The process of keeping legal holds organized can require tedious administration. This might include issuing new holds, following-up for compliance on existing holds, monitoring overlapping holds across multiple cases, and updating holds as custodians join or leave an organization.
These tasks are not individually difficult or time-consuming and can be done with ordinary office tools like spreadsheets. However, when taken together they can add up to a headache that sends many professionals looking for software assistance. If your company is shopping for legal hold software, which capabilities should you prioritize?
Identify Your Support Needs
When evaluating legal hold software solutions, it is helpful to begin by examining which communications you would like to automate. Look for packages that offer templates for email notifications and custodian questionnaires. Do you need to schedule reminders in advance across multiple cases, and will this software allow you to do that?
Part of a defensible legal hold process involves acknowledgement from custodians that they received the hold and understand it. In the event that a custodian does not send this acknowledgement, you may wish to respond proactively. Many legal hold tools offer tracking and reports to show which custodians have responded to which holds and when. This data can be examined from a variety of angles to show the overall status of legal holds and whether any noncompliance needs to be addressed.
Security and Audit Requirements
Because legal holds can involve personal information, security is vital and any potential software solutions must be scrutinized for which safety precautions they take. Some essential protections include end-to-end encryption, virus and malware detection, and two-factor authentication. Consult with your IT department for their thoughts throughout out the shopping process.
Depending on your organization’s specific needs, consider asking software providers whether they offer the ability to create audit trails. These can be an additional move towards defensibility by showing which steps you took to preserve data and when. An additional preservation consideration is whether the legal hold software itself can collect and upload data. This is a service some tools offer for in-place preservation, as well as linking to online data repositories such as social media or the cloud.
Is it Easy to Operate?
Finally, consider how user-friendly the software is for both your team and custodians. If the interface is clear and straightforward, it can ensure more people will use it. Another component of usability is whether the software company offers customer support or technical assistance should you require it in the near or distant future.
Whether you choose to implement legal hold software or not, ensure that your process is consistent and can be swiftly activated when litigation is anticipated. You can learn more about sending a defensible legal hold in our post on the topic.