EIM Blog

Custodian Monitoring System

by Megan on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

EIM is happy to have Al Howe as our guest blogger.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have set an outline of what is expected of participants for anticipated and ongoing litigation.  ESI (Electronically Stored Information) is a major element in the process of litigation with specific requirements established.  The various tasks that must be completed are statutorily enforced and compliance is mandatory.  In order to comply with these requirements many participants in various states of litigation looked to vendors for the “Silver Bullet” answer for compliance.  These answers came at a cost however and continue to have major impact financially, technically and administratively on organizations.

That is not to say all those involved in litigation jumped on the “Silver Bullet” bandwagon.  After some examination of existing technology and staffing other solutions presented themselves.  The trade-off between a total technology with little to no administration system and utilization of existing technology combined with current staffing for administration may not seem as obvious as “Silver Bullet” vendors would lead you to believe.  The differentiation between purely administrative tasks and those of a truly technological nature must be examined.

In the fifty thousand foot overview of the main characters in the ESI collection process are Legal, HR and IT.  After many years of experience in the Legal and IT environments the examination of technical and administrative functions has been blurred in the pursuit of “hands off processing”, which has produced a plethora of costly solutions.

After examining various administrative tasks from the legal function, I set out to simplify and provide an efficient solution to tracking custodians requiring document preservation and documenting compliance to the stipulations contained within the required document preservation notices sent to them.  This record keeping function is labor intensive and is a true candidate for automation.

During the establishment of a custodian for a specific matter, the Custodian Monitoring System provides for the automated sending of DPN’s (Document Preservation Notices).  The system tracks the required replies from custodians and collects the “round trip” communication process providing for chain of custody documentation that custodians will comply.  With a mouse click, one can see who has not replied, and at the users request will send reminders asking custodians to reply to the initial DPN communication, along with the original DPN attached.  As custodians are added, notifications are sent to IT and HR informing them that this person is a custodian as of a specified date and that they should take the required steps to indicate this status within their systems and take appropriate technological actions.

There are many other small, efficient and easily implemented automation processes that can be introduced into the overall system that provides for compliance to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure outline that are far less costly than a “Silver Bullet” and provide the same results for a fraction of the cost.

For more information, please call Debra Parrish at (212) 413-8640 or visit Automated Alternatives

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