The Truth About Document Review Services and Internal Investigations

Dec 2022
Role of Document Review in Internal Investigation Process

Document review is an extensive process. There are hundreds of documents to comb over and analyze to determine patterns of behavior, recurring issues, and more. Based on average data volumes, the average cost of document review for a civil case in the U.S. is $1 million. Does your in-house team have time to manage this process?  

How the Internal Investigation Process Impacts Document Review 

An internal investigation process determines the recommended corrective action for violations of an organization’s rules, regulations, laws, by-laws, or internal policies. Reviewing all documentation during this process is critical as they provide objective information regarding standard operating procedures. They are a meaningful tool to corroborate statements with facts, and conflicting reports can quickly be addressed. 

An investigation is aimed at finding facts and determining patterns of violations. Proving a pattern involves finding documentation of correct procedures and any prior documentation showing non-compliance. For example, you may open an internal investigation of a sexual harassment claim. The inquiry is whether the accused employee has engaged in similar conduct in other situations. This process is not only time-consuming but also requires resources to review hundreds or thousands of documents.  

Some of the most common sources for document review are: 

  • Emails & Calendars  
  • Shared & Network Drivees 
  • Cloud-based storage 
  • Laptops, Desktops, and hard drives 
  • Internal messaging applications 
  • Mobile devices 
  • Accounting Records 
  • Hard copy files of any relevant information 

During the review process, the items collected for the investigation are split into two categories – evidentiary records and peripheral evidence. Each plays a crucial role in an inquiry. 

Types Of Documents Collected For Review 

  1. Evidentiary Records

Evidentiary records are written documents that prove a policy or procedure violation. These documents include emails, notes, files, and interview transcripts. Each document identifies and maintains a record of the documents that pertain to the specific issue and may be used as evidence during the investigation. 

A third-party resource manages the collection, takes inventory of each record, and organizes it accordingly. These records create a timeline of the violation and provide physical proof of the action. This is one of the most painstaking processes, as multiple locations and individuals are involved in obtaining the information.  

  1. Peripheral Evidence

Peripheral evidence includes mobile phones, computers and laptops, cloud storage, and email. These documents help define patterns and may be missed if a complete review is not performed. Analytics also uncover unknown facts or other areas where there may be violations. Collecting this information can be even more difficult than gathering evidentiary records, because the data is stored digitally, and there could be hundreds of places to find documents. 

Compilation and Arrangement of Documents 

After the documents are collected and organized, a list of potential witnesses is created, and the information obtained is corroborated with the physical copies. You may identify additional witnesses during the deposition testimony of the primary witnesses. Compiling the documents and organizing them provides a chronological list of events to reference during testimony.  

How Outsourcing Maintains Confidentiality 

Confidentiality is critical to an investigation to prevent bias or retaliation. It is a significant process component and begins with the document review. This is one reason utilizing a third party for document review is helpful. Because they are not involved with any of the people in the company, they can keep all documentation and evidence confidential and ensure the information only goes to those conducting the investigation—confidentiality of the investigation process and its credibility form another significant component. An independent reviewer also maintains the chain of custody and preserves the information in its original state so that no privilege is breached.  

Document Review and Internal Investigation: In-house or Outsourced? 

Many companies outsource the document review process for cost and time savings. A third-party service provider has a team of experts trained in document review and can examine documents quickly. In addition, your staff may need more expertise to accurately analyze the document’s relevance to the case. Outsourcing this process gives you access to experts with years of experience conducting document reviews in multiple departments and industries. This expertise guarantees efficient document collection and recording to provide accurate reporting to help you make an informed decision.   

Internal investigations are stressful and time-consuming. Adding these tasks to someone’s already busy day risks inaccurate data collection and a lengthy investigation process. An outsourced service helps streamline document gathering and organization. They can also analyze metrics to determine patterns and a timeline of the issue. 247Digitize has dedicated document review teams to plan, review meticulously, and coordinate the actions they need to take to rectify the situation between stakeholders. One of our litigation support projects involved 302,000 fields of bibliographic coding indexed at >99% accuracy. Our teams do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on getting back on track.  

Do you need document review services? Contact us today for more info on this specialized service. Call +1-888-524-7348 or email for details!