Simplifying the Legal Holds Process for Faster Digestion: Part 1

PreparationThis is the first post in a four part series by guest blogger, Tiffany Fox.

As the e-discovery world expands, and parties are looking for technicalities and advantages to further their interests in the process, legal holds (“lit holds”) are coming more and more under the scrutiny of the court. Between producing parties abusing the nebulous language around withholding standards and recipient parties looking to press every advantage and find any possible spoliation claim, the courts have had to chime in with guidance and a bit more clarity on just exactly what a legal hold entails.

The first thing to understand is that the term “legal hold” is often used to refer to multiple steps in a process, rather than a single document or notice.
The Sedona Conference Commentary on Legal Holds sets forth 11 guidelines that in turn expand Sedona Conference principles five and six. I am going to simplify things somewhat, for a faster digestion, but highly recommend that any attorney who may be faced with a decision regarding a legal hold read the Sedona materials carefully, along with current case law. Again, because this is currently a commonly-argued aspect of discovery, the case law is evolving rapidly.

The easiest way to understand the legal hold is to think of it in four stages, each with its own sub-steps. I will be detailing each stage in four separate blog posts. As in litigation, the strategy for legal holds is likely to vary depending on each lawsuit or investigation, but there are common principles that can help build a defensible legal hold in any case.

 

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Know Your Technology and Its Best Use

We have built our E-Discovery Division around the principle that we are “technology agnostic,” meaning we have never purchased or developed our own platform, or partnered with one software provider that might tie the hands of our project managers and attorneys on different matters. We always want to be able to recommend the right tool for the data that needs to be collected and reviewed.

In practice, this means we’ve worked with more than 75 different platforms and have a robust understanding of the technology marketplace – whether it involves predictive coding, linear review or anything in between. We know the platforms that perform well with different types of data and the vendors that have the infrastructure and service to support projects of varying sizes, complexity and deadlines. The objectivity we offer in a confusing and rapidly changing segment of our industry is very appealing to our clients.

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