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Speaking on Information Governance

Enterprise Search & Discovery Conference

Enterprise Search & Discovery Conference

Enterprise Search & Discovery Conference

Enterprises wanting to leverage internal data to enhance profitability and deliver excellent services need discovery mechanisms as well as enterprise search. It’s no longer about merely searching for information within the firewall—it’s about customers finding products, companies monetizing real time activities, and organizations maximizing the data they own. Deploying an enterprise search engine is rarely sufficient. It needs to be tweaked or replaced based on changing requirements.

The advent of Big Data causes enterprises to rethink how they handle search, databases, analysis, and decision making. Cloud computing, outcome-based metrics, adaptive filtering, taxonomy and metadata tools, predictive analysis, open source, knowledge graphs, and mobile delivery raise people’s expectations for search and discovery. Implementing search and discovery that works for the realities of your business, your users, and your work environment presents many challenges.

How have information search and discovery issues and challenges affected you? Have you found a solution that works well in your environment? Have you switched technologies, formulated new strategies, or moved to different platforms? Has findability increased within your organization? Are you adopting different approaches to search and discovery? How are you measuring success?

May 13-14, 2014
Workshops May 12
New York Hilton Midtown

To Register:  http://www.enterprisesearchsummit.com/NY2014/

B104: Information Governance
May 13, 2014 @ 3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Alice Burns, Managing Director, Eleventh Hour

Theresa A Simek, SEO Team Lead, EY Knowledge, Ernst & Young LLP

Although it’s less sexy than actual search and discovery projects, the governance aspects are critically important. Burns gives a case study of one corporation’s approach to information governance, including its assessment and readiness level, its road map for change, and its selection and prioritization processes. Simek tells how to get buy-in from application owners while developing a search governance process. She calls it going from chaos to order.

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Total Cost of Ownership in eDiscovery Investment

Most practitioners ultimately want solutions that will help them lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their e-discovery investments (e.g. time, cost & risk). In order to successfully address TCO and avoid the “shiny object” syndrome, legal teams need to ask the right questions when evaluating e-discovery technology and services.” Peter Mercer wrote on Legal IT Professionals, http://www.legalitprofessionals.com/legal-it-columns/guest-columns/6220-avoiding-shiny-object-syndrome-in-edscovery-technology.

Instead of beginning inquiries by approaching vendors with a set of preconceptions about the technology needed, it is much more useful to ask about the kinds of legal matters the organization faces most frequently. These questions will lead to a better understanding of the litigation profile of the organization.  Questions asked should get to the heart of the “bread and butter” work of the legal organization – that is the day-to-day work services or technology should address.

To better understand the litigation profile ask:

  • What types of matters does the legal department (practice group) handle:
  • How many matters does the organization handle in a month, in a year?
  • On average how many of those matters require some form of discovery work?
  • What kinds of data and file types are typically involved in the average case? 
  • How much data in involved in typical “bread and butter” type cases?
  • How much data is processed in an average case? 
  • How is data identified?  Who is responsible for this work?
  • How is data preserved?  Who does this work?
  • How are data collections typically performed?   What types of collections are performed (forensic, self, etc.)?
  • Do the people doing the work have the requisite skills, training, experience and toolkit to collect, search and cull data typically encountered? 
  • Who in the organization is in charge of cleaning up and de-duplicating the data?  
  • What types of production sets are required at the end of typical projects? 
  • Is the legal team experienced and able to move beyond the basic e-discovery tasks?
  • How do the lawyers like to work and share information?

Eleventh Hour’s approach is to ask the client an open-ended question.  Then we sit back and listen.  There is follow up and discussion, however our objective is always to listen and learn as much as we can.  We then go away, and come back with vetted solutions that make the most sense.

The more you listen, the more you know.  Stop trying to sell, and start learning how to listen.  Listening is a very hard skill to master, but an invaluable tool in delivering quality solutions that matter.

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Legal Hold Service

Legal Hold Service is the fastest growing legal hold management service, helping corporate legal teams and law firms implement defensible preservation efforts.  We administer and manage legal holds on behalf of our clients using our preservation expertise and using award winning Legal Hold Pro technology.

By helping legal teams standardize and automate the litigation hold process, Legal Hold Service helps reduce the risk of adverse outcomes in litigation.

PLAN | RESOURCE | REALIZE

Legal Hold administration has never been easier or more compliant when using Legal Hold Service.

Legal Hold Service backed by Legal Hold Pro technology is the most compliant way to automate legal hold and track the notification process. The on-demand service streamlines the practice of issuing legal holds, and reduces exposure via an automated and defensible process.

The legal hold process is codified as part of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and reinforced by numerous subsequent judicial opinions (see Resources).  Managing compliance effectively and efficiently is critical in discovery. Using Legal Hold Service is the secure method for implementing a defensible way to communicate legal hold obligations to custodians throughout discovery.

___________________________________________________________

Request Demo

HOW LEGAL HOLD SERVICE WORKS

INITIATING A NEW LEGAL HOLD

  • Contact Legal Hold Service to “Initiate Hold”
  • Provide draft Legal Hold and notification recipients list (custodians and cc recipients) to Legal Hold Service Administrator
  • Legal Hold Service Administrator inputs the contents of the legal hold notice and attaches any additional documents to the “Hold”
  • Draft “Hold” is sent to Lawyer for review and approval
  • Once approved Legal Hold Service Administrator issues “Hold”
  • Administrator reports to Lawyer as scheduled

TRACKING CUSTODIAN’S RESPONSE

  • Custodians will receive a professionally formatted email telling them their action is required
  • By clicking on the embedded “I Accept” or “Contact Me” button, custodians will acknowledge receipt of the notification
  • Custodian interview questionnaires can be included to solicit additional feedback
  • Legal Hold Service Administrator sends routine reminders to past due recipients
  • Lawyer receives regular reports on Hold status

INFORMATION TRACKED

  • The Legal Hold Center displays the current status of acknowledgements for each legal hold and any alerts
  • All actions associated with sending, acknowledging, updating, reminding and releasing a hold are automatically tracked
  • Lawyers receive regularly scheduled reports of hold status

REMINDER PROCESS AND HOLD RELEASE

  • Ensure best practices by sending periodic reminders to active custodians – 30, 60, 90 days and more
  • Revise and reissue a hold easily, with all versions tracked by the system
  • Holds that are released are tracked and reported on

AUDIT TRAIL OFFERS DEFENSE

  • All the information is saved in a single database and a complete audit trail is prepared as either a printed report or export to Excel upon request

___________________________________________________________

T 206-567-0069

W www.legalholdservice.com

E info@legalholdservice.com

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Part 3 – E-discovery: Creating and Managing an Enterprise-wide Program

Bridging the Distance between Information Management and eDiscovery

Still, no single technology meets all of the information and ediscovery requirements in a single solution.  Therefore until there truly is a one platform solution, we will continue to move data between a content and archiving solution, search tool, and preservation and collection tool.  The challenge here is to move the data as little as possible from the point of identification and preservation until such time as collection is required.

Eliminating PSTs in eDiscovery

One of the most challenging aspects of eMail acquisition and evaluation in ediscovery is the dreaded PST.  One of the most valuable features of content archiving systems is the potential to eliminate the PST.  These personal email archives are expensive to collect and search because they contain so much content, and are therefore expensive to review.  PST files do not offer any single instance storage or deduplication in themselves, and therefore special technology must be used to address duplication.

Microsoft Outlook PST files are files that end users often create as private email archives on their desktop hard drives, or external media.  These files are easily corrupted and take up storage space.  They exist outside the control of a centralized archive, and records management policies, therefore are challenging to manage and secure.

Benefits of Email Archiving

The eliminate of PST files is a best practices.  Archives eliminate the need for end users to use a PST by removing mailbox quotas.  Mailbox quotas are typically storage limits placed on end users by IT to control storage costs.  In virtually every corporate environment quotas for high level executives may be different than that of others, therefore archiving helps to streamline email storage as well as how much email is retained regardless of title and position.  Quotas tend to drive users to backup their own systems, including email.  Therefore moving to archiving helps to eliminate these underground, personal backup systems.

Some archiving systems have the ability to crawl the network and to move PST files into the archive.  As these files are brought into the archive they are indexed, single instanced, compressed and assigned a retention policy.  The original PST file is deleted.  Centralization of unstructured content in the archive reduces the cost and risk of ediscovery by giving Legal and IT one central location to search for email and attachments.

Legal team users have the ability to access and search this archive to investigate this content early on – to view custodians, keywords, file types, associations and relations, or date ranges.  This early analysis capability may be just what a legal team needs to prepare their initial legal strategy.  Another benefit of archiving systems used in ediscovery search is this indexed information may be supported by audited workflows for the preservation, review and marking of “potentially relevant” information.

Content Management – Structured Information

ECM systems typically allow for organizations to manage content from sources such as customer relationship management applications, document management systems, enterprise portals, and enterprise resources according to business rules or pre-defined workflows.

Integrating information management with content management enables users to perform in-place retention management of unstructured or semi-structured information, such as e-mail stored in an archive.  E-mail and attachments are declared as records based on business rules applied, and are then managed within the archive.  Understanding the business rules and what are business records of the organization will help the Legal Team more efficiently respond to ediscovery requests.

Search and Collection Tools

Archiving systems manage the collection process for electronically stored information, while ediscovery requests may extend to include data that exists in a live environment that has not yet been subject to retention policies.  A spreadsheet a users has open in use on her desktop is a good example of this.

A growing number of information management systems support integration with search and collection tools to allow desktop (active space) acquisition of files.  Some archives allow this information to be imported into the “archive” or preservation space where additional analysis may be applied.  Again the objective is to properly preserve information/content according to ediscovery or compliance requirements but to create a single repository of information which may be effectively searched; where data retention, expiration, preservation and discovery of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data may be searched as one collection.  Data centralization enhances chain of custody reporting and decreases the risk of errors by reducing or eliminating manual processes for desktop collection, retention, and expiry.

Incorporating Analytic Tools

The ability to deploy advanced analytics tools within archives is improving dramatically.  This allows organizations to quickly conduct an initial search and review of the archive (or to pull in data to the archive) for richer data searching that better identifies potentially responsive content for a litigation request or an internal investigation.  This information may then be treated accordingly – preserved, or processed for review and exchange.

Review Technology Advances

Review technologies are changing rapidly.  It is no longer cost effective to linear review every single document in a collection, and it is no longer possible to do so without growing old in the process.  Therefore technologies (and courts) are embracing and incorporating advanced analytics which “predict” based on inputted criteria and extrapolation what documents best meet that criteria.  Technology assisted review (TAR) or predictive coding is the future of review technology and the process that will be employed in document review.

Collaborative Content Review and Management – Pre and Post-Discovery

Review is a short period of time in the discovery lifecycle – it is intense, but brief.  Integrated case management is the collaborative piece that is still missing in really managing and using ediscovery content  – a client- or matter-centric structure that incorporates all content as searchable information, including pleadings, fact memos, interviews, deposition testimony, exhibits, timelines, communications, people, work schedules, etc.  This is the body of content legal teams readily need to work with, pre- and post-discovery, to effectively pursue legal strategy.  Microsoft Sharepoint and other technologies are beginning to fill this void.

 

-        Archiving solutions provide a long-term indexed repository for the storage of electronic information. Particularly unstructured or semi-structured data such as email and instant messages.

-        Archiving solutions provide for the consistent and routine collection of information to address legal and regulatory requirements for document retention.

-        Archiving solutions can be leveraged to support early case assessments.

-        Enterprise content management systems are being expanded to address all forms of electronic content, both structured and unstructured – this may aid ediscovery going forward.

-        Establishing a successful retention policy is a multistep process that is critical in helping organizations address FRCP requirements.

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Establishing a Legal Project Management Office (LPMO)

Define the Scope of the Legal Project Management Office (LPMO)

What does the “P” stand for in this abbreviation for a Management Office?  Does the LPMO control governance for projects, does it direct strategy under the guidance of the CIO for Legal and Compliance, it may oversee a program of work, or does it operate at an enterprise level?  To define, ask:

1.  Do the key people in my organization agree that an LPMO is required?

a.  Agree on authority of the LPMO.

b.  Articulate the benefits of introducing the LPMO.

2.  Are our processes mature enough for us to capture the value of an LPMO, and to make the long-term commitment required for success?

Establishing a Legal Project Management Office (LPMO)

Establishing an LPMO may start with introducing the concept to the CIO, and to key stakeholders in Legal and Compliance.  A first step in evaluating the maturity of a legal organization in supporting an LPMO may be to conduct a survey or assessment of the current state.  This will establish a baseline within the legal organization that the CIO and top legal executives may use to evaluate where and how best to mature specific legal processes where risk is greatest, or ROI may be realized.

In addition to talent and ability to achieve results identified by an LPMO, the organization needs to have the drive and commitment to introduce the LPMO and support its efforts to integrate across Legal, IT, Records, Compliance and other business units.  If support is not there, then it is time to stope and focus on supporting and managing programs and projects.

Generally, organizational change transitions can either be quick and painful, or slow and relatively painless. Management buy-in is fundamental to success. Both approaches to the speed of change (fast or slow) have pros and cons; we have seen that taking an aggressive approach and ‘pushing hard’ can reap rewards, but requires a strong commitment to succeed.

After completing your project charter, having peer-level reviews and gaining the necessary support and alliances to make it a success, step back and take a good look at the approach and the desired end result.  Depending on your organization size ask yourself if the launch strategy is accepatable.  Whatever your plan, be sure that the C-level executives agree to it for the long term. We suggest that you are conservative in your proposed results and set realistic goals, timelines, savings, productivity improvements, etc.

Look for, achieve and communicate early, quick wins as the LPMO starts to make changes, even if they are minor.  Any positive changes are building blocks which will fuel project momentum and sustain interest.  Do not oversell.

There will be lulls in the project – stick with it.  As with most projects and project teams, there may be initial enthusiasm but as the newness wears off and the work really begins there will be a drop in morale.  As Team Lead, this is the time to step up your game, to drive work efforts and whip up morale and project support.  Keep up the positive vibe.  Setting up an LPMO is a big challenge; it takes time.  The period most likely to require attention is during the lull period between the times during which you’ve completed, documented, and communicated your early wins or short-term goals, and the commencement of achieving the long-term objectives for your LPMO.

If the LPMO is up and working, it is time to declare success.  You have documented processes, common metrics, basic standards, common tools, a central repository, training packages, and are seeing visible improvements in workflow, project estimates, information usage, greater compliance with prescribe procedures, etc.  It is time to reflect – to review project schedules and budget outcomes, project phase as part of governance, lessons shared and learnt, and stakeholders are pleased with results.

Recognize when to decide if the LPMO is “as good as it gets” and is part and parcel of the operation.  If it is then you can declare success, and consider whether to take the next step of advancing the LPMO to the next level.

Implementing a Successful Legal Project Management Office (LPMO)

One of the top differentiators of success is how well an LPMO is embedded within an organization.  These four factors are key in determining the integration level:

1.  Collaboration: The LPMO should encourage collaboration between project professionals and functional departments.

2.  Recognition of Expertise:  Do the project professionals working with the LPMO improve the level of respect project management achieves within the organization?  This should also influence who works in the LPMO.

3.  The Mission is Well Understood:  Do those outside the LPMO know its purpose?

4.  Support from Upper Management:  Is there an executive champion who will not only communicate the mission, but will work to gain engagement from stakeholders?

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Evolving Records Management to Information Governance

Information governance, or IG, is an emerging term used to encompass the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization’s immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_governance

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Part 1 – E-discovery: Creating and Managing an Enterprise-wide Program

Our next series of posts will address some of the key elements and challenges in developing an enterprise-wide ediscovery program as the amount of data under “management” grows, and that information becomes more and more social, global, and mobile.

Centralization of eDiscovery  Efforts

Legal hold is the start of a long process; it is the suspension of any regular schedule of processing data such as email deletion or tape recycling.  Legal hold may mean anticipated litigation, an employee matter, a forthcoming audit, a governmental investigation or other legal-related matters.  Legal holds affect normal business procedures that deal with active and inactive data, and this process deserves careful attention and planning.

Technology has advanced to the point that system administrators and forensic technicians may use over-the-web tools to acquire information remotely from systems and desktops halfway around the country or the world.  Remote holds are gaining momentum – the ability to deploy a hold over select repositories, shares, custodians, folder structures, or even specific document types.  Acquiring less than a pedabyte of information or more and placing that under hold is challenging and a significant undertaking that requires planning, resource coordination and good information tracking.

Enterprise Content Management systems are beginning to incorporate some ediscovery capabilities to address this need.  Litigation holds are becoming easier to automate, roll out, administer, and manage from a central location.  Some platforms are beginning to address delivery and acknowledgement of the preservation hold notice itself, and periodic reminders required to stay vigilant throughout the matter’s life.  These platforms are beginning to address not only preservation, but also collection and hold in place needs.

Litigation Readiness

Readiness continues to be a challenging area to address for most corporate organizations.  Before taking on litigation readiness within an organization, you must first address document retention policy – creation, identification, retention, retrieval and destruction of records, including electronically stored information and paper.  Having a retention policy is not sufficient.  Control over the systems and environment, how and when employees access/use the information, and what is maintained as business records of value, or maintained as intellectual property or kept for security reasons, is a complex challenge.

Litigation hold is a component of a solid document retention policy.  The objective of a structured litigation hold business process is to avoid sanctions under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and to meet discovery obligations in a timely manner.  You efficiently meet your discovery obligations by having a reasonable plan for implementing a litigation hold based on the following steps:

1.  An operating retention plan and triggers to identify foreseeable litigation

2.  The ability to suspend destruction of relevant information

3.  A plan to communicate the litigation hold to relevant parties

4.  A process for securing information requiring preservation

5.  A process to produce relevant requested information

6.  A method to confirm the litigation hold is operating efficiently

To meet these obligations we recommend a ten-phase process for development and implementation of an effective litigation hold and ediscovery process:

One – Business Process Review.  Identify business activities, business parties, key points within identified business activities, and electronically stored information developed or received in certain business processes.  Then determine control points in identified process that are keys to successful implementation of the litigation hold process.

Challenge:  Business operations should not be driven by the litigation hold, rather the litigation hold operates in the established business environment.

Two – Data Review and Mapping.  Identify “active” versus “inactive” data, data custodians, file types, file locations, and how locations are determined.  Establish the foundation for relevant information under Rule 26(b)(2)(B) that is identified and preserved, as well as the cost for production of information not “reasonably accessible.”

Challenge:  Information and systems evolve and change quickly, employees come and go; maintaining an up-to-date, relevant “data map” is a fulltime job in and of itself.

Three – Litigation Hold Trigger Analysis.  This is the reference point for developing the communication plan and actual information hold process over “who, what, and where” within the company’s data systems.  This phase requires careful analysis to identify potential litigation hold triggers, conduct a risk assessment of those triggers, develop a decision process for issuing a litigation hold, and develop a methodology for determining and documenting data relevant to a litigation hold.

Challenge: You can develop a communication plan for legal holds, however in reality, it is a starting point.  Be prepared to alter/edit the communication plan to fit the matter/circumstances at hand.  There will be changes and updates, often.  Do not get too wedded to the plan.

e-Discovery Hold Notice Response Plan Exemplar

Step Responsible Action Task Outcome
1 General Counsel Office, Legal Team Establish the preliminary scope and matter for hold notice. 1) Collect list of names involved in case (Custodial List)2) Establish preliminary subjects for data identification and instructions for named data custodians Preliminary scope of the hold notice is established
2 General Counsel Office, Legal Team, IT, eDiscovery Response Coordinator Inform [ ?] of the hold notice and data subjects Meeting of Legal Team and IT:1) Review/assign roles and responsibilities for implementing the IT Hold Notice Response Process2) Review standard data preservation plan to see if it requires adjustment – data sources to preserve, top level custodian updates, interview questionnaire, or file/systems list updates Clear marching orders for implementation of legal hold notice – Legal Team and IT (and any others involved)
3 Legal Team, eDiscovery Response Coordinator, IT Issue formal hold notice to those involved – primary, secondary, tertiary Send message to involved parties to refrain from adherence to destruction policies for broad definition of data to preserve Process  begins
4 General Counsel Office, Legal Team Assign eDiscovery matter coordinator Provide the assigned eDiscovery matter coordinator with the details of the case, the hold requirements, custodians involved, and give them clear instructions on legal hold implementation process for this specific matter – who, what, how, when, why details Someone is directly responsible for legal hold implementation – preservation, collection; work begins
5 eDiscovery Response Coordinator, IT Ensure secure storage areas for applicable electronic data are established for the case 1) Plan build case preservation/collection folder structure –follow accepted general guidelines and checklist template for holding unstructured electronic documents2) Establish any special electronic hold areas – systems, file types, executive custodians, etc.3) Establish email hold area4) Develop instructions on how to use/save information to these areas as part of preservation/collection process Matter’s electronic preservation/collection repository established; data identification and logging effort begins

 

Four – Litigation Hold Communication Plan Development.  Identify methods of communication, roles of specific departments/individuals, and means of communications throughout the entire litigation hold process.  Establish process to communicate relevant information to the identified personnel.

Challenge:  Automating legal hold notice delivery is now a viable option as technology improves to  addresses this need.  Getting the technology to work well requires constant monitoring and testing for quality assurance.  Manual tracking no longer makes sense.  This is becoming a job in large organizations.

Five – Internal Discovery Plan Development.  Develop a plan and identify key parties to include to adequately respond to discovery requests in the event of litigation.  This includes the development of processes and methodologies and may involve the selection and implementation of technical solutions needed to allow your organization to respond to requests.

Challenge:  The key is to develop an adaptable process framework which can be applied to 90% of the matters handled.  Like the communication plan be prepared to adapt and improve the framework to apply in reality to specific situations.

Six – Litigation Hold Process Development.  Develop a documented litigation hold process for documents and electronically stored information, including the identification, collection, and securing and monitoring of data relevant to the event.  Document your process compliance along the way.

Challenge:  To keep up with process documentation requirements.  Write it down (or it never happened/doesn’t exisist)!

Seven – Prepare a Training Plan.  Prepare a plan to educate employees on the importance of and how to comply with document retention and litigation hold processes.

Challenge:  It is relatively easy to prepare training content and rollout a program.  Getting people to attend the program, to realize what their obligations are and think before they act, or adhere to procedures established is the challenge here.

Eight – Train Employees.  Provide an educational experience for users to become familiar with their responsibilities should they become subject to a legal hold.

Challenge:  Often there is little interest in funding a training program.  Some companies are turning to automated legal hold systems to deliver information to custodians about their discovery obligations when under legal hold.

Nine – Test System for Quality Assurance.  Develop a process that provides benchmarking assessment and documentation progress for the rollout of the litigation hold.  Identify how and when to collect feedback for analysis and process redress.

Challenge:  Making the time to regularly monitor quality of your program.

Ten – Provide Ongoing Review and System Updates.  Data, systems and technology change quickly and advance rapidly.  Provide long-term monitoring process to evaluate litigation hold policies and procedures to best align with current operational and organizational changes, legal developments or technology advances.

Challenge:  Making the time to regularly update your program once established.

Today’s complex business environment and its global reach make enterprise eDiscovery Program Development a daunting undertaking for most organizations.  Breaking discovery into manageable phases is a good start in planning for effective litigation readiness.  Within each phase, break down tasks, address roles, define actions, scope, responsibilities, and documentation requirements, and identify the overall desired outcome.   Phased discovery work allows organizations to benchmark progress, to evaluate and capitalize on internal strengths and resources, and to identify those areas where gaps exist that may require outsourced support to fulfill obligations.

 

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Part 4 – Ediscovery: Creating and Managing an Enterprise-wide Program

Visibility into the Legal Hold Process is Key

Visibility into the overall legal hold process is the key to managing preservation efforts.  Intelligent technologies offer dashboard views based on role and responsibility, and offer content which may help balance staff, acknowledge compliance, charge back to business units, or optimize data management by updating mapping or personnel information.  Systems should provide exception handling views to quickly pinpoint issues of non-compliance or information absence.

The legal team involved in the hold process need to be able to easily set reminder intervals, response requirements, offer definitions, time periods for compliance, and escalation paths for noncompliance.  Templates should be utilized to streamline communication – headers, footers, selectable text to insert in message body may eliminate repetitive typing and provide consistency in messaging across matters.  Automated technology used for legal hold should allow for personalization for a custodian arch-type.  Additional information that should fill in should include the custodian’s name, matter, due date, responsible attorney/contact, and other routine information.  Noncompliance tracking is a significant feature that should not be overlooked when moving from manual hold tracking to automation.

Making custodians (including IT and other business managers) aware of legal hold duties has become a critical component in this process.  This is particularly true for custodians who may be involved in more than one hold, more than one matter.  Dashboards which allow employees to view which holds, which matters they are involved in are becoming more popular.  This is something to consider as a feature in any technology purchase – what types of role-based dashboards may be deployed, and what information is tracked/viewed in each type of dashboard.

IT is a critical stakeholder in ensuring that legal obligations for information are ultimately addressed.  How does the technology present legal holds, collection requests, and retention schedules to IT?  Is there a separate interface for IT – coordinating IT discovery activities?  How does the system present legal instructions to the stakeholders and process managers?  It is by due date, system, data area, business unit, custodian level, etc.  This information in any automated system should be configurable per matter or data location.  Is it important to delineate the information and hold by company system, country/location, business unit or location?  Also consider accessibility, data formats, discovery and preservation capacity, privacy and IP capabilities, and any related governance attributes required when selecting and configuring legal hold technology.

Finally, you need to be able to maintain and update a library of laws and regulations that dictate legal requirements for data, including privacy and data protection laws, discovery rules, and retention laws.  Internal protocols on specific discovery handling procedures for matters.

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Part 2 – E-discovery: Creating and Managing an Enterprise-wide Program

Business today relies on three key elements – people, process and content.  To stay agile, relevant and to exist inside a framework of rules and acceptable practices people are compelled to create content and process.  The capture, distribution and consumption of content across both physical and digital forms are requirements to stay in business.

All businesses, regardless of size, location or market require and use content-documents, publications, and other information-throughout the day.   As volume and complexity of content increases, so does the need to manage and classify that information.  Enterprise Content Management solutions must support five key stages of the life of content:  Creation and Capture, Collaboration and Review, Integration and Optimization, and Experience and Consumption.  These categories site on top of Records Retention and Archiving to meet electronic discovery and preservation requirements.

Organizations extend core components – document management, records management, document-centric workflow, content archiving, imaging and application integration – through ECM extensions to support enhanced collaboration and digital content management, reporting and analytics, ERP solutions, portal integration, and rich application layering.

The point of content is to empower end-users, allow for business agility, and of course control costs and risks.

Managing information is becoming more complex.  Corporations are just beginning to get interested in the concept of “information governance.”  It is a term used to describe “the collection of decision rights, processes, standards, policies and technologies required to manage, maintain and exploit information as an enterprise resource.”  Businesses that rely on information and innovation, technology development, patents, regulated products, and creative arts must protect this core information as assets.  Organizations exploring an information governance strategy are seeking to guide how managers make decisions about content stewardship.  Organizational technology and business objectives are aligned and articulated to employees, key players, decision makers and external stakeholders.

eDiscovery is a component of an information governance program.  Content-centric best practices help meet compliance and risk mitigation mandates imposed by law, regulators, or internal quality standards.  Enterprise Content Management systems are getting better at incorporating ediscovery as a content-centric process to govern preservation and discovery collection, while balancing the needs of consumers and creators of that content.  Preparing for ediscovery may have the added benefit of valuing content – preparing internal inventories of electronic content, understanding the sources of content creation and consumption, deploying systems to capture business records, etc.  These activities may help streamline content flow, and offer opportunity to evaluate information for bottom line compliance, including ediscovery obligations.

To begin an information governance program corporations must ask themselves:

-Where to start?

-How do we articulate and execute a strategy for our own enterprise content?

-What are our fundamentals?

-How can we address the fundamentals?

-How do we balance regulatory compliance pressures against productivity?

-What are the right change management and technology improvements needed here?

-What are the demonstrable, tangible savings?

eDiscovery is a significant component of an information governance program simply because this process generates so much content that must be managed.  The challenges surrounding enterprise content management are ever abundant – ever increasing volumes of information, fractured systems, intellectual property, merger and acquisitions – all these result in disconnected IT systems and generate business records that may have value for a period of time.  Further most IT and business systems are ill equipped with effective search capability to identify content for compliance or ediscovery which makes managing content that much more challenging.

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Building a Data Center without Walls: Intelligent Networking for Litigation Support

A very good article by Jim Morin dated 4/12/12, Building a Data Center without Walls_ The Need for Intelligent Networking — Enterprise Systems, with implications for Litigation Support and IT.

The article concludes that in order for cloud operation to provide on-demand, elastic, and measureable services (requirements necessary for litigation support to deliver services), will require new workload orchestration software. On-demand networking has been discussed for more than 10 years but has been difficult for carriers to deploy due to legacy billing and operations software. With the very nature of cloud services being on demand, service providers understand that the network will need to also have this operating characteristic, not just for bandwidth capacity but also for performance assurance.

Future data center architectures will federate everything — networks, applications, and physical locations. The resulting “Data Center without Walls” operating model for litigation support will give IT tremendous operational flexibility and agility to better respond and support business initiatives by transparently using both in-house and cloud-based resources. This virtual data center, connected with an intelligent network, will become a key piece of Litigation Support cloud strategy as enterprise looks to take advantage of the new opportunities cloud computing brings.