A recent blog post and supporting webinar provided advice to organizations struggling to implement effective preparedness in responding to data requests.  The article suggested methods to help resolve these challenges by strengthening the information management framework, establishing crisis teams, creating and auditing effective policies, generating accurate data maps and more.   While these steps will be helpful for any organization, the real world often poses challenges that hinder their complete adherence.   Small budgets, tight time constraints and communication lapses often conspire to make a proactive deployment all but impossible.


So how do real life teams handle these situations?  It is sometimes difficult to find readily available, realistic guides for non-experts from the triggering event to production.  This is particularly tricky because of many companies unwilling to disclose corporate policies and procedures (or lack thereof) lest they show their cards to opposing counsel. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to find this slideshow by Monica Crocker & Cathy Beil.  The issues they outline in E-Discovery in the Real World: Best Practices for Imperfect and Underfunded Organization back in 2009 are still relevant today for many organizations.

The slides effectively relay the fact that while best practices are all very well and good, they are rarely translated into real life.  The authors describe the chaos (e.g. ‘E-Discovery Process Steps – 1.  Triggering Event,  2. Freak Out’) that echo a myriad of scenarios we see here at Sherpa Software.  From experiences with new customers to those missteps that can be inferred from articles or judicial cases, the real life seldom resembles the ideals.  Happily, this presentation doesn’t just outline the issues, it suggests realistic methods of bridging the gap between reality and the best practice. Hint:  communication and prioritization are the keys to making progress.

Our friends at the eDJ Group also publish articles outlining real-world problems and possible solutions for various implementation issues.  This article on Legal Hold, for example, starts off with the common refrain “You want me to hold what?” and continues telling tales of a nine page, jargon-filled legal hold request that causes nightmares for any reasonable records manager.   Happily, the post also provides suggestions to mitigate these issues.

For the ultimate real world guide, check out Craig Ball’s post which cleverly provides a short, effective list of essential stops that must always be done, and those that must always be avoided. These steps will save time, money and stress for any type of data request. Numbers 3 (“Always test searches against representative samples of data”) and 4 (“Settle on forms of production before collection“) should be written in stone for anyone doing real world culling or production.

Keep an eye on this space for more challenges and solutions for performing eDiscovery when constrained by real life. [hs_action id=”4086″]