The Editor interviews Afshin Behnia , President & CEO, Mitratech; Tom Klaff , CEO, Surety LLC; Dan Lucky , Vice President-Data Management Solutions and David Gaines , Vice President- Security, Microstrategies, Inc.; Bettina Tweardy Riveros , Associate General Counsel and Director of Product Development, Corporation Service Company (CSC); Karen Schuler , Vice President of Consulting, ONSITE 3 .
Editor: What legal trends in 2007 had the greatest impact on law departments' technology solutions?
Behnia : On December 1, 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) took effect, requiring US organizations to address issues regarding electronically stored evidence at the outset of litigation. Rule 37(f) grants organizations a safe harbor for data destruction when it is due to routine operations and done in good faith - but this rule also requires that, at a minimum, organizations integrate legal hold procedures into their systematized frameworks.
While a variety of technologies can be used to apply litigation holds, a multidisciplinary approach is required. Anyone who thinks that IT can implement a hold assumes that the problem is exclusively a technical one. It is not. Legal, HR, and records management professionals all have important roles to play in the process.
We have seen companies respond in one of three ways: Reactionary - purchasing a litigation-hold point solution outside of their matter management technology which results in inefficiencies and high ownership costs; Elusively - deferring the problem to IT by pigeonholing it into a larger Records Management project which ends up costing more time and money than estimated while falling short on the functionality to meet the FRCP rules, and S trategically - by building their litigation hold processes into their existing matter management system for an integrated solution.
Klaff: Without question, the e-discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure had the most significant impact on legal technology and that impact will resonate for the next several years.
Lucky and Gaines: The new e-discovery rules in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. They are being widely adopted by the state court systems.
Riveros: Corporate legal departments are increasingly faced with managing a broader array of risk across their organization to protect their board and shareholders, while faced with the need for increased productivity and budget compression. Effective risk management requires the aggregation of disparate data, knowledge, and documents across multiple systems and a dispersed organizational structure. Examples include internal management and reporting obligations in the litigation and compliance arenas as well as external legal hold preservation obligations in the e-discovery arena. Broad-based and flexible matter and document management solutions are critical to success.
Schuler: Beyond the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which took effect just prior to 2007, discovery preparedness is perhaps the single most significant trend of the year in terms of how law departments are approaching technology solutions. As opposed to taking a reactive approach to e-discovery, discovery preparedness promotes a proactive approach, such as creating litigation hold communication policies, implementing e-discovery teams, cataloging and mapping locations and types of data across the organization and assessing the need to address structured data. There were also other legal trends influencing law departments, including (1) engagement of technologists internally to assist corporations in creating e-discovery task forces; (2) emergence of document review tools to enable corporate administration and oversight for driving productivity of review projects; (3) increasing availability of educational resources for legal teams, and (4) Safe Harbor certification for U.S.-based e-discovery providers to allow handling of data from the European Union, thus resolving data privacy concerns.
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