You can have all the eDiscovery software and archived data in the world, but if you can’t produce the right evidence in front of a judge when it counts the most, it isn’t worth a thing. Thankfully, we talked to federal Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, who gave us a rundown of exactly what he’s looking for in a company when they’re called to the stand
Facciola says the most important thing a company can do is to have a clear records management policy. Storing data isn’t as costly as it once was (although it still can be), and the ease of it has caused us to become slaves to our technology when we continue to maintain a daunting amount of data that is not only costly to sift through but may ultimately be irrelevant to the legal case. A records management policy is in place to know how to reach specific pieces of data when they are needed and even know what is safe to dispose.
And yet having a records management policy is just the first step; it needs to be enforced. Ensuring your entire staff is storing all their information through the same method is an important way of proving to a judge your company isn’t negligent. “That’s leading with your chin. That’s asking for trouble,” Facciola says.
Second, when a legal battle is happening or imminent, Facciola says it’s important to turn off automatic deletion systems. If something crucial is accidentally lost, a judge could suspect that your organization was tampering with data in an attempt to deliberately destroy it.
“Reject any model based on a paper universe,” Facciola says, and focus your efforts on modeling a digital one. Thinking digitally when it comes to keeping records is the best way to ensure your company’s safety in a rapidly changing legal system.
Hear Facciola in our eDiscovery Viewpoint: Is your discovery data good enough for the courts?
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