As the volume of electronically stored information is increasing at an alarming rate, so is the number of lawsuits, corporate investigations, and regulatory audits. Though the need for managing electronic documents is slowly gaining importance, many enterprises and organizations blunder because of skyrocketing eDiscovery costs. Since federal, state and corporate regulations have made it very clear that, upon request, companies should quickly produce electronically stored information that is seven years old, the time has come for the in-house legal team or the external law firms to drive home the importance of retaining electronically stored information at all costs.
For those enterprises and organizations that show a complacent attitude towards the retention of electronically stored information, the famous Morgan Stanley eDiscovery case would serve as a warning.
E-Discovery Best Practices
In the corporate world litigation and audits are unavoidable. At every step, any kind of electronic discovery issue can be anticipated. Instead of being overwhelmed by the eDiscovery process, chart out strategies to make it less daunting. Cleverly implemented eDiscovery best practices can bring you greater control, lower eDiscovery costs, and a better return on investment . The following are some of the best practices that can guarantee the best results.
· Communication and Coordination
The IT team and the legal team should coordinate with each other to ensure that eDiscovery is handled properly. Open communication between the employees and attorneys should be encouraged to avert the majority of common eDiscovery issues. Lack of understanding and ineffective communication between the two can result in the destruction of relevant documents, which would land the company in deep trouble if it happens after the commencement of litigation. The eDiscovery process can be managed successfully only with the collaboration of the legal team and the IT team.
· Centralized Storage of E-documents
Having a centralized repository for storing relevant e-documents can make the process of finding and accessing documents very easy. The greatest advantage of centralizing records management is that all the documents can be preserved and retained in an organized manner. Moreover, if there is only one person of contact, t the task of tracking down e-records when litigation starts is made easier.
· Pre-Litigation Planning
Proper planning is absolutely necessary to confront any kind of litigation successfully. The IT team and the legal team should ‘meet and confer’ on implementing a strategy that takes care of preservation and retention of electronically stored information in an organized manner. There should be proper guidelines as to the kind of documents to be stored and deleted coupled with a very good understanding of the documents that are retained. These pre-litigation meetings also help the IT team to find out about new amendments to litigation rules.
· Use State-of-the-Art Technology
There are several solutions available that help enterprises and organizations keep tab on their employees to ensure they are abiding by data retention policies and guidelines and thereby keep track of the kind of documents preserved, retained and deleted.
Because courts are very strict when it comes to complying with eDiscovery requests and expect companies to obey the eDiscovery laws, these simple best eDiscovery practices will help enterprises and organizations to put their eDiscovery house in order and thereby prevent it from cascading into serious problems.
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