Words have always been important to me as part of my love of the English language, especially through books of various topics. Books…the words within well-written books…have provided me with enjoyment, education and ongoing learning, insight, travel (at least in my mind), and above all, the humbling realization that there is so much more to learn, just behind that next cover.

So the value of context and the right words in the right place is not surprising to me in business conversation. I realized something was missing recently as I explained to fellow eDiscovery practitioners, attorneys, and corporate leaders just what I do, or would propose to do, for their firm or company. I didn’t seem to have that quick, attention-grabbing word or phrase to “set the stage” for our conversation…what is commonly called the elevator speech. Recognition is often the spark to create something new, or to correct old ways of doing things; I’m at that point and have decided I should share my new approach here in a somewhat shameless sales pitch. After all, it is my blog site, right? And hopefully I will add a bit of insight into legal hold management, quickly and persuasively, by giving the “what, why, and wherefore” of Legal Hold Administration.

The Value of Legal Hold Administration

What I Do

I develop legal hold management programs, to administer the entire life cycle of individual legal holds from creation to release, and to manage the entire legal hold collection related to the company’s ongoing litigation or regulatory activities. I also develop eDiscovery programs for the company that are directly supported by a well-managed legal hold process.

Why I Do Legal Hold Administration

Legal holds provide the foundation for all eDiscovery activities related to litigation or regulatory investigations. All successful eDiscovery activities depend upon a well-constructed and implemented legal hold to start the eDiscovery process. A sound and defensible legal hold process will support the company’s eDiscovery position in court proceedings, especially regarding requests for additional information or objections to requests made by opposing counsel; courts tend to look very favorably at counsel who can produce evidence of a well-planned and proactive legal hold process.

The Value of Legal Hold Programs

As collections of separate documents that relate to similar matters, legal holds are increasingly recognized to have value as documentation of the company’s litigation history and probable future legal activities. Legal hold collections can indicate litigation trends or areas of ongoing risk, preserve custodian groups for similar legal matters, and serve as best practice indicators for future litigation preparedness. Due to the complexity and investment in time and expertise to create and properly manage legal holds, they must be managed by a dedicated Legal Hold Administrator, rather than being issued and forgotten as is too often the case for most companies.

The company has a responsibility to ensure it is meeting all legal requirements in responding to litigation or regulatory matters. Only a well-managed legal hold program based on the document’s complete life cycle can ensure these requirements are met.