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Can a Lawyer Make a Career Out of Reviewing Documents?

Posted on April 03, 2019 by Quid Pro Quo | Candidate Resources
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Many attorneys, at some point in their career, take on temporary legal positions while serving as document reviewers. These positions have grown steadily over the years as the e-discovery industry has done nothing but thrive and boom. But, even so, numerous lawyers wonder if there is a workable career in the document review field.

Is it Possible?

Anything is possible, right? This includes a lawyer making a successful legal career out of continual document review projects. We’re serious.

For those that are unaware of the label “document reviewer,” the title is used to describe attorneys that examine and review documents relevant to some litigation or regulatory investigation. These lawyers review documents in order to determine if certain ones should be turned over to an opposing party in response to a discovery request. Reviewers also search documents to find and redact privileged information.

According to recent e-discovery reports, the e-discovery market was valued at USD 11,521 million in 2017; and, it’s expected to reach a value of USD 19,729 million by 2023. Since the e-discovery industry relies heavily upon document reviewers, these figures tell us that document reviewers will be in high demand for the foreseeable future just to meet the demands and growth of the e-discovery industry. This demand makes a great case for why a lawyer can make a career in the document review market – either working solely at one firm or company (on either a temporary or permanent basis), or bouncing between different organizations and projects.

What are the disadvantages?

Although a lawyer might be able to pursue a career in document review, the question begs…should he? Well, that all depends on the attorney.  There are some cons in making a career out of this field. These include:

  • The work is often long and involves hours upon hours of reviewing documents from a computer screen;
  • Review work is something not traditionally learned from law school (and thus might seem dull); and,
  • Hourly rates have dropped over the past few years and lawyers can likely earn more money by practicing in other niches.

What are the advantages?

While there are disadvantages to a career in document review, there are also advantages. The main benefit lies in the fact that sometimes a firm or corporate legal department may take on a temporary document reviewer as a full-time staff attorney. These lawyers perform a variety of legal tasks, including:

  • Conducting further document review projects;
  • Answering discovery;
  • Researching legal issues;
  • Drafting court pleadings; and,
  • Performing pre-litigation analysis.

A staff attorney position typically differs from a traditional associate role. However, the opportunity still means full-time permanent work as an employee of a law firm or corporate legal department.

QUID PRO QUO understands our candidates’ needs and goals when it comes to document review projects. Over our near 30 years of operation, we have witnessed the growing value and importance placed upon e-discovery; and, we have responded by generating the ability to place candidates on e-discovery projects firm-wide, corporate-wide and nationwide. If you have any document review or e-discovery questions, please contact us today. Also, please visit our Career Portal to learn of any document review projects that we are currently staffing for.


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