Good RIM practices: A key ingredient for e-discovery

Good RIM practices: A key ingredient for e-discovery

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.

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    Sheila Taylor
  • Sheila Taylor is a well known consultant, educator, speaker and writer with more than 25 years of experience in the information management (IM) field.

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    Case in Point

    That's A Lot of Records!
    Often the requirement for a needs assessment is driven by a specific initiative being considered or an immediate problem to be solved, rather than a general desire to establish a corporate (or organization-wide) IM program. We had a client wanting to improve its management of a specific group of critical records – thousands of member files in paper, microform and digital formats containing hundreds of unique document types.
    Assess, Plan and Schedule
    Ergo reviewed the organization’s current practices for managing those records, compared those practices to best practices, and identified risks and areas for improvement. From there we developed a strategic plan with a focus on records storage and retention. The plan identified the operational, financial and technological requirements for implementing the recommended changes, improvements and enhancements in the lifecycle management of the member records. Activities in the plan were classified as short term (next 6-12 months), medium term (next 12-24 months) and longer term (next 25+ months).
    Step by Step Success
    Implementation of the strategic plan enabled this organization to ensure its member records are properly identified, organized, accessible, protected and retained as long as necessary to meet operational and other requirements.
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