Although accurately organizing and executing a litigation hold need not be overly complex, it requires a fair bit of planning and skill. Even the smallest dispute with an employer, competitor, supplier or government agency can quickly turn into a full-blown conflict threatening to tarnish both parties’ reputations.
Therefore, managing a defensible legal hold becomes critical to protect your business and reputation. It is more than preserving vital data in the eDiscovery process, requiring that you prove you have justifiable policies and are committed to standing by them.
Refer to the points below to know how to ensure a smooth hold process for your company, mitigating the risk of loss.
Understand the process thoroughly
You must grasp the concept of the hold even before creating a management plan. It is a routine albeit pivotal process wherein the legal team initiates the preservation of critical evidence for ensuing functions like collection, analysis, and overall review. In short, the group advises the company personnel which information must be preserved for potential litigation, making sure it stays protected until the dispute is settled.
A significantly important part of the process is to identify the custodians and subsequently interview them, confirming that they grasp the importance of preserving data they have access to. Several teams often overlook third-party custodians such as external IT vendors, freelancers or independent contractors, and ex-employees.
Another key thing to do is use a simple template when initiating the hold, keeping in mind that most custodians have little to no understanding of legal jargon. Therefore, always keep the language simple and easily understood by laypeople, preventing confusion that may lead to losing vital data.
Know when to initiate a hold
Knowing when to issue a litigation hold is among the most vital things for any legal team, ensuring they stay ahead of the opposition at all times. The idea is to reasonably anticipate litigation before any complaint is filed, ensuring you have all the essential evidence in hand.
For instance, suppose the case involves an injury. Then it falls on you to determine if video evidence is available and initiate the hold immediately. Otherwise, the data could be overwritten in a couple of hours or days, causing pivotal evidence to be lost. So, always watch out for these instances, helping you identify the need for a hold immediately.
Consider moving to the cloud
Often, legal teams use traditional email read receipts, spreadsheets, and other ineffective ways to track notices and monitor compliances, leading to tremendous human error that exposes the business to high risk. Invariably, using high-end cloud-based software can make managing a legal hold easier in the eDiscovery process. They enable users to issue required notices to multiple custodians via pre-approved language within a few seconds instead of days or weeks.
Also, these advanced tools can require the recipients to acknowledge their obligations under the process, allowing the issuer to oversee their compliance and trigger follow-up notifications if necessary. It is also easier to view process details, like when the data was secured and when each custodian was interviewed and released from the litigation hold.
So, find a legitimate, respected industry expert who provides the best software to automate this crucial process at affordable prices.