Post Process

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Blogging LegalTech West 2008: Litigation Holds

Posted by rjbiii on June 29, 2008

The second, and for me last, presentation of the day was “Ready…Set…Preserve: Navigating the Legal Hold Process and Technology. The panel consisted of Patrick Oot of Verizon, Kraft’s Chief Counsel Theodore Banks, and American Electric Power’s Kamal Kamara.

The rule of thumb that triggers a legal hold is (say it with me class), the date when litigation may be reasonably anticipated. The very last date that can be justified for the issuance of a legal hold is the date the complaint is actually filed. The first step to implementing a legal hold is to determine the identity of the key players. However, before the hold is even necessary, some preemptive actions should have been addressed. Litigation readiness best practices suggest that record management training for all employees is important. These rules apply:

  1. The guidelines employees study must be related to their jobs.
  2. Information on how to comply with relevant policies should be easy to find. They should have access to manuals, or intranet web sites with the necessary guidelines.
  3. Training should be consistent, and reinforced periodically.

The purpose of the legal hold is to stop destruction of potentially responsive information, identify that data, and save it. Employees should understand the consequences of failing to comply, and where to get help when they have questions.

Mr. Banks explained that for Kraft, the legal hold was triggered later than would be appropriate for some others, because of the nature of the complaints his company confronted, and the design of its information system. Much of the data needed was historical information that was preserved anyway, often for reasons of compliance with federal retention laws.

Mr. Kamara described his company’s home-built lit hold solution as being similar to e-vite. All three companies used custom built solutions rather than “off the shelf” products.

Some important points: acknowledgment by recipients is an essential component to a lit hold system; audit trails and the availability of reports is important.

I enjoyed this presentation more than the previous session. The panelists were good, but I also got to see screenshots of various systems, which I found interesting. The next step now is to see how technology can be used not only to issue notice of a hold, but to also take action to prevent actual destruction of information.

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One Response to “Blogging LegalTech West 2008: Litigation Holds”

  1. […] Blogging LegalTech West 2008: Litigation Holds « Post Process […]

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