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Eugen Tarnow


Early Case Assessment and E-Discovery

Eugen Tarnow  November 1 2011 10:15:23 AM
Imagine for a moment that your organization is being sued. The lawsuit turns out to be frivolous, but the smoking-gun document proving that fact is buried in an email somewhere throughout the Lotus Notes datastore. Your organization could have had the suit thrown out but, because the company lawyers cannot get their hands on that email, they are forced to settle.

The above scenario illustrates two very important ideas for any organization that extensively uses Lotus Notes or any other email platform, early case assessment and e-discovery. The former, early case assessment, is somewhat self-explanatory. If an organization is involved in litigation, it should be aware of the facts of the case early on so that it can make the best decisions for itself, not for example settling a case that it could get thrown out. Early case assessment requires information, however, and that’s where e-discovery can come in. E-discovery is a variation of the legal process called “discovery,” which is when lawyers search for documents relevant to a case; E-discovery, as its name implies, is limited only to electronic documents like email. The organization described in the first paragraph could have used e-discovery as part of early case assessment to get the email it needed and avoid the sub-par outcome of having to unnecessarily settle. That exact scenario has happened to real companies, but it shouldn’t.

Now, I understand it is not easy for organizations to perform e-discovery. E-discovery can be so expensive and time-consuming that sometimes it’s impossible for organizations to get the documents they need, even to the point where they and their lawyers receive legal sanctions.  They can get help, though, with tools like ReduceMail Pro E-Discovery that allows individuals tasked with e-discovery to perform detailed searches, place holds on users, and a number of other functions. ReduceMail Pro E-Discovery, designed specifically for Lotus Notes, has the advantage of a user-friendly design that allows it to be used by the legal department with minimal training from IT. No organization, at least if it has Lotus Notes, has an excuse for bumbling e-discovery.

The legal requirements that organizations might face in this world brimming with electronic document are challenging, but they can met. Doing so requires investment, though. I urge organizations to realize that these investments are very worthwhile and play a vital role in keeping them clear of possibly expensive legal pitfalls.

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