Redaction. A simple word with complex underpinnings for most corporate lawyers. It’s a task begrudgingly acknowledged as critical and dismissively described as lower-value work. This paradox is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that almost 75% of partner-level M&A legal advisors report personally being involved with some form of redaction. Risky given current reports of clients continuing to push back on the traditional hourly billing model and legal matter support resources being challenged during the pandemic. Here are 3 reasons law firms should prioritize automation of redaction to address the growing urgency to keep lawyers focused on higher-value work.
Most M&A lawyers have less than sixty days to complete due diligence – placing significant pressure on the quick review of a large amount of data and redaction of confidential terms and images. Redaction tools – standalone or in-app – are proven to reduce these work times significantly.
Consider Datasite’s new Redaction AI. Coupled with previously released features like being able to redact terms across multiple documents and the ability to categorize redactions for future reference, it reduces time spent on this task by up to 80% compared to manual processes. It’s also 50% faster than standalone redaction tools.
Reviewing hundreds – sometimes thousands – of documents is not uncommon during due diligence. This can be quite a mental burden for the lawyer or paralegal tasked with redaction. Understandably, sometimes things get missed. The impact of this oversight can be immaterial or significant.
Datasite redaction tools alleviate this pressure by quickly scanning and parsing large datasets for review and categorization by the end-user. Legal advisors can approach the more strategic and critical thinking aspects of due diligence and dealmaking with a clearer mindset – energized and confident.
Manual redaction involves the printing of documents followed by blocking out sensitive information using a marker or pen. The redacted documents are then physically scanned, uploaded to a hard drive or network drive before being added to the deal room. At some point, hard copies need to be shredded. Needless to say, security risks abound. Yet, for some dealmakers it still feels more secure than automated redaction tools. This skepticism stems from a concern that digitally marked documents run the risk of being unredacted by the other side of a deal or nefarious third parties. This concern isn’t totally unfounded. There have been confirmed cases of this happening – particularly with redaction tools not developed with legal due diligence in mind.
Thankfully, Datasite sets redaction permissions at the user level and are specific to each data room. This directly addresses the security risks imminent with manual processes and standalone redaction tools built for other use cases.
Redaction automation allows legal advisors to work through due diligence more quickly. It also frees them up to focus on higher-value work while reducing the risk of seeing hours of their work discounted on the final client invoice. Click here to learn how Datasite’s redaction capabilities can make a difference on your next deal.