Now is the time to gather your troops! Whether initiating or responding to litigation, one should assemble a diverse, interdisciplinary team. The following team members should be consulted both prior to litigation to lay out strategy and, once litigation hits, to respond in kind to any discovery requests:
- Compliance Professional. This person assesses which individuals and what data was involved in the case at hand as related to the information management procedures that were or should have been crafted by them. If no policy exists, their presence here will be to learn what to insert into future protocols to help minimize costly litigation down the road.
- Counsel. This member will assess the legality of the cases issues during the entire litigation and be knowledgeable about the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, relevant cases and state laws. The attorney must actualize their in-depth knowledge of the key contested facts along with probable third-party litigation to draft a thorough and enforceable litigation hold notice to be sent to relevant parties. Counsel will also be responsible for contracting outside vendors for e-discovery work, including collection, processing and review of electronic data.
- IT Constituent. This person must be able to pinpoint, gather and safeguard all pieces of electronic data as requested by counsel. After all pertinent information has been accounted for, this person will need to properly protect it over time. In addition, the IT professional should be someone with great expertise of the company technological infrastructure and can map the business' data storage units with ease, including all servers and email exchanges.
- Records Member. This individual will aid counsel with any records stored outside and within the business. The records member should ensure that all relevant data is properly preserved and stored in a secure location. Records managers should collaborate with IT to map the content of the stored data and ensure that all data retention and destruction policies are being complied with.
Once assembled, this team will allow a business to take the concrete steps needed to weigh the necessity to preserve data, deal with the shortcomings of any electronic data systems and reduce any interruption to ongoing business operations.
Michael Swarz, JD, is based in Los Angeles, California, where he serves as Vice President of Marketing and Operations for eClaris, Inc. eClaris is a dynamic electronic discovery consultancy and service provider dedicated to helping law firms and corporations classify, process and review electronically stored information. He can be reached at email@example.com, by phone at 213-840-7109 or through www.eclaris.com.