Monday, July 09, 2007

E-Discovery: New Federal Rules Require A Proactive Strategy

Defining your requirements is key as the market for e-discovery technology gets crowded and confusing.

It's a perfect storm: the rapid-fire growth of digitized enterprise data, new regulatory requirements, and tough e-discovery readiness levels demanded by the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. No wonder Gartner estimates that by 2010, three of four large enterprise IT departments will employ dedicated legal or e-discovery specialists--few IT groups have experienced the level of interdisciplinary cooperation they'll need to stay afloat.

A proactive strategy involving your legal counsel and one or more e-discovery vendors is necessary to stay agile in the face of litigation. The good news is that there are a variety of products to help with this task. Many major data management players, including CA and EMC, have built or acquired e-discovery functionality. Specialized vendors' products range from document management tools to full-service systems.

Although not a surprise to industry watchers--the e-discovery amendments to the FRCP, the legal code governing the critical discovery phase of civil litigation in federal court, slogged through a five-year administrative process--IT pros and even some corporate counsel are scrambling to adjust. Vendors have been grooming their offerings, and we expect a flurry of merger and acquisition activity that began a few years ago to intensify as the market continues to double in size annually for at least the next two years.

The controversy surrounding the White House email system is sure to have a huge impact on federal records management practices as well as e-discovery.

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