The Zubulake v. UBS Warburg case of 2003 set groundbreaking precedence for legal holds. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that firms should suspend their document destruction policies and preserve all data that could be relevant to anticipated litigation.
Since then, legal teams are liable if their clients discard any documents relevant to court trials.
What Is A Legal Hold?
A legal hold (litigation hold) is a notification that legal teams send to company employees. The notice instructs the personnel to preserve all paper or electronic documents that are relevant to a case.
Jurisprudence obligates legal teams to supervise data preservation mandated by legal hold, and failing to do so is negligent malpractice. The Industrial Quick Search, Inc. v. Meiresonne, et al. case of 2018 is a good example.
A publisher sued IQS for copyright infringement. Days before an inspection, IQS destroyed documents that it reported as junk. The publisher’s attorney learned about the paper shredding and filed a spoliation motion.
IQS lost the case after the court found it in defiance of a legal hold.
IQS sued its legal team for negligence, claiming the attorneys failed to educate it about legal hold rules. The legal team’s defense was that it orally informed IQS management about producing all the relevant documents.
The court ruled IQS was right to sue its legal team for malpractice. Oral legal holds are inefficient, and attorneys should supervise their clients when handling all case documents.
Legal holds help to prevent your adversaries from deleting relevant evidence that could support your case. Your attorney should file a legal hold whenever you can reasonably anticipate litigation or when the case commences.
Who Sends the Legal Hold?
Large companies find themselves in multiple litigations, with some dealing with dozens of consecutive trials.
Such firms hire full-time professionals to manage the litigation hold process. The company attorney acts as the official sender, but paralegals and eDiscovery managers often do all the paper and handy work.
It’s practical for attorneys to delegate such duties to professionals who don’t have extensive legal training.
Who’s Your Legal Hold Target?
The legal hold should notify any parties in possession of data that could be relevant to your case. Well-targeted litigation could win you a case if the recipient defies your instructions.
The law does not promote specific requirements for hold notifications, and it would help to make the notice clear and concise. Identify a list of documents you would like the recipient to preserve. It also helps to specify dates, names, and the underlying conflict.
Enforcing Compliance of Legal Holds
Legal holds are only effective if you enforce them. Custodians of your legal hold could break the rules; if you’re not observant, they could delete evidence, and you won’t hold them accountable with a spoliation motion.
It helps to:
- Track the reception of your legal hold.
- Seek acknowledgment of the notification.
- Remind custodians to honor the legal hold.
How do you enforce preservation obligations with ESI collection?
How Legal Hold and eDiscovery Work Together
The data eDiscovery process crucially depends on the effectiveness of collecting electronically stored information (ESI.) During data collection, legal teams transfer all relevant ESI from a native source to a dedicated repository.
Some eDiscovery collections confuse practitioners with timing and methodology requirements.
At Datamine Discovery, we handle eDiscovery services and project management. That way, your data collection of ESI is more efficient.
Our legal hold management software is user-friendly, automated, and defensible. Our processes quickly and effectively render:
- The notification
- The preservation
- The evaluation
We collect ESI from numerous data sources and render Forensic Analysis and Data Processing. Thus, you can trust us for thorough:
- Artificial Intelligence