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Océ Survey Shows Attorneys Still Grapple with Being Prepared for Legal Discovery

1 Oct, 2008

Océ Survey Shows Attorneys Still Grapple with Being Prepared for Legal Discovery

New York, NY (September 23, 2008) – Nearly two years after new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure took effect, a significant number of in-house attorneys (39 percent) consider their company not well prepared to comply with a legal discovery request. An even higher number of law firm attorneys (57 percent) agree that their clients are not well prepared to comply with a discovery request.

These and other key findings were spotlighted in a new survey report issued today by Océ Business Services, a leader in document process management and electronic discovery (eDiscovery) services. “The Discovery-Ready Enterprise II: Challenges and Opportunities on the Road to Litigation Preparedness” survey clarifies key challenges corporate and law firm attorneys are grappling with and offers recommendations on how to effectively meet the growing demands of legal discovery.

Not Well Prepared

Many companies are not well prepared to comply with legal discovery requests involving paper and electronic documents, according to the survey. Only seven percent of in-house attorneys surveyed declared that their company is well prepared. The survey report, however, does offer some good news in the fact that a number of organizations are seizing an opportunity by taking proactive steps to improve their preparedness. These steps include conducting a readiness analysis (49 percent), hiring employees with eDiscovery experience (29 percent) and hiring a consultant to help implement eDiscovery processes and technology.

Enterprises also face obstacles in deploying internal eDiscovery processes and technology. A significant number of in-house attorneys surveyed (42 percent) say that their company has not implemented internal eDiscovery processes or technology. Again, there is some positive news. Many companies that don’t have internal eDiscovery processes or technology in place plan to change this scenario. A majority of corporate attorneys (63 percent) indicate their company plans to establish internal processes or technology in the next six to 12 months.

A Major Obstacle

Records management represents a major obstacle to litigation preparedness for many companies. Almost half of corporate counsel respondents (46 percent) say their company does not have a fully implemented records program. This contrasts with law firm attorneys, the vast majority of whom (82 percent) believe it is important for their clients to have a records management program to be well prepared for discovery.

Some organizations are getting the message about the importance of records management. Of the attorneys indicating that their company does not have a fully-implemented records program, a strong majority (75 percent) say that their organization plans to implement one within the next year.

Key Strategy Shift

“The survey shows that implementing records management programs and establishing internal eDiscovery capabilities are critical steps to take on the road to litigation readiness,” said Doug Bean, vice president and general manager for Océ Business Services’ Records, Compliance and Legal Solutions (RCLS) division. “Being discovery-ready also incorporates another key strategy, which is to shift from a largely reactive response to taking action to achieve superior improvements in discovery preparedness.”

To accomplish this shift, organizations are implementing a variety of new methodologies including Océ Business Services’ Unified eDiscovery Platform, which recognizes the interconnectivity of records, paper and electronic discovery, and compliance processes. Océ Business Services’ RCLS division was recently ranked as a top provider of eDiscovery services by the prestigious 2008 Socha-Gelbmann Survey.

Survey Respondents

A total of 128 legal professionals highly experienced in legal discovery and records management took the “Discovery-Ready Enterprise II” online survey. The respondents consisted of 47 percent corporate counsel and legal/IT department staff and 53 percent law firm attorneys and litigation/IT support staff. Among the corporate respondents, 55 percent have annual sales of over $100 million. Among law firm respondents, 53 percent have more than 100 attorneys in their firm.

The full survey report is available at www.obs-innovation.com.

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