October 2003

Top 10 Risks During Electronic Evidence Discovery in Litigation

According to FTI Consulting (www.fticonsulting.com), a consulting firm with expertise on computer forensics issues, a majority of U.S. corporations have inadequate document-retention policies and will likely incur inflated legal costs when faced with the restoration and review of computer and e-mail files during electronic evidence discovery.

Electronic evidence discovery is a key component of most litigious or investigative proceedings, and organizations should expect it to be a pivotal issue during an investigative process. FTI sees a sharp disconnect between the capabilities of IT systems and the business and legal needs of an organization.

FTI noted 10 key document-retention issues that typically expose corporations to inflated litigation costs:

Proactive Steps

FTI said corporations can take proactive steps to avoid these problems before an investigation or litigation begins. They should start by instituting a comprehensive document-retention policy, which means clearing out unnecessary information in a responsible and legal manner and saving important information. Moreover, since most major corporations will face some type of litigation in the general course of business, consideration should also be given to an incident response plan that can be swiftly instituted once the litigation process begins. A well-crafted policy can save a corporation significant costs later on.

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