Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Doing Document Review in China

Lesson 3: Compliance Review Is Not Just About State Secrets

January 26, 2020

By Michael Vella, Managed Discovery

Managed Discovery understands the needs of lawyers because we have walked in your shoes, including down the unusual paths of the People’s Republic of China. Our team of legal specialists has more than a decade of experience handling litigation and investigations involving documents and witnesses residing in China. Through this experience, we have formed definite views about how PRC document review can be managed efficiently, qualitatively, and in compliance with local law.

In connection with the launch of our China Document Review Service , we are pleased to share the top four lessons we have learned about the China review environment in this series of emails.

Lesson 3: Compliance Review In Not Just About State Secrets

Challenge: As in most jurisdictions, PRC law requires some form of compliance review to ensure there is no violation of local law requirements. But compliance with local law, such as the China State Secrets Law, should not compromise the quality of your substantive review. When staffed adequately and supervised properly, the review by local lawyers should seamlessly encompass both relevance review and compliance review in an efficient workflow that includes timely feedback. But too often, international law firms and their e-discovery providers lose control of the review process by deferring to a local law firm to conduct a first-pass compliance review before any relevance review is conducted. This is wasteful because it effectively involves two separate lawyer reviews of the same document. Even if the local firm reviews for both compliance and relevance, they often remain a separate team and fail to provide the type of prompt feedback that e-discovery vendors need to identify and re-batch the most relevant documents. Without prompt feedback, the review suffers both in terms of quality and efficiency. The point of this lesson is that compliance with local law does not require loss of control of the review process. Of course, lawyers and clients need to comply with local law. But with the right planning, compliance with local law can be achieved as part of an integrated review process focused on the merits of the case.

Solution: Because privacy-related risks arise in every case, Managed Discovery prefers to talk about the process of compliance review more generally, and not just about state secrets review. As part of the compliance review process, companies and law firms should not only ensure that the document review is sensitive to State Secrets concerns, but also must be careful to identify and protect private information. This may involve significant redaction of personally identifiable information (PII). In addition, the best-managed compliance teams take a proactive approach to privacy risks in China by obtaining employee consents to disclosure, copying, and export of their private information during the hiring process or at least prior to collection of employee data. The Chinese privacy laws allow considerable flexibility for the review process when such consents are in place. Accordingly, Managed Discovery recommends talking with your Chinese counsel about these matters in advance of any document review. Working with your counsel, we can then implement a compliance review process to reduce your company’s risk.

Just One More Thing
Managed Discovery takes document review to the next level of quality wherever we go. Our China Document Review Service is the result of more than a decade of experience that our China team leader gained while working at two international law firms in Shanghai. As a result, we believe our service offers a unique combination of quality, compliance, and cost.

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Watch for future emails to learn…
Lesson 4: Not All Local Lawyers Are Created Equal

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About the Author
MICHAEL VELLA Vice President of Business Development Having lived and worked in China for more than 10 years, I understand the full range of risks and opportunities of doing business here. In addition to handling IP risks, I have helped companies handle some of their most sensitive operational issues in China, including resolving matters involving theft, fraud and corruption. I have handled compliance investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Chinese anticorruption laws, the UK Bribery Act, U.S. securities laws, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

About Managed Discovery
Managed Discovery is a team of legal and technology specialists, uniquely qualified to manage document review for high-stakes litigation, government investigations and foreign compliance matters. Our team includes former government and Big Law attorneys who understand client needs and legal requirements, ensuring that our services are both cost-efficient and legally defensible.

For more information contact:
Company: Managed Discovery
Website: www.manageddiscovery.com
Contact Name: Myron Jadwin at mjadwin@manageddiscovery.com
Contact Name: Michael Vella at mvella@manageddiscovery.com

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