Does a Legal Hold Automatically Ensure Preservation of Data?

“It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to press this button.”

– John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968)


A legal hold, or legal hold notice, is simply that –  a notification to a company or individual that material or data regarding an active or be anticipated legal proceeding shouldn’t be destroyed. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the material will be preserved. Actual preservation is the responsibility of the notified organization’s leadership and employees involved.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37(e) states that when, “electronically stored information that should have been preserved in the anticipation or conduct of litigation is lost because a party failed to take reasonable steps to preserve it, and it cannot be restored or replaced through additional discovery,” the court may take certain actions.

Usually drafted in the form of an email or paper letter, legal holds are not to taken lightly. Even though the legal hold is “just a notification” doesn’t make it any less crucial in the process of keeping a company safe from costly and time-consuming litigation. Fortunately we now have software to help with the notification process.

The best legal hold solutions help corporate legal departments notify custodians of their duty to preserve information in a timely manner and guarantee compliance with this duty. Highly intuitive, easily mastered “process” platforms allow team members to gain real-time access to the status of collection requests, know when actions were issued, which tasks are in progress and which legal actions require immediate attention. The tool should also create comprehensive dashboard views, so teams can see when a custodian leaves an organization, so they can enable email archiving or suspend the destruction of data.

A powerful legal hold solution offers a quick and highly cost-effective way to supercharge your automated business processes, as well as your bottom line. Reduce the ever-present risk of costly court cases, and let the software shoulder the burden of notification. The rest is up to you.

To learn more about Onit’s legal hold solution, download this white paper.

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