The search for the illusive smoking gun has always demanded a certain degree of document review which, with the rapid advances in technology, is becoming centralised on computerised review platforms. But with the exponential increase in electronic data and the growing desire for reduced costs in a difficult economic environment, our clients are benefitting from the help of experts in performing large and complicated eReviews.
In investigations and litigation document reviews have traditionally taken place across a large quantity of hardcopy documents by a company's lawyers. But in response to growing pressures on board executives to show value for money in the advice they recruit, it has become essential to demonstrate that advisors have the effective means and the relevant experience to perform an electronic review. It is no longer enough to throw a team of intelligent but expensive lawyers at a document review challenge. Review management has become a skill of itself. Only by bringing the right people and the right technology together can a review hope to achieve efficiency whilst maintaining quality.
The exponential increase in data volumes means that the cost of the legal teams reviewing the data has reached a point where it often fails to justify the end result. At this point, the client and its advisors are forced to find a better approach and the optimisation of the review process must begin. This means breaking the review down in an intelligent way and asking some key questions such as:
- Are the right people carrying out the different elements of the review? For example, could elements of the review be carried out by less qualified staff, such as a 'first pass' factual review)? Or can we quickly segregate sensitive documents using technology and provide these to more senior reviewers?
- What is the most efficient means of ensuring quality? Rather than throwing a large team of senior reviewers at the problem, can we use a small team armed with specialist technology for quality control purposes?
- Can technology help in other ways? For example, computer-assisted review, where machine learning is used to enhance the review, is a concept that some judges and regulators are keen to embrace - if managed appropriately. Can the machine replicate the workings of a group of senior reviewers to provide greater accuracy and speed? Can statistical sampling help avoid the review a large batches of entirely irrelevant material?
The complexity of the subject matter of a review can often be a real cause for concern for companies and their regulators, and can add significant amounts of time and cost. By combining the expertise of subject matter experts and eReview experts the effects of escalating costs and aggressive deadlines can be mitigated.
It is often the case that regulators will impose aggressive deadlines throughout an investigation. This makes it all the more essential, in trying to satisfy the regulators needs, to be able to gain a strong understanding of the material from the outset of the investigation, which in turn enables the reviewing parties to find key information and progress the investigation in accordance with the deadlines. To meet these stringent requirements it can be invaluable to use a review team that has experience in dealing with regulators or the City of London Police, for example.
An experienced review team will have the benefit of knowing exactly what platforms will complement the client's needs, as well as how best to manage and review the data, including performing Early Case Assessments and provide the appropriate training for any other reviewers.
KPMG's eReview team comprises legally qualified staff who have undertaken a number of electronic reviews across a variety of different industries including some of the more high profile regulator driven investigative projects within KPMG. Each member of the team is experienced in the review platforms and in particular how best to utilise those platforms in light of the specific client needs/requirements, as well as meeting the regulators' demands.