Category Archives: Legal Hold & Collection

Legal Hold Obligations and Automation in Four Minutes

In the day-to-day world of legal departments, it can be challenging to ensure legal holds are done correctly; everything from getting the correct wording in the hold document, understanding the data types and where it exists, securing the acknowledgment, and reminding custodians of their ongoing obligation. As a result, ask a room of legal professionals, and the vast number of them will say they manage the hold process with a spreadsheet. This is not only inefficient; it leaves corporations open to a lot of unnecessary risk.

In this post, we will unravel the litigation hold problem, focus on what a litigation hold really is, where the duty comes from, and how to ensure it’s done right in a repeatable, defensible, and automated fashion. Continue reading

Four Areas to Reduce Legal Hold and Collection Spend

With organizations allocating up to 50 percent of their legal spend to litigation, savvy legal teams are seeking new ways reduce their e-discovery costs. Improving legal hold management and collection is one place to start.

In this blog post, I will highlight the costliest areas of legal hold and collection per matter for organizations relying on a combination of vendors and firms to help manage the process. I will then compare the costs of these tasks to the costs of using automated cloud-based legal hold and collection software that offers a flat-fee enterprise license for unlimited custodians, holds and data collection. Continue reading

Legal Holds for Smart Teams: Tips for IT Professionals Working with Legal to Preserve Company Data

As I recently wrote about in Law360, when litigation or a government investigation looms, a corporation has a duty to identify and preserve data (documents or other electronically-stored information) that may be relevant to the matter. This requirement, imposed by the courts as well as government regulators, is known as a “legal hold”  or sometimes a “litigation hold.” It stems from the duty to not destroy relevant evidence that may be required for a judicial proceeding.

Increasingly, courts require legal departments and their outside counsel to supervise the preservation process and to certify that reasonable steps were taken. In most cases, lawyers must rely heavily on Information Technology (IT) professionals to execute the mechanics of the hold and ensure data is preserved correctly. After all, IT knows and works with the company’s systems, networks. And, if legal preservation obligations aren’t met properly, penalties for that failure can be substantial. Continue reading

Legal Holds for Smart People: Part 4—The Benefits of Using Technology to Manage Legal Holds

Over the past year, I have had several opportunities to give talks about the legal hold process and to speak with a number of people from corporate legal departments. One thing I have learned is that many legal professionals, particularly in smaller companies, still manage legal holds using email, spreadsheets or other jury-rigged systems.

When you only have a few legal holds to manage, this can be a workable approach. If your company is like most, however, you have more than a few—sometimes dozens—of holds to manage at any given time. I know of companies who have thousands of custodians Continue reading

Legal Holds for Smart People: Part 3 – What Must I Preserve?

Implementing a legal hold involves two related inquiries: when does the duty to preserve attach, and what evidence must be preserved. In a previous blog post, I covered when the duty arises. Now I turn to the scope of the required preservation.

This post is the third of a four-part series in which I am providing a primer on the duties surrounding legal holds and offering tips on how to fulfill your responsibilities as a legal hold administrator. In the first post, I introduced the concept of a legal hold and how it is executed. In the second, I reviewed what must be preserved. The fourth will discuss the benefits of using legal hold technology. Continue reading

Legal Holds for Smart People: Part 2 – When Does the Legal Hold Duty Arise?

In a series of four blog posts, I am providing a primer on the duties surrounding legal holds and offering tips on how to fulfill your responsibilities as a legal hold administrator. In this, the second in the series, I will talk about when the legal hold duty arises. In the first post, I introduced the concept of a legal hold and how it is executed. Next in this series, I’ll review what must be preserved and then, in the fourth post, discuss the benefits of using legal hold technology.

The duty to issue and monitor a legal hold can arise long before a lawsuit is filed. As mentioned earlier, the duty commences or is “triggered” when litigation is reasonably anticipated. At that point, a party must take reasonable steps to preserve potentially discoverable information. Continue reading

Legal Holds for Smart People: Part 1 – What Is A Legal Hold?

Our judicial system is firmly rooted on the belief that parties to litigation should share documents and other information prior to trial. In support of that proposition, each party has a duty to identify, locate and preserve information and other evidence that is relevant to that specific litigation. The purpose is to avoid the intentional or inadvertent destruction (“spoliation”) of relevant evidence that might be used at trial.

The key point to understand is that this duty to preserve evidence may arise even before suit is filed or the information is otherwise requested. In 2003, a federal court judge set out the rule for what has become known as a “legal hold.”

“Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a ‘litigation hold.’” Continue reading