Warner Norcross + Judd is the first and only law firm in Michigan to provide an integrated team approach to full life-cycle support for business data. We help companies proactively manage their data and reduce costs by leveraging technology.
Managing the massive amounts of paper documents, email and other electronic information that flow into and out of your organization every day may seem like a Herculean task. However, it doesn’t have to be. The document management specialists in our Data + Information Governance Practice Group can create a cost-effective and easy-to-follow policy for your company based on its location, size and type of industry.
Here’s why your company should have – and follow – a policy on the retention and deletion of information:
- Although storage costs are relatively low, the incredible increase in the volume of excess data that continues to be stored can lead to millions or even tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary storage costs.
- The costs of retaining unnecessary data are particularly high when your company is involved in litigation.
- Current estimates for eDiscovery costs range from $5,000 to $30,000 per gigabyte of data.
- Out of every 1,000 pages of information reviewed in eDiscovery, only one page gets entered as an exhibit in a court case.
- Unnecessary data retention is risky. Obsolete, incorrect or trivial information could be used against your company or misinterpreted by a litigant.
- Departments often disagree on what data should be retained. While some IT departments favor aggressive deletion, in-house counselors may over collect data because they cannot identify specific content.
- Unmanaged data becomes clutter. Clutter has a negative effect on productivity and, ultimately, on profit.
- Office workers spend an average of 182 hours each year – that’s 7.6 work days – looking for lost emails or other electronic files.
The key to an effective records information management (RIM) policy is pinpointing precisely when a document or other piece of information moves from essential to obsolete. Our attorneys understand the federal and state laws that govern records retention timelines and have more than a decade of experience proactively keeping our clients in compliance. Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, manufacturers, financial service providers and others turn to us for help in creating data management policies and schedules as well as training for employees.
We have developed a proprietary database of the thousands of applicable retention requirements, which allows us to quickly and accurately create a schedule specifically tailored for clients. Whatever your business, we can help you create and implement a RIM policy that will save money, ensure compliance and reduce risks and costs if litigation is an issue.
Defensible Data Disposition Solutions
We show clients how to reduce the amount of electronic data and hard copy documents through Defensible Disposition, the legal disposal of outdated and unnecessary data and documents not subject to a legal hold or other retention requirement. We are in a unique position to provide legal advice, spell out what and when data and documents may be disposed of, and defend these decisions in court if challenged. We are also committed to leading in the development and application of predictive coding and other advanced technological solutions to maximize cost savings from enforcement of defensible retention policies, while minimizing disruption to your business operations. As an example, in a recent engagement we assisted a client in reducing the amount of its excess electronic data resulting in savings of over $850,000 per year in maintenance and storage costs alone, in addition to millions of dollars in eDiscovery costs in the event of subsequent litigation.
Some of the most valuable advice we provide occurs before litigation or the opening of a government investigation. Our proactive litigation readiness services reduce the risks and costs associated with litigation, which may include an assessment of existing records management policies and practices, legal hold policies and procedures, data collection and compliance practices. In addition, we implement strategies to reduce discovery compliance costs and risks before litigation or a government investigation occurs.
Warner has assessed dozens of records management policies and practices and has managed hundreds of discovery-intensive litigation matters and government investigations. Our extensive experience with litigation readiness provides concrete guidance with real life examples of which strategies will work and which will likely fail. We also design and implement practical and defensible data preservation, collection and review plans without imposing an undue burden on our clients.
Compliance Audits and Risk Assessments
Data lifecycle management comprises the policies, processes, practices, services and tools used by an organization to manage data through every phase of its existence – from creation to destruction. Often those policies and practices are developed by different groups within an organization and, as a consequence, may be incomplete and/or inconsistent, resulting in unnecessary legal risks.
Our Data + Information Governance Practice Group includes legal, records management and IT experts who have extensive experience in every phase of the data lifecycle. We have performed numerous records management, discovery and data privacy/security audits for both small and large organizations. To be effective, we understand that the scope and methodology of the audit must be clear and the timing and budget must be appropriate. We welcome the opportunity to provide a cost-free consultation regarding the scope and budget for a compliance audit or risk assessment.