If you are anything like me the number of virtual meetings you have participated in has skyrocketed in the past two months! Not really surprising, but also this is being replicated around the world. Therefore, I found this article by Courtney Murphy from Clark Hill PLC very interesting. It looks at not only the risks being faced by companies using virtual meetings in the context of legal discovery, but also what actions can be taken and the types of cases likely to be significantly effected by this.
I would recommend reading the article in full, but what resonated with me was the need to look at this topic from two perspectives:
- Firstly, from an information governance perspective: looking to ensure you are managing the information and data being generated from virtual meetings and their associated technologies. This includes: setting appropriate firm-wide policies, establishing rules for use and recording, managing how data is being created and deciding what reports to run and retain. Getting this right can tremendously help going forward.
- Secondly, when in anticipated or active litigation: here, you must assess whether virtual meeting systems and data need to be included in any preservation processes. Any existing procedures should be maintained, any regular deletions or purges should be suspended and targeted data collections need to be undertaken - including reports detailing records and logs as well as recordings and specific data.
With the increased use of these technologies, it is better to be prepared and put procedures in place to ensure that they can be incorporated into any discovery process going forward - if they haven't been addressed already.
Considering these elements and risks proactively, when setting up retention policies, and retrospectively, when assessing a cause of action, will enable an attorney to give comprehensive advice. Videoconferencing tools and other remote collaboration applications have expanded their reach to professionals of all stripes in an astoundingly short amount of time. The (almost) overnight mainstreaming of these powerful tools has been a boon, allowing millions to maintain some semblance of their workday and workflow, but at the same time, is fertile ground for unintended consequences. Without advance planning and forethought, those consequences may play out in the legal discovery space, and they will not favor the unprepared.