E-Discovery, Records and Information Management
Do you warehouse outdated files, backup tapes or legacy data from old computer systems?
Do you identify, classify and store all electronic communications, including voice mail, by project or subject matter?
Do you have and diligently comply with company policies regarding the creation, storage and destruction of information?
Do you have any organized plan for responding to requests for electronic discovery?
These questions implicate rising costs and risks that you can address with proper planning. McAfee & Taft professionals can assist you with “life-cycle” planning for the creation, use, storage and disposal of records for developing “living” inventories, procedures, policies and compliance-review processes. You can gain quicker and better access to more useful information while enjoying reduced costs for information storage and destruction.
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“Introduction to E-Discovery and Information Management”
Courts require businesses to retain electronic information pertaining to anticipated litigation, which can be challenging due to the transient nature of electronic information. We can help you develop a documented litigation hold procedure that includes a means of identifying and reporting anticipated litigation, identifying and notifying the appropriate records and records custodians, and actively monitoring and verifying compliance. These procedures are best integrated with a comprehensive records management program.
McAfee & Taft can assist you with developing these and other program components:
- Records retention and destruction policies and procedures
- Computer usage policy
- Records inventory / data map
- E-Discovery response team and leader
- Legal hold policy and procedure
e-Discovery Planning and Support
Before litigation begins and scheduling order deadlines loom, we can assist you with advance preparation to ease the burden of e-discovery. Our experienced professionals can educate your group on the fundamentals of e-discovery and help you establish a knowledgeable response team in advance of litigation.
Key elements of an e-discovery response program include identifying team members and allocating responsibilities in advance of receiving discovery requests. We will also help you identify risk areas in your company records and concentrate resources accordingly.
After a team is established and educated, we can lead you to more advanced areas of e-discovery planning, which including examining your records and information systems.
After litigation begins, we can assist with specialized needs pertaining to electronic discovery. Our group has extensive experience with preserving, gathering, and reviewing electronic information in litigation and can help you successfully negotiate these challenges.
Legal Hold Policies and Processes
Sound records policies begin with destruction of unneeded records. However, all acts involving the destruction of records, from the routine handling of email and to major shredding operations, raise important questions regarding records preservation. Any ongoing destruction of records without a proper legal hold program creates a serious risk of violating legal preservation requirements.
A defensible legal hold program involves establishing mechanisms for identifying and evaluating potential litigation, determining when preservation requirements apply, and implementing those requirements. We can work with you to design and implement a program that works in your environment.
No hold program is complete without proper documentation of both the program and of actions taken in regard to particular preservation questions. We can help you develop proper documentation for your legal hold program.
A hold program is only as good as the understanding of those who attempt to implement it. We can help you develop appropriate programs and materials to help educate employees and improve compliance.
Records management is the backbone of e-discovery planning. Without proper records management, e-discovery burdens are multiplied and many advantages of planning are lost.
When combined with the other elements of a proper e-discovery program, records management enables an organization to dispose of useless information through the operation of a proper retention and destruction program. This generally reduces the burden on information systems, reduces litigation risk, and lowers the cost of responding to e-discovery.
Records management also involves inventorying and structuring of valuable records. This process can further reduce the burden of electronic discovery and provide other extensive benefits including better access to needed records, reduced storage costs, and improved collaboration. Proper records systems also reduce the burdens of implementing security and disaster recovery systems.
Records management for e-discovery also involves the evaluation and implementation of records search capabilities. Our professionals are familiar with these processes and technologies and can provide important guidance to help you establish records systems that reduce e-discovery burdens.
E-discovery implicates many information systems policies and processes. Proper planning in these areas can reduce risk and lower the burden of e-discovery. Our professionals can assist with both user and administrative issues.
E-discovery planning often involves control of information repositories. We can work with your information systems group to determine where risks can be lowered and burdens reduced. Often we find that significant gains can be achieved through changes in information systems policies and processes. These gains can be leveraged into other areas such as security and disaster recovery.
Whenever new information systems are planned and implemented, proper consideration should be given to e-discovery concerns. New information systems carry a significant opportunity that may be missed if these issues are not explored. We can work with your information systems group to provide additional education regarding these issues and practical guidance based on experience with numerous implementations in varying environments.
Enterprise content management is at the leading edge of records management and e-discovery planning. As e-records continue to grow, the importance of enterprise content management systems will also grow from business, legal and technology perspectives. We work regularly with these concepts and systems and can help you develop and tailor a program that addresses e-discovery and other legal issues.
- Assisted major credit union with development of electronic records management program and documentation for associated policies and procedures, including legal hold process.
- Assisted major insurance company with development of records management program, including issues associated with the destruction of archived data, management and search of email and instant messaging records including issues associated with filtration, vault storage, mobile devices, and non-standard media.
- Assisted leading staffing company with development of legal hold procedures and policy documentation and records management policies, including addressing special issues associated with hosted computer systems
- Assisted food supplier with development of appropriate email management program, including addressing special issues associated with operation of multiple corporate entities.