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4 More Legal Hold Headaches and How to Cure Them

Nik Balepur

Previously on the Relativity Blog, we shared fives cures to common litigation hold headaches. If only those five headaches were the lone challenges organizations encounter during preservation. 

Unfortunately, the art of managing litigation holds—and ensuring your custodians comply—is complex at best, with several moving parts that need to be taken into consideration.

We know from our first post that automated processes and templates can help ensure your legal hold protocol is repeatable and defensible. But there’s more to the story than that, so we’ve compiled a few more of the most common headaches and some tips for curing them.

Headache #1: Digging insight out of a pile of questionnaire responses isn't easy.

Depending on the size of your company and the matter at hand, your hold notices and questionnaires could return hundreds of responses. You want to gain quick insight into this information, such as who has responded and who hasn’t, but exporting the data to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is cumbersome and time-consuming.

Cure #1:  Apply data analysis practices to questionnaire responses.

Rely on visualizations, like bar graphs or pie charts, to get the insight you need. Applying a few filters to slice and dice your data and spin up an easy-to-read visual within your legal hold tool will make your investigation easier and show you everything you need to know at a glance—without wrestling with Excel.

Headache #2: Certain people are only privy to certain things when you’re under multiple litigation holds.

Picture it: You have multiple holds occurring simultaneously—for example, one for an HR matter and another for an IP case. Different teams own these holds, and you want them to use the same process for managing them. However, you also need to ensure confidential information stays confidential.

Cure #2: Customize your security settings.

In your litigation hold tool, spend a little time up front adjusting the permissions per individual hold so project owners and their teams can only see the holds to which they’re assigned. If one group of paralegals is working on an IP hold, for example, it’s worth thinking through the permissions they won’t need so there’s no fear of them catching a glimpse of your internal HR matters.

Headache #3: You have information to track that doesn’t fit the legal hold mold.

Every organization does things a little differently, including how they capture, track, and use information throughout the legal hold process. Matching a repeatable process to the kind of project that’s different every time can be an uphill battle.

Cure #3: Make it your own.

Embrace the ambiguity: There’s no point in trying to fit square-shaped information into a round hole. The time it takes to create custom fields in your legal hold software to capture project-specific information about custodians or communications is far less than the time it would take to forgo the process and handle things manually.

Headache #4: You need to get status updates to outside counsel regularly.

To stay apprised of the matter, outside counsel wants to stay updated on responses to your litigation hold, but sending reports and updates can be time-consuming. Plus, with busy schedules on both sides of the firewall, checking in can be cumbersome.

Cure #4: Schedule reports.

Rather than compiling status updates whenever you have a spare moment, set up a regularly scheduled report. That way, at say, 7:00 a.m. every Monday, you and whomever you choose will receive an automated update straight to their inbox.

Nik was a member of Relativity’s customer success team.