Foreign Exchange matter.
What skills are required to work as a Document Review Lawyer/Paralegal?
Typically candidates with a strong background in commercial litigation are preferred, however this is not always the case as other required skills such as a specific language, legal specialism or e-discovery software such as Relativity or Kroll may take precedent. With the rise in the number of instructions coming through for candidates to work on LIBOR or FX cases, new candidates who are not conflicted on these matters are highly sought after. This means that candidates who are brand new to the document review market in London, such as foreign qualified lawyers with a litigation background who have just relocated here, are easy to place into such projects.
How long does a typical contract/project last?
This really depends upon the nature of the instruction from the client and also the particular case. We have seen some projects run for 2 years + whereas others have been 3 months, with some being as short as a couple of weeks. It depends upon the number of documents and size of the review team.
What can I expect to earn?
Again this varies depending upon the firm and amount of overtime available. Typically a qualified lawyer can expect to earn £30-40 per hour and a paralegal can expect anything from £13-17 per hour. With regards to overtime, we find that typically overtime is available and most firms will pay time an a half and double time after a certain number of standard hours have been worked per week.
Are there any other benefits of working as a temporary document review lawyer?
As a temporary worker you are covered by the AWR regulations which means that you benefit from the same facilities and other benefits such as annual leave entitlement as the firms permanent employees.