Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2013

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 35 of 111

Work In the Technology Like most large firms, we run a document management system (DMS), and this plays an important part in our data management strategy. In our organization, we've determined that we will use a matter-centric approach in our DMS. This decision allows us to make document management the repository for records. We've also expanded document management to handle numerous document types, not just traditional documents. With this expansion, email messages now go into the DMS. As you know, people are not always diligent about keeping their email inboxes cleaned up, but with this particular addition to the DMS, a limit on email messages was established safely. We now have the ability to control the amount of data in users' email accounts. Storing all documents in one place gives the additional benefit of trending and tracking data. Most important, it gives the users a place to store documents and gives IT a place to manage them. The major benefit of having almost all documents in the DMS is they can be controlled. While there are some documents that sit outside the DMS because the document or record resides in a specialized application, those are monitored and pruned as well. With the DMS being the application for records, our document retention policy is also easier to execute. Document retention policies are important to the e-discovery process and the firm's ability to produce relevant documents. When documents are all in one place, identifying documents related to certain matters, producing them and culling them — when appropriate — is simpler. To minimize the amount of old documents in the system, we have set up knowledge management and template systems to help the users. Our policy also accounts for documents that will never be destroyed, and we worked with our attorneys to identify the guidelines for those instances. Document Retention Policies A document retention policy is an excellent legal strategy that affords certain legal protections, when used properly. For example, when asked to produce a document that has been destroyed, you can point to the policy and confidently state, "We no longer have that document." Of course, you cannot destroy documents involved in current litigation or those you suspect might be under litigation in the foreseeable future. In addition, there are some documents that you can never destroy, so your policy must account for those as well. Peer to Peer 37

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