Above the Law posted about Michelle Obama telling Oprah how great being a lawyer was how terrible document review is:

…she preaches about the soul-crushing nature of document review. “I was doing document production in Washington, D.C., and I was like, ‘I can’t do this for the rest of my life. I can’t sit in a room and look at documents.’ I won’t get into what that is, but it’s deadly. Deadly. Document production.”

My Take:

Deadly? Only if you count making you want to kill yourself as ‘deadly.’

I have a weird relationship with large document review projects. I kind of like it, but I know it’s not good for me. I suspect it’s how smokers feel about cigarettes.

Or maybe it’s like alcohol? A little can be fun. Too much will always hurt you.

Document review is an area where lawyers can make a real difference in a case. Whether representing plaintiff or defense, finding and dealing with the ‘smoking-guns’ can make a huge impact.

Sometimes defendants produce smoking-guns, but plaintiff’s counsel don’t spot them. The nightmare for defense lawyers is producing a smoking-gun without recognizing its significance and preparing witnesses to answer questions about it.

It’s a lot easier today than when Michelle Obama did it.

Back in the day, attorneys had to go to the documents and review them in dungeons. More than once I can remember pulling client documents out of mini-storage units in far-flung locales for review and production. I spent a lot of time in places like Logan, Utah.

Now, everything is on searchable pdfs, with some platforms using artificial intelligence to help the reviewers.