Matthew Porter
Matthew Porter
Director: London Private Practice: Interim and Paralegals

Articles From the Team

How do I become a document review lawyer?

BCL Legal is one of the largest suppliers of document review lawyers to law firms and outsourcing companies in London. We are often asked by lawyers who haven’t worked in document review projects before “how do I become a document review lawyer?”

Document review roles can be financially lucrative and can offer a greater work life balance for many lawyers. Also, due to the length of assignments and because the roles are temporary, many lawyers enjoy long periods of time off to pursue non-law ventures.

Document review isn’t for everyone but for those seeking to enter this market here are my top tips:

  • You must be available at short notice. When we are instructed by our clients to staff a project the maximum lead in time is two weeks and often we are asked to fill positions which may start within a day or two. Therefore, if you are a lawyer in a permanent role with a notice period of four weeks or more, you will be automatically ruled out. Law firms and outsourcing companies work on tight timescales and won’t delay a start date. If you want to become a review lawyer you will have to leave your permanent role and the financial stability that that provides.
  • Candidates with strength in litigation are usually preferred; however, many non-litigious lawyers become successful review lawyers. Tailor your CV so that any litigation experience is highlighted. If, during your training contract, you assisted with a disclosure exercise and used a document review platform, make this clear on your CV.
  • If you speak (and read) a foreign language to a business level then include that on your CV. A-Level or conversational language skills aren’t enough but if you are lucky enough to be bi or tri-lingual then include this on your CV. We often recruit review lawyers who have minimal experience but proficiency in a foreign language.
  • Be open to accepting projects which offer a lower hourly rate than you deem to be ideal. When starting out you should look to add review projects to your CV. Demonstrating that you have tangible review experience will open the door to the higher paid reviews. If you have no review experience and keep holding out for roles paying £35/hr my guess is you will not succeed. Instead, try taking a short term role that may pay only £20-£22/hr and use this experience to enhance your CV. Remember, when you are not working you are not earning.
  • Keep updating your CV – include all of the projects that you have worked on and the relevant review platform – even if the project was only short term.
  • Register with multiple agencies; we recruit for some of our clients on an exclusive basis but we don’t recruit for all law firms and outsourcing companies in the City (although we are working on that!). Only give consent to one agency to represent you when multiple agencies are recruiting for the same firm/outsourcing company.
If you are an experienced review lawyer or someone just starting out then get in touch with us to discuss opportunities. Likewise, if you are a law firm or outsourcing company and need additional assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me.

For more information please contact Matthew Porter at BCL Legal.

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