October 22, 2009
Are contract lawyers being asked to pursue quantity over quality in reviewing documents?
The ABA Journal reports here about increasing pressure on contract attorneys to review discovery documents at a faster pace. A contract lawyer reports having received an e-mail instructing the lawyer to "pick up the pace," and specifying that for the $23 per hour wage being paid, the expectation was that the lawyer review about 80 documents per hour. That was about double the pace at which the lawyer had been reviewing documents.
Having worked on some massive document reviews myself, I agree that it is unreasonable to believe that reviewers will be able to thoughtfully review documents over any sustained period at those rates. When the documents the attorneys are reviewing become lengthy or complex, and the attorneys simply are not capable of reviewing and coding each one in a minute or so, mandates like the one in the e-mail above force a choice: get fired or perform a woefully deficient review.
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