As a managed document review leader and attorney for more than 10 years, Senior Director Thuy Nguyen has worked on dozens of large and complicated investigations, many of which involve unique data challenges and language complexities that require specialised oversight. In this Q&A, Thuy discusses several recent matters that highlight the importance of quality document review and access to experienced reviewers.
Thuy, managed review investigations are often high stakes, time sensitive cases that span multiple jurisdictions. Can you speak to some of the nuances in process and approach that may vary between different regions?
Yes, there is a difference from one region to the next in terms of the way managed review is approached. At the same time, teams in Europe are often working in concert with teams in the U.S. and other regions. So, depending on where a matter is and the extent to which those teams are dispersed among different regions, there will be different workflows and quality controls that need to be managed.
One of the ways we handle this is to leverage our global footprint by assigning specific review tasks to reviewers from various regions to offer local language skills, a range of international privilege expertise, and to adhere to jurisdictional data privacy requirements. This allows our team to scale up, or down, our reviews efficiently and maximising our global resources for any matter.
There are also often unique data issues that vary from one matter to the next. Do you have an example of that and how FTI Technology’s managed document review team addressed it?
A recent matter we handled for a global financial institution facing concurrent regulatory inquiries from multiple jurisdictions provides a perfect example. Our team was engaged to conduct an in-depth investigation across multiple jurisdictions, including the provision of digital forensics, data processing, project management and managed document review services. Given the nature of the investigation and the client’s industry, the team was asked to tackle large volumes of complex financial documents and a range of emerging data sources.
Under very tight timeframes required by regulators, our team provided a diverse pool of document reviewers with a breadth of experience across financial services and regulatory investigations. The project team brought a depth of expertise in handling emerging data sources to ensure all potentially relevant information could be properly searched, reviewed and disclosed. Taken together, the specialised knowledge in data management and review was instrumental in refining the data set, preparing materials for an efficient and coherent review and identifying key documents as early as the first week of the project. Key wins included our expert review manager identifying 100,000 Bloomberg chat files ripe for analysis by the data transformation team, resulting in an effective culling which saved the client 1,000 hours of review.
Multi-language review capabilities are also commonly needed in these large-scale investigations. What is FTI Technology’s approach to handling complex language reviews?
Yes, the ability to review documents efficiently and accurately in a wide variety of languages is critical. This is an area in which our team is especially strong, and we’ve handled several recent matters that really demonstrate the excellence of our multi-language capabilities.
In the financial services investigation I mentioned before, there were 11 different languages, including English and a rare European language, represented in a set of 14 million documents. We therefore provided elite document reviewers with both financial industry experience and language fluency. This ability to staff such a team, combined with our expert-led approach, resulted in discovery of key documents within the first 72 hours of review, providing the client with a roadmap of further custodians and data types to target in their efforts to identify additional key documents.
Another matter, a billion-euro money laundering and sanctions violations investigation at a European financial services institution, also involved rare language challenges. We were engaged to support digital forensic investigation and document review across billions of transactions, tens of millions of customers, and 20 million documents containing key information in Swedish, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian languages. Our global roster and ability to bring in resources with fluency across all the languages involved allowed us to assemble a highly capable team quickly and help the client tackle a significant legal and regulatory crisis.
Finally, will you explain FTI Technology’s Find Facts Fast approach and how it’s applied in these matters with data and language complexities?
The concept behind Find Facts Fast is that regardless of whether the effort is for a document production or an internal investigation, there’s a need to understand the information quickly and pull the key documents so the case team can start to build the case as early as possible. Then, if there’s a production required later, a review team can still conduct a detailed review, but with the benefit of detailed guidance which leverages the insights gathered from key documents analysed during the Find Facts Fast exercise.
For example, our team helped a client conduct a targeted review of a suspected legal issue that had the potential to scale to a multi-jurisdiction investigation. The client needed to quickly review a population of documents across more than 30 custodians, to ascertain the validity of the claims in advance of a board meeting at which key decisions would be made about how to move forward. Under tight timelines and navigating sensitive internal issues at the client, our team applied the Find Facts Fast workflow to examine electronic documents, email and short message communications and synthesise the key facts and findings and provide a detailed report to aid counsel in the validation of the suspected legal issue. Hundreds of key documents were uncovered and understood within the first few days of review, which supported outside counsel in developing a strategy and preparing for witness interviews.
Conversely, if the client had instead conducted a full scope first-pass review, that approach would have resulted in a gradual promotion of key documents and themes, which would have extended the time required to conduct the interviews and made it untenable for the client to meet the reporting deadline of under one month.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.