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Defining Legal Holds

When it comes to e-discovery, a legal hold may be one of the most essential elements of the entire process. What makes a legal hold different from other parts of e-discovery is that a legal hold usually impacts the company as a whole rather than singling out the company’s legal department.

This article gives a better understanding of what a legal hold is, how it impacts a company and the importance of this process. If you are looking for assistance with filing a legal hold or any part of e-discovery, the team at Commercial Process Serving, Inc. is ready to help you.

What is a Legal Hold?

A legal hold is a process that helps organizations preserve relevant information during litigation or an investigation. A legal hold aims to ensure that evidence is not accidentally destroyed or lost and give the organization time to gather all the necessary information. This could include emails, documents, social media posts, and any other digital data that could be used as evidence in a legal case.

There are many different ways to implement a legal hold, but the basic idea is always the same:

  • Identify the relevant information;
  • Put controls in place to make sure it is not destroyed; and,
  • Monitor compliance with those controls.

Why Are Legal Holds Important?

Legal holds are essential in e-discovery because they ensure that all relevant evidence is preserved and can be used in a legal case. Without a legal hold, some evidence may be lost or destroyed, which could jeopardize the case's outcome. By requiring employees to maintain records of their communications, investigators can obtain valuable evidence that may help prove necessary information for a case.

Implementing Legal Holds

The first step in implementing a legal hold is identifying what information needs to be preserved. This can be a difficult task, as there may be many different types of information that could potentially be relevant to the case. To make things easier, many organizations choose to use a “custodian list” approach, in which they identify all the people who may have relevant information and then require those people to preserve all their documents and other records.

Once the relevant information has been identified, the next step is to put controls in place to ensure it is not destroyed. This typically involves sending out notices to the relevant people, telling them that they are required to preserve all relevant information. The notices will usually specify what types of data need to be preserved, how long it needs to be preserved, and what steps must be taken to ensure its preservation.

The final step is to monitor compliance with the legal hold. This typically involves regular check-ins with the relevant people to make sure they are still preserving the required information. It can also involve auditing the organization’s records to make sure that all relevant information has been properly preserved.

Implementing a legal hold can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is essential for any organization that may be involved in litigation or an investigation. By taking the time to carefully identify the relevant information and put controls in place to preserve it, organizations can ensure that they will have all the evidence they need to defend themselves in court or during an investigation.

How Are Legal Holds Enforced?

Organizations typically have policies and procedures in place to ensure that legal holds are followed. This could include requiring employees to save all relevant data, setting up a legal hold team to manage the process, and using software to track and preserve data.

What Are the Consequences of Not Following a Legal Hold?

If an organization does not follow a legal hold, it could face serious consequences, such as being held in contempt of court or having to pay hefty fines. In some cases, the failure to follow a legal hold could even lead to criminal charges.

Assistance With E-Discovery, Legal Holds, and More in California

No matter where you are in the e-discovery process, the team at Commercial Process Serving, Inc. is ready to work for you. For nearly 30 years, our knowledgeable industry leaders have adapted to new technologies to speed up the process serving operations and maintaining the highest standards. Reach out to see how we can assist with your legal matter — contact us online or by phone. (855) 973-0833