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Looking beyond the law firm

Looking beyond the law firm

Through exploring alternative options for legal document review, especially for large scale projects, lawyers can achieve significantly reduced costs to their clients, but they must look outside the firm.


The impact of litigation support technology in increasing law firm productivity is no secret, law firms have avidly adopted the strategic use of technology in litigation, and passed on to their client’s time and costs savings.  Several top-tier Australian firms have developed impressive in-house litigation support capabilities, creating teams dedicated to applied legal technology and working to ensure litigation projects run seamlessly. The majority of firms have chosen to establish close partnerships with external litigation support providers, outsourcing legal technology support based on the size or complexity of the litigation project.  

Yet, despite smart technologies that assist in filtering and identifying relevant information, legal document review costs, the predominate cost in the litigation budget continue to rise, why? Even the most advanced technologies are being outrun by the dramatic increase in electronic information. Whilst the majority of data collected can be culled, categorised and even relevance ranked, there still remains a considerable amount of data requiring review by the human legal mind.

This presents to the legal industry a significant challenge, the obstacle of increased volumes of relevant data and the resulting increased cost, and all this despite the application of intelligent technologies to cull and streamline. Couple this with persistent pressure on firms to reduce a client’s litigation spend and searching for more cost effective options to complete the task of document review.  Enter the non-traditional legal service provider, offering a range of services that go beyond the law firm, namely outsourced subjective document review.

Outsourced subjective document review has been an accepted and well utilised service in the US and EU, however both Australia and the UK have been much slower to adopt the process. This was largely due to the smaller scale and frequency of litigation within Australia, meaning high volume document review teams were not necessarily required, or at the very least required regularly.  However, with the increasing volume of information to review, even for smaller matters, Australian firms are now motivated to look for a solution that achieves high quality results, but reduces litigation spend for their client.

What exactly is outsourced subjective review?  It is the process of contracting an external provider to conduct the review of legal documents to determine information relating to privilege, confidentiality and relevance of documents to the legal issues of the case.  Rates charged for outsourced subjective document review may be on per document or per hour basis, with complexity and depth of review determining the most appropriate price model.  The success of this outsourced document review model is yet to be tested in a sustainable way in Australia; however it is certain the evolution of such services is the next step in non-traditional litigation support and one to watch in the legal market.


To learn more about subjective document review and how it can benefit you, come along to’s in-house (CLE) educational seminar on 24th November, 6pm, Level 3, 9 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. More details can be found on

Written by: Bree Galvin, General Manager of Asia Pacific


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