For the last 2 years the legal sector has been bombarded with e-Discovery. Whether in the form of a vendor or service, you cannot escape it.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2006 and in effect since December of that year, mandate that businesses must be able to quickly produce such data – including email, digital word documents, images and digital audio and video – when required by litigation in a federal court.
Michael Osterman of Osterman Research surveyed 111 companies in the fall of 2007 and found some interesting, yet serious issues…..
- 47% – have some kind of email retention policy in place
- 53% – lack a policy to govern email retention and deletion
- 67% – allow individuals users to determine how long messages are kept by the company
- 66% – do not have the email archiving technology required to manage email retention
“I don’t think it’s difficult to understand the [FRCP] rules or that business owners don’t know about them, I just think it sometimes takes a “headline shock” to make people move on some things, especially when we’re talking about potential liabilities. In other word, if it hasn’t happen to them yet, it hasn’t happened”
Osterman continues, “There really is no consensus yet on whether a company should keep all its email and other docs, whether a company should keep a finite number of years’ worth of data, or whether it should keep more than 30 days worth of data. As long as a company can prove it has predictable methods of storing or not storing data, it can show the court it has some sort of policy in place.”
Recent court cases have demonstrated that companies are expected to show a clear retention policy, many companies are still unclear on the concept of e-discovery in general.
This should only increase the opportunity firms have in developing marketing strategies to address this. When a non-lawyer believes it’s not difficult to understand the FRCP rules, you can also imagine this task would be assigned to some low level programmer, and that spells RISK.