Just What Is Document Review?

By Andrew Lu on December 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you ask 10 different attorneys what document review is, you'll probably get 10 different answers.

Basically, a document review project is one where a law firm will need a lot of attorneys on a temporary basis to review a vast amount of information. Document review projects frequently come up in mergers and acquisitions, and in cases that involve a government investigation.

But while this may be a standard definition for document review, perhaps a more fitting synonym for a doc reviewer should be "coder." The only tools you'll need for a doc review are your monitor and mouse. Typically, you won't even really need your brain.

At the start of a doc review project, you'll learn that you have certain categories with which you can code your documents. Don't worry, there won't be too many categories to remember, and they usually boil down to "relevant" and "not relevant."

A bunch of documents will then be uploaded onto your computer. These documents can range from internal memos to random emails about someone's lunch plans. As you read each one, you'll then simply code it into one of the categories.

A document review position is not difficult. In fact, the hardest things you may have to deal with are how to survive your eight-hour workday without being bored to death, and how to get along with the many divergent personalities you'll meet at the firm.

A doc review position can be tedious, but it can come with benefits too. First, doc reviewers tend to be paid fairly well, so you can stay afloat and live a decent lifestyle as you figure out your next step. In rare instances, a doc review job may lead to a full-time job.

But after learning for yourself what document review really is, chances are you'll probably also realize that getting these projects should not be the end goal of your career.

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