Twizzle Time; Top Threats Keeping General Counsel Up at Night

The elusive twizzle; I am sure that this synchronized figure skating ice dance move which can be performed both forward and backward, on both inside and outside edges, and both clockwise and counterclockwise has been keeping synchronized figure skaters up at night at this year’s Sochi Olympic Games.

Keeping General Counsel up at night these days according to a Law360 article and a recent roundtable discussion with mid-size corporate general counsel hosted by USLAW Network Inc. seems to be — to no one’s surprise — eDiscovery Requests and Litigation Holds.

 eDiscovery Requests-Try Data Mapping

One General Counsel of a mid size insurance company stated, “he spends more time identifying the “tree” on whose branches the documents may sit than he does actually gathering the documents, including manual searching and tracking down key information by talking to individual business units.”

As a service provider working with a lot of mid-size companies, we hear this all the time.  Essentially companies who spend way too much time trying to track down different data points where potentially responsive data may reside within the organization.  One of the first steps we like to do with any ediscovery matter and data collection project is a Data Map.  A Data Map is the starting point for putting together a game-plan of where potential data is located and what type of repositories a company may dealing with.  Mid size corporations should consider working with the same ediscovery service provider so they can get to know your systems so when another  litigation matter may arise the institutional knowledge is there and you can quickly respond.

Litigation Holds

Litigation hold was another top threat keeping General Counsel up at night.  As stated in the Law 360 article, “a big part of discovery is when to pull the trigger and administrate a legal hold.”  Today most mid-size companies we encounter are managing legal holds via spreadsheets and post it notes.  There are a number of great and relatively inexpensive ways to automate legal hold with some nice tools in the marketplace.  The tools are designed to streamline and centralize the legal hold process in a defensible manner all while providing customized templates and repeatable workflow all while maintaining compliance from custodians. For example, Relativity Litigation Hold tool Method. This is a workspace that can be hosted by a Premium Relativity Hosting Partner that allows counsel to set up questionnaires and mailings and that records email responses to those clients and helps manage the legal hold process.  It can also provide information that helps in a Data Mapping exercise, because the questionnaire can ask employees and record responses about where they keep records pertinent to various matters.  In short, an experienced service provider again can point mid-size corporations in the right direction and help integrate the tools into the overall workflow.

Preparation is Key

Just like perfecting the twizzle, businesses need to be prepared.  A midsize company may only have 3 to 4 litigations per year.  A good service provider may have 300 to 400 matters they deal with in a yearly basis.  Utilize that experience and knowledge and engage a third party provider who can assist you in data mapping the organizations IT infrastructure and offer ideas and tools for improving the overall process.