Establish a Records Retention Schedule for Electronic Documents

by on July 8, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Know What The Records Retention Schedule Dictates For Destruction of Materials

Be prepared to discuss and educate counsel or IT on what has been considered a record for retention scheduling purposes versus all of the other information stored in your electronic system. So, if, you’re one of the more prepared companies, you have a records retention schedule that has a definition of what’s considered a record. What has been traditionally considered a record within your company?

So that when the record arrives, and somebody declares it as a record, everything else leading up to that point, would be considered a non-record. Now, the reason why this is important is because as determined by your records retention schedule, the record will have a set life cycle of say, anywhere from a year to 15 years, maybe some records will need to be retained indefinitely.

You don’t want to have to do that with the draft that led to the creation of that contract. You want to give those drafts a shorter retention as a non-record. So, non-records could be given a shorter records retention schedule of anywhere from a year to two years. And, then you can explain to the court, why it is that the non-records aren’t in your system.

It’s because you have systematic policy, where the people declare what the record is, the records are preserved in accordance with your statutory requirements or your business practices. And, then, everything else is, basically, purged from the system, as needed and dictated by your records retention schedule, to increase your capacity within the company. To increase your efficiency and also, to be able to show the judge that you didn’t destroy things on purpose as they pertained to this particular case.

Address access to potentially responsive information including cost estimates and tools needed. In other words, if, you got information that you know is contained in legacy systems and that it’s unique information that will have to be produced in discovery, then come up with estimates and tools that will be needed to decipher the information that’s contained in those legacy systems.

Again, legacy systems meaning systems that are now outdated where you no longer even have the technology within your systems to read what’s contained in those backup tapes. That would be an example of something that you need to be addressing.

Edited Remarks from “How to Bulletproof Your Data Storage Strategy: New Legal Rules for Electronic Discovery”

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