Survey: Companies not prepared for ediscovery rules


But most corporations aren't that well prepared, which Bace blames primarily on corporations' general counsel. The changes are to rules that haven't been modified since 1994, and many corporations' general counsel were simply not aware of them, his research indicates.

This is despite the fact that a number of legal organizations have held numerous seminars over the past few months to inform counsels of the new rules. For example, Fios Inc., in Portland, Ore., said it had held 15 seminars serving more than 1,000 people, in addition to free webcasts.

Corporations' general counsel should have acknowledged the new rules and had a conversation with the CIO about whether the organization was prepared, Bace said. As with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, IT has to be involved from the beginning to ensure it can produce the records the rules require, he said.

A similar survey performed in May and June by AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management, based in Silver Spring, Md, described its concern about electronic discovery as a key driver in implementing email management, with 25 percent of those surveyed indicating they had had to respond at least once during the past year to an ediscovery request, and that in organizations with more than 1,000 employees, more than 21 percent reported more than 10 instances during the past year in which email was tapped during ediscovery or during an internal investigation.

The most important preparation organizations can perform now are, first, take the steps required to be able to tell a judge what discoverable information the organization can provide and, second, develop document retention policies and content management procedures to help protect the organization in case documents get lost, Bace said.