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From the Community: Getting Maximum Mileage Out of Legal Hold

Barry O'Melia

Who doesn’t love discovering new uses for everyday things?

As tech tools get more niche, it’s harder for organizations to justify allocating money and human resources for tools with narrow use cases. Tech has to be useful for more than just one purpose, often across more than one department. So why not discover new ways to use the tools you already have in-house—like Relativity?

Relativity Legal Hold, with its tracking, reporting, communications, and escalation features, has uses far beyond litigation holds and preservation. Our Community has come up with creative ways to put this flexible feature set to work for them beyond the obvious—with little (if any) backend work.

Here are some of the top ideas for how you can, too—which you may want to share with your friends in other departments.

Financial Services

Regulatory Compliance

Global regulatory groups are putting increased focus on individual accountability, asking firms to identify who their senior managers are, outline their responsibilities, and ensure they meet basic standards of conduct. For corporations, this means additional compliance demands to meet and track. Standalone tools for these specific needs exist, though they’re costly.

Epiq has discovered Legal Hold’s usefulness in this space and has begun focusing on an area of growing demand: the Asia Pacific region.

“Our banking clients in Asia are keenly interested in ways to automate and audit repeatable business processes to demonstrate compliance to regional regulation authorities,” said Tom Bonk, vice president, global professional services at Epiq.

Using Legal Hold, Epiq’s customers can document training for senior managers and other covered employees, send out certification requests, track compliance, and report and follow up on inconsistencies.

“Relativity is a nice fit for this general use case as it’s a platform that our clients already have familiarity with. We’re simply extending the reach of vetted technology as opposed to pitching something entirely new,” said Tom.

“We also expect individual accountability regulation to be brought forth and enhanced in Europe, North America, and elsewhere in the coming years, and we are building practice-wide expertise and capabilities to meet that anticipated demand,” said Tom.


Self-Assessment Campaigns

Alvarez & Marsal uses Legal Hold to measure their clients’ cybersecurity maturity at the outset of an engagement: what they call “self-assessment campaigns.” They’ve sent questionnaires to hundreds of employees across departments and geolocations to better understand a company’s current environment and what kind of files they have.

“Legal Hold plays a big role in helping us get up to speed on understanding clients’ cyber posture,” said John deCraen, senior director of global cyber risk services at Alvarez & Marsal, during a recent webinar on cybersecurity and e-discovery.

“We can create very specific campaigns, with questionnaires that are tailored to an employee’s role and skillset so they’re more likely to fill it out. People can pause halfway through and come back to it if they need more guidance for an answer. And we can escalate to employees’ supervisors if they don’t respond.”

Provider Risk Mitigation

And for e-discovery solutions providers, John pointed out that using Legal Hold is a smart risk-mitigation move you can start during new client onboarding to understand what kind of data clients have and the regulations they’re subject to.

“If your company ever had a cyber event based on a file you got from a client, you’d want to be able to show that you did your due diligence before bringing that file inhouse,” John said. “You can use Legal Hold to say to clients, ‘here’s a 20-question email campaign per skillset for your teams,’ memorialized and able to produce to court if ever compelled to understand where you started from. Since the Legal Hold server uses the SQL backend, you have the power of data analytics to slice and dice the survey data however you need.”

Information Governance

Data Retention Schedule Management

CDS has discovered that Legal Hold is a helpful information governance tool, since it can track and send notifications regarding how long certain types of documents should be held or when they should be deleted. In other words: it can manage organizational data retention schedules.

“We recently deployed Legal Hold for a large manufacturing corporation, storing their data retention schedule within the legal hold database itself,” said Michael Milicevic, managing director at CDS.

“This allowed for members of the in-house legal team to make changes to not only manage the company’s legal hold, but also centralize, update, export, or reference their data retention schedule all in one platform, which greatly improved efficiency,” said Michael.

Human Resources

Recruiting & Managing Contract Attorneys

There are many dedicated recruitment management tools available on the market, but CDS found Legal Hold an ideal solution to manage their needs around recruiting and managing engagements with contract attorneys. Another perk: no ramp-up time, since they were already familiar with the platform.

They built a Relativity database to manage contractor information and created templated questionnaires based on project specifications, which they sent to contacts via Legal Hold. They also tracked and reviewed responses and resumes in Relativity, along with notes for each contractor.

“We were able to send automated reminders to contractors who had not yet responded to gauge interest and track availability to help us quickly put together teams for large projects,” said Michael Milicevic. “We kept notes on experience, qualifications, and status in Relativity for future reference, and we could easily export resumes of selected team members for client review.”

Other High Potential Areas

Beyond these use cases already at work in the field, we’ve identified a few other areas where Legal Hold can shine.

  • Issuing subpoenas, when the witness or attorney has agreed to accept via email
  • GDPR consent management and tracking
  • Customer outreach for product liability and risk management
  • Attestation workflows – proving out something through evidence

Relativity’s longtime bread and butter use case may be classic e-discovery – but at its most basic, it’s a flexible, extensible platform for working with data. In 2019, challenge yourself to ask: how else can it help you?

Looking for more ways to leverage Legal Hold? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team—we’d be happy to help you do it.

Barry O'Melia was a senior group product manager at Relativity.

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