Iowa patent and information technology lawyer Brett Trout recently completed his series of posts on the new federal rules concerning electronic discovery.  Brett and I also recently completed a podcast interview discussing the new electronic discovery rules.  I encourage you to check it out.  Brett has a lot of great information to share on the topic.

One way to prepare your business for the new electronic discovery rules is to have a solid document retention policy.  I found this helpful white paper from LexisNexis Applied Discovery regarding the elements of a good document retention policy.   Some of the key elements include:

  • A written document retention policy must be actively enforced and audited;
  • the policy should include the name of the custodian of the information;
  • the policy should list the types of servers and back up tapes used;
  • a lawyer needs to be familiar with the company’s IT system;
  • companies must educate employees about the policy and stress implications of not following it;
  • the policy must be easy to follow, periodically updated and state how often it will be updated;
  • the policy must address the different ways employees save information;
  • the policy should also address the litigation hold including email back up tapes.

I am interested in hearing from you if you have other document retention recommendations.  In the end, a solid document retention policy could help you avoid substantial sanctions and/or judgments for mismanaging or willfully destroying documents.