White Paper Summary

An IT Perspective - What Legal Wants... Seven Things IT Can Do To Meet Legal's Needs

Introduction
Nearly all companies in the course of regular business activities become the target of lawsuits. These vary from common lawsuits, such as employee wrongful termination, to major litigation, such as class action lawsuits. Likewise, companies themselves initiate litigation. Litigation always has been, and will continue to be, a reality of doing business. What is changing, however, is the nature of litigation discovery, its focus on electronic documents and how this impacts IT. New rules are changing how quickly companies have to discover information, increasing the risks for those that are not prepared. 

The explosion of electronic documents, along with new regulations, new trends in litigation discovery and how end users handle documents are forcing organizations to re-think their document retention and discovery strategies. According to a recent study from UC Berkeley, more than 96% of all information in an enterprise is in digital format, and even 70% of all paper documents are copies of electronic documents. They are so important that once a lawsuit or investigation has commenced (or is reasonably foreseeable), the failure to retain relevant electronic documents can lead to disastrous consequences: the loss of the lawsuit, monetary or criminal liability for management or the company, and even the death of the business. 

These newer trends in discovery are having a great impact on IT. Once an occasional occurrence, discovery is now commonplace with Legal departments making frequent demands on IT organizations. For organizations that are not prepared, the costs of producing electronically stored information, including e-mail and files can be disruptive, expensive and time consuming. For companies that cannot find their information fast enough – the results can be disastrous. In this new environment of electronic document-focused discovery, instead of waiting for discovery requests to happen, IT organizations are better off anticipating, understanding and preparing for Legal's needs. Working closely together, Legal and IT can develop policies and strategies to become litigation ready. This proactive approach leads to less disruption, more defensible discovery and lower costs.



2004-05-01
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