Friday, October 23, 2009

ESI Trends Report

Kroll Ontrack Inc have released their 3rd Annual ESI Trends Report which makes for interesting reading.

Based on surveys undertaken across in-house counsel from both the US and UK, the major highlight of this year's report is the large chasm between the existence of corporate document retention and ESI discovery readiness policies.

Within the report, Kroll states that "While most organisations have a document retention policy, a much smaller number have an ESI discovery readiness strategy. This disparity suggests a failure to appreciate the difference between the two procedures as well as a false sense of security that the existence of a document
retention policy is comprehensive enough to protect an organization when litigation and/or regulation strikes."

The report has 15 high level findings (and yes, also contains some product and services sales talk from Kroll) which should cause alarm - even if the "fear, uncertainty and doubt" method of sales is stripped out of the equation.

In relation to document retention, the survey findings includes statistics such as 87% of US companies have a document retention policy, compared to 80% in the UK. In the US, IT professionals are most aware of their policy (88%); in the UK it is in-house legal advisers (83%).

Perhaps more frightening, when discussing ESI discovery approaches, the survey statistics are as follows. Only 46% of US and 41% of UK companies have a policy specific to ESI discovery readiness. A further 24% of companies in the US and 30% of companies in the UK do not know whether they have an ESI discovery readiness strategy or not.

Awareness of ESI discovery readiness policies is higher among IT professionals (51% in the US, 45% in the UK) than in-house legal advisers (39% in the US, 37% in the UK).

When it comes to Legal Hold, the statistics are even more alarming. Only 57% of US companies and 39% of UK companies report they have a mechanism in place to suspend their document retention policy. 21% of US companies and 24% of UK companies do not have a policy in place to suspend their document retention policy, and a further 22% of US companies and 37% of UK companies do not even know whether or not they have a policy in place! Ouch....

The full report can be accessed

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