Lack of policy adds to e-discovery cost and complexity — Large percentage of companies lack legal holds

IT and legal teams must work together to establish e-discovery policies. In fact, one-third of companies lack formal policies and procedures for legal holds, according to a recent poll of attorneys and executives conducted by Deloitte. A legal hold is the process by which companies preserve evidence subject to discovery for lawsuits and other legal and regulatory matters. In this increasingly litigious society, it’s likely IT will have to hand over e-mails and backup files.

“Given the relatively low cost of establishing a policy framework and processes to address legal hold issues, it is surprising to see such a large percentage of corporate America lacking in this area,” says Jeff Seymour, a principal with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services analytic and forensic technology practice.

Respondents indicated responding to discovery requests has become significantly more complicated and costly. And less than one-third indicated their companies are very or extremely effective in managing the readiness aspect of the discovery process. Worse, 5% said the guidance provided to IT on litigation hold polices was unclear and 35% said it was only somewhat clear.

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