Legal holds

In the many years I’ve spent working with legal operations professionals, I’ve seen every possible way to handle legal holds. Whether an organization uses a fully-featured e-discovery solution, relies on spreadsheets and a manual process, or falls somewhere in between, everyone has to have some way of addressing this essential need. Even if good business practices weren’t motivation enough, the courts often mandate that companies involved in litigation can demonstrate that they have a reliable way of preserving relevant information and protecting it from deletion or spoliation.

A common challenge

At ELM Solutions we know, and I have personally heard firsthand, that many legal departments struggle to find the legal holds approach that works best for their needs. While there are excellent e-discovery solutions available, some legal departments don’t require the full suite of features they offer. These companies, understandably, have no wish to execute a multifaceted implementation and then pay for capabilities that they are unlikely to use in the near term.

Often, however, manual processes are not the right answer, either. The labor-intensive manual approach, which typically requires staff members to individually move and store files in designated folders and track them via spreadsheet, takes up too much time and introduces opportunities for human error. It’s also difficult to prove to a court that this kind of process is sufficient.

A new solution

The challenge for legal departments whose needs fall in between these two ends of the spectrum is to strike the right balance. An automated solution focused specifically on legal holds is the answer for many of these organizations. That’s why we’re excited to introduce our new Legal Holds module for both Passport® and TyMetrix® 360°.

Before we even began designing the Legal Holds module, we spent a lot of time talking with customers to understand their needs, their workflows, and their preferences for a potential solution. We found that legal professionals were looking for a solution with the following benefits:

  • Faster legal holds execution and little need for manual intervention
  • Repeatability so that the legal holds process can be executed consistently every time
  • Defensibility to the courts
  • Reduced costs

We designed a Legal Holds module that meets these needs and easily fits into existing adjacent matter management workflows. The new module offers:

Automated workflows that handle assignment, notification, and administration of custodian acknowledgements. The software executes the process so that users are no longer responsible for manually moving, storing, or tracking legal hold data.

True integration with matter management within the solution interface. Users with the proper permissions can initiate holds from within existing matters or can generate a new matter from a legal hold.

Simple administration that makes it easy to initiate a hold, add data custodians, and control archiving, restoring, and deletion of data. Workflows are efficient and make day-to-day management of legal holds intuitive and quick.

Reporting and auditing features that show managers, as well as the courts, any information needed about the status and history of a legal hold.

Fast onboarding that doesn’t require a large amount of customer time. Most clients are up and running in the solution within just a few weeks.

For organizations that use Passport or TyMetrix 360° for matter management, the move to the Legal Holds module offers cost savings no matter which end of the spectrum they were on previously. Those switching from an underutilized e-discovery solution save the cost of a more expansive, and more expensive, solution than they needed. Similarly, legal departments that utilized manual methods no longer need to pay their staff to execute time-consuming administrative processes around legal holds and free those resources for higher-value work.

At every step of designing and developing the Legal Holds module, we conducted extensive checks with clients to ensure that the tool we were creating would meet both their expectations and our high standards of usability. The result is a solution that provides efficiency, data preservation, and visibility while mitigating risk and ensuring compliance.

To learn more, visit our Legal Holds page or talk to your Account Manager about your needs.

About The Author

Lee Matthews

Lee Matthews is the New Ventures Strategy Director at Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions, working directly with customers to understand their goals and bring to market new products that help them address their challenges. A member of the product management team, he leverages a blend of business development, technological, and legal expertise to expand the ways in which ELM Solutions engages with customers to help them achieve their organization's business goals.

Lee has been with ELM Solutions since 2009 and was previously a member of the professional services department, where he worked as a strategic consultant with clients. Prior to joining ELM, he was a private wealth advisor to high net worth individuals at Bear Stearns & Co. In addition, Lee is an adjunct professor at the Springfield College School of Health, Physical Education & Recreation. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University and his Juris Doctor degree at Western New England College School of...