“Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a ‘Legal Hold.”
The above definition is easy to understand the ‘legal hold’ process for any legal department or law firm. Legal teams need to ensure that the legal hold notification reaches to each custodian, stakeholder, or contingent staff to preserve data material relevant for further investigation. They need to work abruptly before the date losses its vitality, but the real challenge was the manual process.
Yet, the idea is to simplify the legal hold process for the legal team against the manual legal hold system. It created the emergence of automated ‘end-to-end Legal Hold Management (LHM)’ system. Let’s understand the automated process and its importance in detail.
The step-by-step guide for an end-to-end Legal Hold Management (LHM)
The slow turnaround of document submission and missed deadlines as damaging the reputation of law firms and it costs a fortune to the legal department for any organization. There is a clear need for end-to-end Legal Hold Management (LHM) in order to keep a strong relation, collaboration, and communication between law firms and their clients. This four steps guide will certainly give insights about legal hold management.
Step 1 – The first and foremost step is to create legal hold from a predefined template/s and notifications in order to follow a standard structure
Step 2 – In the next step, pick the ‘right’ custodians by integrating with HR directory and respective data/documentation to be held against the accountable the individuals
Step 3 – With a Legal Hold Management (LHM) solution, simply assign a hold as earliest possible to the custodian via automated notifications and verify the same in case. If the custodian is nonresponsive then use the ‘auto-escalations’ or ‘reminders’
Step 4 – In the final step, get instantly update on the results in order to go further with the defensible legal hold process as required
Legal Hold Management using the above process enables legal hold enforcement under the information governance and helps in Early Case Assessment (ECA). Here comes the common question why there is a need of end-to-end legal hold management for any law firm or legal department, let’s discuss now.
Reasons, why a law firm or legal department requires end-to-end legal hold management?
To find the ‘right’ data material of the ‘right’ custodian
The legal hold is one of the sensitive concerns for law firms or any legal department of an organization that it requires to find the ‘right’ data material and ‘right’ custodian respectively. The instructions to preserve the data materials have to communicate with the responsible individuals; here the traditional manual legal hold model fails.
It is difficult to convey the same to all the possible custodians where the data are scattered, especially in any large organization or a law firm that has multiple clients. It gets simplified with a legal hold management solution by integrating the various stakeholders and in-house enterprise platforms with the legal department. The law firms and legal department can systematically send, collect, and track legal hold notifications and enables ECA.
For an improved collaboration and integration
Law firms and legal departments can manage their workflow around legal hold with improved collaboration and integration with custodians. Here ‘size doesn’t matter’; even in a fairly small organization or law firm the amount of data material could be higher and scattered among custodians.
It makes the data preservation and efficiency more vulnerable; so the legal hold management solution helps to reduce the efforts for collaboration and integration among stakeholders. The legal hold can be initiated within the solution and bring centralize monitoring. So, it saves time, money, and of course, the fear of losing any sensitive data during the legal hold.
To reduce custodian interview expense
In the 3rd step of the above guide for end-to-end Legal Hold Management (LHM), is simply automates the entire legal hold process; from initially creating a hold, notifications, to reminders, and to escalations from a single solution. In this process, the interviewing potential custodians are one of the major expenses that cost huge per interview of each custodian. The legal team can create customize self-guiding questionnaires, reminders, and notifications to get a quick and accurate response before proceeding further.
To keep custodian compliance
It has been common in the manual legal hold system that the notification gets skipped, ignored, or delayed in response by custodians. In some worst cases, the notification reaches the wrong party that delays the legal hold process. It makes the legal team’s further processing more complicated as the custodian is idle to response.
When a legal hold management system is in place then the notifications, reminders, and escalations are automated therefore custodian can’t ignore it. Also, it can be escalate to the reporting supervisor if unresponsive after multiple reminders. Thus, the legal hold management system keeps the custodian compliance effective.
Legal Hold Management (LHM) empowers the law firms and legal teams to effectively manage the multiple legal holds with utmost accuracy under the lesser time compare to the manual legal hold system.
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