Articles From the Team

Document review – a smart move?

In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of lawyers turning to document review.

There are those who make a conscious decision to work in temporary document review contracts on an ongoing basis; along the lines of ‘temporary being the new permanent.’ This can be for a variety of reasons, but it’s mainly down to money and flexibility.


Hourly rates for City projects are high, and along with the plentiful overtime hours that are paid at time and a half and double time, many document review lawyers have the potential to earn more than their permanent peers.

Flexibility as a document review lawyer – what does this look like and why is it so appealing?

Working in this way offers more than week-on-week flexibility – it also provides an opportunity to take longer holidays/more annual leave. A lot of doc review lawyers tend to work hard on a project before taking a month, or even longer, off; either to trot the globe or undertake renovations or personal hobbies and projects. Soon after, they pick up another project to replenish the funds before the next trip or project. Permanent peers are usually limited to 25-28 days annual leave in one calendar year.

Australian or New Zealand lawyer in London or the UK?

At BCL Legal, we work with many top-class lawyers from Magic Circle-equivalent firms in Australia and New Zealand who come to London on a Tier 5, Spousal or Ancestry visa. A large proportion of them work as document review lawyers – sometimes, for the entire time they’re in London. At the end of their stint, most return home to join a good quality firm as an Associate or if they remain in the UK, get snapped up into permanent posts with top City firms.

In addition, document review is a smart and lucrative way to avoid any gaps in your CV. Yet, I often speak to candidates – usually, those who have only ever worked in a permanent role and are, for whatever reason, between roles – who perceive temporary document review work to devalue their CV, making it harder to secure a permanent role in a highly competitive market.

This common misconception derives from an inability to distinguish between the temporary document review lawyers who work in this way as a career choice and those (like the Australian and New Zealand qualified lawyers) that we work with who choose to fill a gap in their CV wisely. After all, it’s better to have a six-month stint on your CV working for a top City or Magic Circle firm as a document review lawyer, than having the same gap doing nothing!

We work with candidates who seek document review work and firms who are looking for temporary document lawyers. For further information on how we can assist you please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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