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The Art and Science of Legal Holds

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Art and Science of Legal Holds

Preservation of potentially relevant ESI in 2008 is no longer an option. However, how to preserve that ESI has become an interesting debate from both an art and science perspective. It wasn't that many years ago the this entire field was reactive in nature and therefore enabled important information to slip through the cracks.

Then, in the wake of Zubulake and the revisions to the FRCP, the Fortune 5000 began to get serious about managing preservation. Hold notices and confirmations of compliance have historically been the lowest-cost method of preserving information and demonstrating good faith. But, after spending many hours inside Fortune 5000 organizations discussing document management, data retention policy strategies and the practical application of leading edge preservation and collection technology, I can help but wonder how effective hold notices have been.

In fact, I would suspect that despite the best intentions of outside counsel, corporate counsel and IT, hold notices have actually alerted potential custodians to take steps to avert the collection process. As such, and with the current crop of more financially palatable proactive collection and storage technology such as Kazion and WorkProducts, preserving data under a well thought out data retention plan is becoming more attractive.

Add in sophisticated hold management and legal holds become much more of a science and less of an art.

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