White Paper Summary

Taking Control of Your Information: What Every Legal Department Wants From IT

Recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) created increased risks for companies and their IT and legal departments. The new rules require companies to prepare for litigation discovery requests on short notice. Failing to prepare can increase costs for readying paper and electronic business records, in-house attorney reviews, outside counsel fees, and payouts for remedies following an adverse court decision or settlement. Because the new rules focus on electronically stored information (ESI), a company's IT staff will need to help identify the information the company has, where it is located, and how readily it can be retrieved and produced. Also, IT should plan to work with the legal department to implement an appropriate retention policy and implementation strategy.

This paper does not describe the changes to the new rules. Rather, the paper provides:

  • An overview of the rules and the business issues they create.
  • A discussion of two ways of coping with the rules: information identification and good housekeeping.
  • Three alternative strategies for addressing retention of electronic records such as e-mail messages and attachments.
  • Six key points for beginning a conversation between IT and the legal department.


Overview of FRCP Changes
The recent FRCP changes affect your company when a triggering event, such as litigation, creates an obligation to preserve records and information. For example:

  • Rule 16 sets up the process and time limits for discovery. A discovery meeting must take place within 120 days of the filing of the suit or 90 days after an answer is filed.
  • That discovery meeting itself is called a Rule 26 "meet and confer." This meeting requires attorneys to discuss, among many other things, any issues relating to the preservation of information, and to discuss the disclosure, discovery, or production of information. In addition, attorneys must review what information may be privileged and therefore withheld.


The new rules mean that attorneys have much to cover in the discovery meeting. The need for a company to describe this information early in the discovery process presents a considerable challenge.

These new rules can affect your company in several ways.



2007-06-01
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