Preservation of evidence is a critical element of litigation. The general preservation obligation arises from the common-law duty to avoid spoliation (loss or destruction) of relevant evidence so that it is available for use at trial.
Without evidence, there can be no proof, and thus, no litigation. Preservation of evidence is the precursor to ediscovery, and to all negotiations and court proceedings related to a particular matter. The duty to preserve evidence applies equally to both plaintiff and defendant. Fortunately, it doesn’t require perfection. It merely demands that litigants take reasonable steps to ensure that relevant information is not lost, modified, or destroyed before the matter is resolved.
Remote workforces go mainstream
Technological advancements have given modern workforces unprecedented flexibility. However, those capabilities get a little more complicated for in-house legal teams. Not only do their technological tools need to support a distributed workforce—whether those workers are located across a corporate campus or across the country from one another, or even across town as the reality of a remote workforce goes mainstream—they also need to meet defensibility requirements. That means they need built-in tools designed to help your organization demonstrate that it has taken steps to preserve evidence, notify custodians about anticipated litigation, send and monitor legal holds, and more.
Because organizations are producing exponentially higher volumes of data and a bigger variety of file types than ever, manual processing and culling techniques simply are not sustainable. The ability to automate processing and culling can help you save valuable time, drive down costs, and dramatically reduce the potential for human error.
The case for the cloud
Cloud-based systems ensure that your entire team has access to the tools they need, regardless of their physical location. In the past, many legal professionals have been hesitant to fully embrace cloud technology due to perceived risks. However, modern cloud-based systems incorporate robust security measures and certifications designed to protect your sensitive data and your organization. They also allow multiple authorized members of your legal team to access the data at the same time, rather than requiring each person to check files in and out individually. Finally, cloud-based systems allow you to complete more of your data processing and review in-house, minimizing the amount of data you have to send outside the organization for review by third-parties and reducing the risk of exposure to data breaches.
No matter where you’re currently located (even if you’re working from a laptop at your kitchen table), a cloud-based system is a reliable, accessible, and defensible addition to your preservation plan.