TORONTO -- Three months after changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) went into effect, the vast majority of businesses are still not confident they are prepared to meet the new requirements. According to survey results released today, 94 per cent of those people responsible for email policy do not feel their organization is fully prepared to meet FRCP requirements. Even more surprisingly, only 38 per cent of those respondents say they are familiar with the changes, which require all companies to know exactly where their electronic documents are stored and to be prepared to make corporate email available to the court in case of a lawsuit.
"We're seeing companies of all sizes struggle with the challenges of FRCP and eDiscovery. The recent case between AMD and Intel is a great example of how even the most technologically advanced companies are having a hard time enforcing their policies and implementing legal holds for email," said Eric Goodwin, CEO, Fortiva. "After seeing the results of the survey, we realize there is still a significant need for resources that businesses can use to help meet FRCP - whether that's help with the policy, or help implementing the policy."
The survey, which was conducted during the last week of February, found that almost half of the respondents (45.9 per cent) have no retention policy for email, an important step in meeting FRCP rules. In addition, only 8.4 per cent of respondents have met one of the most critical requirements outlined by the FRCP amendments: putting a litigation hold procedure in place. While 10 per cent of respondents have made changes to the policy to meet FRCP, over 20 per cent are still in the planning stage, and 36 per cent were not sure if changes were planned.
"The challenge of understanding and implementing the new FRCP requirements has caused a great deal of concern among corporate legal counsel, partly because meeting that challenge requires cooperation between different departments - including IT, records management, legal and the business units - to make it happen. These survey results indicate that many businesses are clearly still struggling to meet the requirements," said Arthur L. Smith, a member of the Dispute Resolution Practice Group at Husch & Eppenberger in St. Louis and an expert on issues relating to electronic discovery. "Having a sound records management policy and system in place are the important first steps towards meeting the e-discovery challenge posed by the FRCP amendments. Organizations that have not yet started this process should make it a priority or face leaving themselves open to significant risks."