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I've been assigned around 200 documents for a new matter to review. This involves creating entries for each document of interest in software called LexisNexis CaseMap, which includes a "description" field in which I am to write a brief but descriptive summary of the document. Some of these documents are very long (>100 pages) and filled with complex technical verbiage about a variety of subjects, ranging from documents that appear purely legal in nature, and contracts that encompass detailed aspects of software development.

While I am quite familiar with software development, I am not particularly fluent in "legalese," and even the software-related documents seem to have been drafted by lawyers.

I don't have context for the matter yet, and I'm not sure it is a good use of my time to read every document in detail, especially since several of the subjects are well outside of my area of expertise.

Do any of you with more experience have any recommendations for how I can perform this task more efficiently and more effectively? So far, many of my descriptions have been kind of vague.

Edit: I'm not a lawyer myself. My background and experience are in Computer Science. I work for a consulting firm that supplies experts to counsel to do expert review of codebases or hardware. Unfortunately, sometimes we also need to do document review for reasons I don't exactly understand. So I'm looking for tips on getting to the meat of these documents as quickly as possible given that I'm not a lawyer.

  • I wish you gave more context and/or narrowed down the scope of your question. For instance, by "linking in LexisNexis CaseMap", do you mean providing citations of case law? Complex technical verbiage about what? Is "the matter" or "the subjects" one area of the law in particular or many? What do the exhibits consist of? At the outset, it seems wrong/inept to ask you to summarize something on which you have no background (whether it is law or any other subject). In that case, it makes perfect sense that your descriptions would be rather vague. – Iñaki Viggers Feb 27 '20 at 22:26
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    The problem with these legal practice questions is for confidentiality reasons the questions are often vague. But despite this, if we can, we should try to answer them as they are highly relevant to the purpose of the site. – Shazamo Morebucks Feb 28 '20 at 13:20
  • Thanks @ShazamoMorebucks. Yes, I can't go into much detail because of confidentiality. But I tried to edit my question to be more specific. – ribs2spare Feb 28 '20 at 13:21
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these documents are very long (>100 pages) and filled with complex technical verbiage ... several of the subjects are well outside of my area of expertise.

how I can perform this task more efficiently and more effectively?

You need to get an expert in each of those subjects. Task them to summarise the documents in plain English and answer your questions. There is no way around if you have not got a good rapport with those subjects.

  • That would be nice, but we don't have the staff for that. – ribs2spare Feb 28 '20 at 13:11
  • @ribs2spare: then get an external consultant. This is typical consultants work. The whole point of summarizing documents is to separate wheat and chaff, for which you know what is what. – MSalters Feb 28 '20 at 18:38
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It depends on the importance of the documents. If they are all incidental to the case, like a 200 design specifications for various products then something like "Design spec of X product" could do as a description.

If the documents and the facts they support are important then you'll have to go through each individually. If necessary you'll want to hire an expert to decipher them.

But remember to take that step only if its proportional to the importance of the document. A client might be unhappy being billed for an expert analysis of something for a fact not in dispute etc.

  • What if I told you...I supposedly WAS the expert? :/ – ribs2spare Feb 28 '20 at 13:21
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    If the documents are beyond your expertise then you should bring it up with the person who gave you the task. Cases can be won and lost over these kind of things and you don't want it to be your fault. If your supervisor is happy for very basic descriptions then just do that. – Shazamo Morebucks Feb 28 '20 at 13:44

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