Articles From the Team

How long does it take to secure a document review role?

More and more London lawyers want to secure their first or next document review role. In their search, a question I’m often asked is: “how long will the process take?”

The honest answer is: it depends on many factors.

Sometimes, we receive an instruction from a firm and have a lawyer commence the following day, but in other cases, it may take a couple of weeks. Listed below are some of the possible factors and reasons for this.


Most firms, especially US-headquartered firms, request prospective reviewers to complete a conflicts check. These vary in complexity from firm to firm and can take up to two weeks to complete. It’s important to note that some lawyer candidates err on the side of caution when completing these forms. However, the more detail the better. This will speed up the process.


Until a few years ago, only banks and other financial services companies carried out background check; now it’s the norm within the legal sector. Upon securing a review role, lawyer candidates are likely subject to a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, which is a criminal record check, a financial probity check, ID check and in some instances, a Sanctions check. These checks take time and in order for them to take place quickly, we ask candidates to fully comply in providing the documents we request. These checks can take up to two weeks to complete.


In order to commence a project, we must retrieve employer references for the past three or five years (depending on the client). In simple terms, if we can’t show our client that we have the correct references; the lawyer candidate simply can’t start.

Language tests

More and more clients are requesting tests for applicants who claim to read multiple languages to ensure they actually can. This can slow down the recruitment process.

The End Client

The client instructing the law firm may decide to use another firm or a case may settle. Sometimes these things are out of everyone’s control, which can be very frustrating all around.

If you’re a client seeking to hire a team of reviewers or a lawyer/paralegal seeking document review work in London, then please get in touch.

BCL Legal is one of the leading suppliers of document review lawyers and paralegals in the UK.

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