Mind the Gap: Workflow and Quality Control

By | 10/04/2017

gears of regulation, rules, compliance, standards, and policesThe recent Wells Fargo data breach brings to mind several process “gaps” that could have occurred, and which could have been avoided with proactive project management at the law firm and vendor. What could have been better? A more thoughtful and detailed workflow? Additional quality control procedures and focused training for the legal team?

Document review is a complex process even for the most experienced. Understanding the ediscovery workflow and being well-trained on the document review platform are essential factors for a successful project. As noted in a Law.com article on July 26, 2017, the lawyer stated, “Unbeknownst to me, the view I was using to conduct the review has a set limit of documents that it showed at one time,” said Wells Fargo’s attorney, Angela Turiano, a New York-based principal at Bressler, Amery & Ross, in an affidavit. “I thought I was reviewing a complete set, when in fact, I only reviewed the first thousand documents.”

There are many questions as to why this happened, but the biggest two are was there sufficient and comprehensive training done for the lawyer on the review platform and why wasn’t there any quality control completed on the production by the legal team and the vendor before it was sent out?

Compounding these issues, there are fundamental foundational questions that, if done correctly, this issue may not have occurred.

1. Why didn’t the lawyer understand that the view only displayed the first 1,000 document?
2. Why didn’t the vendor consult with the lawyer?
3. What safeguards were in place to ensure this didn’t occur?
4. What role did the vendor play in working with the lawyer on the review?
5. Why didn’t the vendor ask questions?
6. What was the review protocol and how was it employed?

Basic project management functions could have avoided this unfortunate scenario entirely. Mistakes happen, but the lack of a thorough understanding of workflow, stringent quality control procedures and detailed training on the review platform played key roles in this scenario.

Ediscovery is not a commodity business. You need a very experienced team working together to ensure these types of mistakes do not occur. At Planet Data, our Senior Project Managers and Senior Hosting Case Managers insert themselves into the process with the legal team and serve as consultants to our clients. Employing protocols, not only workflow and process based, but thorough training and quality control checks make the possibility of this type of error occurring very low.

At the end of the day, it is the legal team’s responsibility to make the legal decision as to what gets produced, but the vendor needs to play a role to ensure the decisions made are validated.

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