According to a recent analyst report, the use of legal hold software is standard practice for very large enterprises in a perennial state of hold. Meanwhile, for the smallest and least litigious companies, spreadsheets and email plans may be all they’ll ever need. But what about organizations that fall somewhere in the middle, dealing with more than a handful of holds per year? For them, we’ve seen that the most cost-effective approach to these projects isn’t as clear.
If you are considering a new legal hold process or software solution and aren’t sure where to begin, it’s a good idea to start with questions about how the legal hold process is already managed in your organization. To gauge your needs, respond to the questions below with a number from 0 to 5, where 0 represents “no confidence” and 5 is “fully confident.”
1. If the courts questioned your hold workflow, would you be confident your steps are consistent, comprehensive, and comprehensible?
2. Are you confident legal hold materials such as notices, questionnaires, responses, follow-up questions, and escalation messages are organized in an easily accessible way?
3. If the person in charge of your organization’s legal holds were to leave, are you confident others could step in and pick up where they left off—understanding the tracking systems and hold statuses?
4. How confidently can you report to internal stakeholders or outside counsel on the progress of a hold?
5. If your company experienced overlapping holds, are you confident your process would prevent information from falling through the cracks or into the wrong place?
6. If your company faced holds including hundreds of custodians, could you confidently account for that scale, including any personnel moves and changes?
After adding up your responses to each question, if your total is between 22 and 30, it sounds like you have a defensible, repeatable process already in place. If your total is between 15 and 21, your current method may not be working for you in mitigating risk—and if your total is 14 or less, it may even be working against you.
If it seems like time to consider a new way of handling it all, there’s one more important question to ask. For companies that manage legal hold the manual way, however, it’s complex enough to warrant its own post: How much does your company spend on legal hold? We’ll tackle that topic next week.
In the meantime, if you’d like some guidance analyzing—or rethinking—your current legal hold process, let us know. We’re here to help.