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Monday, December 24, 2007

Mind the (E-Discovery) Gap

As we head into the new year, below are some enlightening FRCP trends on how organizations are choosing to deal with searching electronic documents.

One-fifth of companies surveyed admit that their business has opted to settle a lawsuit to avoid the cost of recovering and searching through electronic documents.

47% of respondents also admit being uncertain that their legal team can effectively review relevant e-mail in the 99-day window allowed under the law.

51% say they have implemented or are planning to implement search and review technology for e-mail.

37% are already enforcing a formal retention policy for e-mail, while another 40% are currently in the planning stage to enforce a formal policy.

Another 36% of respondents are currently planning to create and enforce a formal "litigation hold" process for e-mail and other data.

37% of respondents conduct more than 21 searches through old e-mail to gather information for legal reasons each year.

Nearly half of respondents (40%) report that their organization searches through e-mail five or more times each year in response to a formal legal discovery request.

35% are not confident that e-mails are fully reviewed to ensure attorney-client privilege is not waived before being sent to opposing counsel during discovery.

Of those who are familiar with the costs of litigation, more than half (51%) claimed the average cost of litigation (excluding settlement costs) was over $200,000, with 8% putting the average cost over $1 million.

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