eFileCabinet can be instrumental in “getting the left right,” a common reference to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). It all starts with information management. The key to managing Electronically Stored Information (ESI) properly is making it easy for all the users in an organization to comply with records policies. eFileCabinet integrates with most popular desktop and mobile platforms to fit seamlessly into the way your people work today.
Information Management for Legal Documents
Regulatory and legal risks are constantly increasing. In-house counsel are becoming more aware of their responsibilities toward their client organizations’ obligations for eDiscovery. Newer legal precedents demand that attorneys prepare their clients for litigation. Potentially responsive documents that might exist, but are not visible or readily accessible, (also known as “dark data”) are a huge risk. If a legal officer or investigator can’t find it, they can’t identify it. If they can’t identify it, then they can’t fulfill their professional obligation to preserve and produce it. The legal responsibility of properly caring for an organization’s business records begins with storing all of it properly. This is where information management comes in.
If an organization doesn’t have the right tools, counsel can’t be sure they’ve identified all of the crucial records. If the identification has gaps, you will risk not collecting and preserving (applying a litigation hold) to materially responsive evidence. If you can’t find all the evidence, you can’t ensure complete and precise processing, review, and analysis. Therefore, what you produce might be incomplete and subject you or your organization to risks of an inadequate defense or even the negative inference of spoliation (destruction of evidence).
Progressing in workflow from left to right, if the information—whether paper or electronic—is not managed properly, identifying what pieces might possibly be relevant to a particular matter becomes problematic. The more places one has to look for information, the greater the chance of error. Mistakes at this level mean an exculpatory piece of evidence could be overlooked, or an incriminating document might not be uncovered, leading to settling a case that could have been won, or fighting a losing battle with huge damage awards to the opposing side. In any event, the workload, risks of erroneous initial matter assessment, and concomitant expenses can greatly be reduced at the management and identification phases.
Proper information management in any organization usually starts with a file plan and a retention schedule. These two master policy guidelines, whether formalized and mature or ad-hoc, are used to classify and store business records. The file plan indicates what kind of documents exist and where they are stored. The retention schedule indicates how long they are to be kept. Corporate counsel generally prefer to have records automatically purged from the system when they reach the end of their statutory life.
Any organization should be retaining their records for as long as the business requirements and the law allows—and no longer. This is because the greater the number of records under management, the greater the workloads, costs, and risks throughout the EDRM cycle. But haphazardly deleting information without proper policies and procedures in place could expose the organization to allegations of impropriety or spoliation, even if—or especially if—there is an audit trail. Therefore, an automated records disposition process should be enabled by software like eFileCabinet, which allows the retention schedule to be enforced without manual intervention.
Making Proper Records Handling Easy with eFileCabinet
eFileCabinet is a very good tool for both the information management and identification functions. Ingestion is very easy for the record custodians, and through the support of extended metadata cataloging (profiles), proper classification and setting of appropriate retention periods is very simple. Physical file plans can be mirrored in eFileCabinet so that there is minimal modification to existing workflows. The search features are robust and allow for quick and accurate retrieval of records based on a rich set of criteria. Attorneys will appreciate the rich feature set of eFileCabinet when searching for specific record custodians, date ranges, and key words.