Updated: Jul 20, 2020
In-house legal teams are rarely at rest. In a litigious society, with highly regulated industries, and an ever more competitive business landscape, there is no shortage of risks, responsibilities, and research for general counsels and their staff to manage in the normal course of work.
That pervasively busy feeling can be draining—especially when the stakes are so high. Fortunately, simplifying and synchronizing workflows can help make these repetitive workflows less time consuming, more predictable, and better protected against human error.
Last year, we shared a few creative use cases our community has discovered for Relativity Legal Hold—a solution for issuing defensible and repeatable legal holds, improving legal teams’ ability to identify and preserve critical data.
Since then, we’ve identified a few more. Check out these ways you can make the most out of Relativity and Legal Hold by accomplishing more of your everyday work in the platform.
#1: Security & Ethics Acknowledgments
Whenever security, ethics, and related policies are updated—and at regular intervals—legal teams are required to collect employees’ acknowledgement of their companies’ current expectations and best practices.
For legal teams in companies with hundreds or thousands of employees, it becomes a struggle to track and report on these acknowledgments. Using spreadsheets, emails, and internal tickets to keep tabs on thousands of these records at once is cumbersome at best and error prone at worst.
Much like issuing a hold, legal teams can use Legal Hold to send policy notifications and requests for acknowledgement to all necessary employees at once—and store data about their responses in a single, well-organized repository. The platform also automatically reminds employees if they haven’t completed their acknowledgement and escalates communications to managers if needed.
This means organizations can easily track communications and report on responses—eliminating knowledge gaps and the potential for forgotten or misplaced acknowledgements. Housing security-related data in Legal Hold also allows legal teams to advise the business on adherence to certifying organizations’ standards (e.g., SOC-2 Type II, ISO 27001, and FedRAMP) and proactively assess risk and compliance.
As a bonus, Legal Hold provides a clearer picture of what devices or software are used to house business-related data, giving in-house teams a jumpstart on where to collect if litigation does occur.
#2: Privacy Regulation Compliance
New regulations around individual data privacy are emerging every year, each with its own unique jurisdictional requirements. Large organizations may fall under the regulatory oversight of multiple states or countries and need to keep track of their obligations to protect employees’ and customers’ personal data.
When litigation occurs, they need to use caution in how potentially relevant data is identified and collected in differing jurisdictions.
Legal Hold can be automated to offer tailored holds that seek to collect just the right amount of information, based not just on proportionality considerations, but what is legally permissible from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The solution also offers demonstrable compliance with GDPR requirements around obtaining consent from employees for data processing.
Using geotargeting to automate legal hold practices by jurisdiction allows teams to save time and avoid costly mistakes. With the right tool in place, in-house teams can mitigate risk around privacy violation and avoid significant fines. By identifying and holding only the absolutely necessary data permissible by jurisdiction, in-house teams minimize repercussions resulting from a data breach or improper handling of information.
#3: Employee Health and Sentiment Evaluations
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have been forced to reevaluate working environments and the implications new workplace settings may have on the safety of their staff. Technology and connectivity have enabled remote work for many, but as time goes on and some regions see success in flattening the curve, the option of returning to the office may be top-of-mind.
Of course, simply reopening physical offices as before isn’t an option. Instead, organizations need to understand employees’ desire and comfort level when it comes to working onsite again—as well as potential exposure threats. They need a robust tool that not only tracks and manages employee health and sentiment in real time, but is also HIPAA compliant to house this sensitive data.
Legal Hold can be used as a survey platform to monitor the degree of exposure or risk a workforce may face. Secure and easy to use, Legal Hold can leverage geotargeting to help teams tailor questions and offer more targeted surveys in compliance with local regulation.
They can also automatically escalate alerts to HR for any employees who are having health or personal challenges.
Thorough, regular surveying of employees can help teams understand and contain their exposure, resulting in a safer workforce, reduced liabilities, and a regular pulse on morale to guide supportive policies as work habits continue to change in light of an evolving global crisis. Teams can also rest assured that the sensitive information yielded by their responses is well protected against breaches, yielding greater peace of mind.
#4: Product Liability Inquiries
Product liability cases can pose significant challenges, particularly in industries that put tremendous resources into R&D and have much of their organizations’ value tied to a handful of products, such as pharma and life sciences. For these organizations, a product liability issue could quickly turn into a matter of operational viability.
It is paramount that risk is methodically evaluated and understood as soon as a hint of a matter like this emerges.
With Legal Hold, legal teams can perform a rapid, thorough, and defensible assessment of the claim, the claimant, and any other customers who might have been affected by a product in a way that could hold a company liable. This is done by issuing secure, trackable, and customizable email questionnaires which can be compiled to understand the nature and veracity of the claim through attestation workflows.
Utilizing Legal Hold for product liability inquiries allows organizations to quickly gain a more complete understanding of the risk they face. It will complement the investigation and help experts assess the likelihood of liability, the impact to the business, and guide strategy to remedy the claim.
Do More with Less
By finding more ways to work within the software you’ve already brought into your environment, you can make the most of your investments, shrink the learning curve for your teams as you implement new workflows, and ensure greater security and accessibility of legal projects of every kind.
Relativity is a platform that is open, opening up the opportunity to do far more with the software than even our own engineers can imagine. Legal Hold is one example of that extensibility—and it’s crafted to accommodate many workflows, too.
What creative ways have you discovered to get more done in Relativity? Let us know in the comments.
Barry O'Melia is a senior product manager at Relativity, where he guides the development of the platform's legal hold and collection features.