Many companies that face multiple litigation situations per year are implementing the new e-Discovery system to help digitize these auditing processes and that creates the proper legal flow of documents and communication. There is a lot of help that can come through this revolutionary program, but there are some important steps that need to happen before a company is ready to adopt this kind of system. This article will cover some of the most important things your organization will need to do in preparation for the implementation of e-Discovery.
Brush Up on Compliance Standards
One of the main reasons to invest in e-Discovery is to ensure that all tax and legal matters are handled in accordance with the set compliance standards. Even with the best tools in place, this will be hard to do without knowledge about the standards in question.
When the program is installed, it will be up to the HR department to get all the proper information input and to train all departments on the right way to use the program. Before any of this happens, the necessary personnel needs to be educated about the compliance standards in place.
Most companies mostly need to become more familiar about the tax standards, but it would be helpful for people in your company to also brush up on the compliance regulations for all the following areas as well:
- Litigation protocol: This is especially important in the legal world and for companies that tend to run into frequent legal issues.
- Worker’s Compensation codes: The legal responsibility for the workplace to comply with these standards is vital.
- Insurance policies: This applies to the policies offered by the company to the workers, and for the policies held by the company for equipment and facilities.
Familiarize Yourself with Legal Representatives
The departments that will be faced with handling these legal issues should take the time to become familiar with the legal staff who will be contacted when issues arise. Whether you have legal reps on staff or a firm on retention, it will be a helpful step for the HR and IT staff members to meet with these people.
Mike Chapple with Biz Tech is quoted as saying, “The most successful e-discovery programs are a collaboration between legal and IT staff. Each possesses domain-specific knowledge that is critical to successful e-Discovery. A strong relationship between the two will help IT understand the firm’s legal obligations and help legal understand the technical issues surrounding record preservation.”
If your legal and IT intensive staff members are not on the same page, then the implementation of e-Discovery will not work as well as you are hoping.
Create Appropriate Retention Processes
There tends to be a big battle between HR reps and IT staff members. IT staff like to get rid of excess information and data as soon as possible. They like clear airways and organized files; they get hives at the thought of needless files cluttering their magnificent e-Kingdom. They also want sensitive information removed as soon as possible to make it harder for identity theft to occur.
HR reps tend to be on the opposite side of the coin. Many in this industry have faced the nightmare of searching fruitlessly for a long lost document that would have settled a dispute or made a transition easier. To avoid a repeat of such frustrations, they tend to hold onto every little scrap of information just in case it becomes relevant again.
The experts at Legal Watch suggest checking up on the legal retention limits set by the law, and then automating the deletion of e-files based on this information. E-Discovery will securely store the sensitive information needed for legal purposes and can then officially delete them when the legal date arrives.
In order to put this helpful feature to good use, you will need to know beforehand what the proper dates are. This will require some research as well as some collaborative meetings between the HR, IT, and legal staff. A discussion on this topic can help set the best dates and will remove this task from any humans on stuff, thus removing the risk for human error as well.
Analyze Your Organization Maturity Rate
e-Discovery is a program that is meant to support mature organizations. The level of company maturity is determined by DocuLabs through the following important elements:
- Overall Program Strategy
- Governance and Operations
- Information Organization
- Process Design and Implementation
- Architecture and Technology
- Communications and Training
Take some time to review these facets of your organization, and look for any weaknesses. Work to fill in any gaps that you see so that you can fully benefit from the investment of the e-Discovery program. Putting in place the right staff and having the proper tech tools like Document Management Software (DMS) programs can be very helpful in bringing your company to the desired maturity level.