White Paper Summary

CIO's Guide to the New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Assessing the IT Impact of Email / File Retention and Discovery Requirements
Litigation readiness has become an increasingly important IT responsibility, often forging new but necessary links between IT and legal staffs. In today’s business environment, the scope of IT’s role must expand to incorporate ediscovery requirements. Recent amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) mandate changes in the way organizations manage their data. IT needs to have a detailed knowledge of what information is kept, where data is stored, and how long to keep it. Also, IT needs to have the ability to quickly and accurately respond to litigation hold notices. Establishing the correct processes and procedures around data retention, implementing automated solutions to ensure compliance, improving search and retrieval speed, as well as increasing user productivity, could ultimately save most companies millions of dollars.

Are You Ready?
Legal and regulatory compliance requirements are changing the rules for electronic records retention and storage. Changes in laws and regulations can impact what types of business records you create and retain, how securely those records must be stored and protected, how long they must be kept, and how quickly they must be retrieved when required. Certain industry segments such as banking, financial services and healthcare have been subject to more stringent regulations and have developed data management policies and procedures. Litigation risks and associated costs are stronger drivers than regulatory compliance for many firms, particularly in the US. Moreover, recent amendments to the FRCP were issued to refine and clarify the e-discovery requirements for electronically stored information (ESI). The new rules are causing companies to question their current practice in the context of litigation readiness.

Self Assessment:
Does your enterprise have the necessary policies and solutions in place to meet these new requirements? Take a moment and evaluate your department’s readiness if asked to support a litigation request tomorrow. Identifying any potential weaknesses or missing processes or skills should underscore areas of risk and the need to plan accordingly. To understand your potential level of risk, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have an up-to-date record retention policy and schedule?
  • Is your record retention policy enforced and audited for compliance?
  • Can you implement a litigation hold and cost-effectively sustain it for a period of time? How about multiple, overlapping holds?
  • Can you easily discover email, files and other electronic documents across the organization, including laptops and remote offices?
  • Can you complete your discovery within days or weeks?
  • Can you be certain that you have found everything during your discovery?
  • Can you provide all electronic documents in their original format if required?
  • Can you (and your legal counsel) easily and effectively review all discovered documents to produce a smaller set suitable for review by outside counsel?


2007-03-01
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