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Remote Doc Review vs. Document Review Center (what to know)

Remote Doc Review vs. Document Review Center (what to know)

In March of 2020 the world as we know it likely changed forever. COVID-19 forced most employers to send their employees home to learn how to work remotely.  For some this was an easy migration and a fairly seamless transition.  For other industries however, it was a seismic shift in the way to conduct business.  One of the industries that we at Hartford Technology Rentals works closely with is legal staffing organizations that specialize in document reviews.

Prior to COVID-19, legal staffing organizations hosted all document review projects at their document review centers.  A typical staffing company would fill their document review centers with rented tables, chairs and desktop PCs spaced about every two feet apart.  Due to the costs of workspaces, most tried to operate at maximum capacity which made for some very tight work conditions.  Everything about a staffing project was temporary in nature including the contract attorneys, the office space, the computer equipment and even the daily coffee service.  Like everything, there are pros and cons to this type of solution.


  • Everyone’s Together

The biggest advantage of hosting document reviews in review centers is you have all the contract attorneys in one place.  This makes it significantly easier to manage and have impromptu team meetings.  Additionally this is beneficial to the staffing company’s client as they sometimes take an office onsite to oversee the review.  Although this issue can be overcome via Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, having everyone together certainly has its benefits.

  • Technical Issues

Any technical issues can be addressed quicker due to onsite staff being available to solve issues.  If the staffing company uses Hartford, our legal staffing solution allows us to quickly remote connect to any PC and resolve an issue.  On top of that, we provide onsite spare equipment allowing staff to simply swap out malfunctioning equipment quickly and easy, which nearly eliminates any possibility of down time.


  • Talent Constraints

Having local reviews can in some instances limit the expertise you can get for a particular matter as you’re constrained by the talent pool in the area.

  • Costs

Due to fluctuating projects, staffing companies find themselves regularly having to negotiate on adding to or reducing temporary workspaces.  Additionally, you will need to consider Internet access, furniture, coffee service, liability insurance and of course computer workstations.  Now if you work with Hartford, you would probably have taken us up on our Flex Rent option.  It is the best option for fluctuating needs as it provides for us to keep equipment in your workspace and we only charge you when workstations are activated.  It was a fantastic way to control costs and only pay for their use.

The biggest problem with opening document review centers today is the social distancing requirements in the workplace will not allow for staffing companies to fill them at maximum capacity which means their per reviewer cost will rise significantly.  On top of that, additional sanitary supplies such as wipes, masks and even air filters will be required as well as possible desk shields needing to be installed.  These are real costs that add up which puts additional pressure on staffing companies whose margins are already thin.

Distributed Staffing Solution

In 2020, legal staffing companies like many companies were hit hard by COVID-19 and were forced to rethink how they would conduct document reviews in light of the pandemic, as the current model of packing contract attorneys into offices was no longer an option.

Practically all of the legal staffing companies were forced to close their review centers and figure out how to operate under lockdown restrictions.  Hartford works with many of the nation’s top legal staffing companies and introduced what we call distributed staffing solutions for remote doc reviews.  It was initially met with trepidation from our clients but was soon embraced as the way forward during the lockdown.  Now that we’re into 2021 and our client list for our distributed staffing solution continues to grow, it looks like remote doc reviews are here to stay and for good reason.  While there are some drawbacks, the advantages outweigh them.


  • Reduced Costs

Remote doc reviews eliminate a lot of the overhead costs in traditional doc reviews with the big one being workspace rent.  Additionally there is no need for furniture, utilities or Internet costs.  As legal staffing has razor thin margins, this advantage alone can help reclaim your margins.

  • Larger Talent Pool

Besides saving on rent costs, a distributed model also provides the additional advantage of allowing projects to draw upon a larger talent pool across the US and ensure you have the right expertise the project requires.


  • Dispersed Team

Having the contract attorneys spread out geographically requires a little more planning when a team meeting needs to take place.  Team meetings will now have to take place virtually through platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  All of our laptops and our all-in-one PC option include built-in cameras to facilitate these meetings.  You also might feel like the contract attorneys aren’t as productive as they would be in the office and that is a valid concern.  With Hartford, we do offer an option to ensure your remote staff stays productive with these features:

  • Monitoring: you can remotely watch all of the remote reviewers working on the project at hand.
  • Restrictions: we can restrict access to websites other than a list of approved sites by you.
  • Reporting: our preinstalled software will send you a daily report letting you know how each reviewer’s time was spent.
  • Security

With sensitive data at risk, remote doc reviews can be more vulnerable to data breaches especially if you’re providing laptops which are mobile in nature.  Security is a must.  The data not only needs to be encrypted while at rest and during transit, it needs to be secured from external threats.  Our solution was reviewed and approved by several large law firms with strict data security protocols.  We address data integrity with our remote security and management solution that provides the following:

  • Power On Password
  • 2 Accounts (Admin & Reviewer)
    • Reviewer will not have access to admin account.
  • Bit Locker Drive Encryption
  • Disable USB Mass Storage
  • Disable Printing
  • Application Restrictions
  • Website Restrictions
  • Endpoint Protection Software if required (Symantec EndPoint or Crowdstrike)

Which Option Is Best?

While legal staffing companies are still figuring out where to go from here, the answer might be to take the best of both options and create a hybrid option whereas you split your staffing team.

Consider operating out of a smaller space, have 1/2 of the teamwork from home for one or two weeks, and then rotate with the other team.  This frees up space in your center and gives you some balance in managing the contract staff.  For equipment, instead of using traditional desktop PCs at the review centers, assign a laptop to each of the contract attorneys and have secondary monitors in the office to boost productivity.  Hartford can provide a secure laptop solution with remote management capabilities that will comply with your client’s security requirements.

The nice thing about this solution is that in the event a lockdown happen again, it will be seamless for staff to leave the review center with their assigned laptop and begin working from home the same day.

No matter how you intend to conduct document reviews, Hartford has a variety of technology solutions to meet your needs.  For more information, give a call at 888-520-5667 or contact us via email.  We would be happy to learn about your needs and share with you some ideas to help keep your business running and reclaim your margins.