Many-to-One Document Reviews: The Current Tedious Process and The Role of Technology in Improving It
Legal work is collaborative. Documents go through multiple parties and revisions, transforming from raw drafts into final forms for the client's eyes. The original drafter – the one responsible for delivering the document - has an arduous journey ahead once the first draft is sent for review. They receive multiple versions of the same document with comments, changes, suggestions, and feedback. They have to analyze it and include all of it in the original document.
It's a tedious process with room for error and reputational risk, especially when legal professionals try to do it all manually. If one wrong document is missing crucial facts and changes, you are open to malpractice, loss of clients, and a damaged reputation for the firm and your personal brand.
Luckily, technology can significantly reduce these risks and pave the way for you to quickly compare many versions of the same document and include the necessary changes in the original one.
Let's look at how the current many-to-one document comparison process works and where there is room for digital transformation.
Line by Line Reviews: Screens and Eye Strain
One way many legal professionals compare multiple documents with comments and feedback to incorporate into the original is line-by-line comparison. You set up a few screens, place the original document on one side and the other versions on the rest of the screens and go through it manually.
Because legal professionals are always pressed for time, these comparisons usually happen at the eleventh hour, making them highly susceptible to mistakes. So even if you spend hours playing "spot the difference" for multiple versions of the same document, you could still end up with a document full of flaws and probably a lot of eye pain.
Print All Pages: Wasted Paper and Missed Changes
Another process that legal professionals may follow when trying to finalize a document with multiple revisions: print them all, lay them side by side, and start comparing. It's the paper version of the screen method and just as time-consuming and prone to error - only with lots of wasted paper.
When you print out multiple versions and compare them to the original, there is still a significant probability that you will miss important comments, feedback, and changes just because of the sheer amount of comparing you have to do. Analyzing every word, grammar structure, and punctuation is exhausting. You could be doing more value-added work or simply taking a break instead of finding the differences between multiple documents at 2:00 AM.
The Traditional Approach: Document Comparison Apps
Some legal professionals rely on traditional document comparison applications to automate the many-to-one document review process. These applications help them understand the differences between the many versions of the documents they have been sent.
While comparison apps do a great job at giving an overview of the differences between documents, they fall short in many aspects. For one, legal professionals do not see a holistic view of how their documents have been edited and changed by all reviewing stakeholders. Instead, they have to compare each version with the original document, spending valuable time that their clients could easily write off.
Additionally, there is no way for legal professionals to manage the changes within each document. Quickly accepting and rejecting them is impossible without a unified redline that shows each overlapping change.
Overall, comparison apps are an excellent choice for one-to-one document comparisons, but applying them to many document reviews is challenging.
Litera Review: A Many-to-One Document Comparison Solution
Instead of manually reviewing and comparing each version of your document and incorporating changes into one original document, you can use technology to streamline the process.
Technology such as Litera Review solves all your multiple document comparison needs.
Litera Review is a many-to-one document comparison and review solution designed to consolidate changes of multiple collaborators into one on-screen report, empowering legal professionals to collaborate effectively with faster review times and increased document accuracy and quality.
Litera Review Redlines
With Litera Review, legal teams engage in true turn-based document review, with the ability to quickly accept disparate comments and compare documents of different formats, improving efficiency and increasing the confidence that their document is ready for client sendoff.