Records and information management (RIM) professionals know the many benefits of good RIM practices. They also know that benefits such as fast, efficient information retrieval and the on-time and secure disposition of valueless records are particularly important for organizations preparing for civil litigation.
The importance of good RIM practices to successful electronic discovery (e-discovery) in civil litigation is reinforced by the placement of ‘information management’ as the first stage in The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). In that model, ‘information management’ is defined as “Getting your electronic house in order to mitigate risk & expenses should e-discovery become an issue, from initial creation of electronically stored information through its final disposition.” In a nutshell, the EDRM prescribes the lifecycle management of electronic information as the driver for successful e-discovery.
I recently attended an ARMA Prince Edward Island Chapter seminar which reinforced the symbiotic relationship between good RIM practices and e-discovery. Entitled, “Litigation – One (Frustrating) Piece in the Lifecycle of Electronic Records”, the presentation reviewed the civil litigation process, discussed discovery and e-discovery, and talked about the need to manage privacy in civil litigation. The presenter was Kelly Friedman, a Toronto-based lawyer and Chair of the Sedona Canada Steering Committee responsible for creating forward-looking principles and best practice recommendations for lawyers, courts, businesses, and others who regularly confront e-discovery issues in Canada.
What I found particularly interesting was Ms. Friedman’s discussion of the lack of litigation readiness (i.e. the ability to meet basic discovery obligations efficiently and cost-effectively) in many organizations and the ways in which lawyers try to compensate for the lack of such readiness. Ms. Friedman also emphasized the importance of good RIM practices to litigation readiness by placing “a mature records management policy that is implemented with automation” as the first element in her ‘gold standard in litigation readiness’.
You can view Ms. Friedman’s presentation on the ARMA PEI Chapter website. Go to www.armapei.org and select ‘Thanks for a Successful Seminar’ in the ‘What’s New’ column on the right, or download the pdf directly from here.