Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2011-07-27 15:31:53  It seemed like every single presentation I was in at the Carmel Valley eDiscovery Retreat last week contained the term “reasonable.”  Most speakers, myself included, had to position responses to questions as “do what is reasonable for your organization.”  As a consultant, it feels like a cop-out to say something like that because it’s essentially saying, “it depends,” and that’s just such a typical consultant thing to say.  Reasonableness, though, truly does depend.  It depends on the organization and it depends on the matter.Luckily, the retreat featured some great speakers who were able to define and defend what actually was reasonable for their organizations.  There was a common thread amongst those speakers – all had central authority for eDiscovery with codified policies and procedures.  In some organizations, the responsibility for executing on eDiscovery lay with Legal; in others, with IT.  But, the organizations doing it well have an empowered central figure that is able to work with both IT and Legal.Despite the success that some speakers reported, I did hear feedback from other attendees that caution is always warranted.  They argued that “reasonable” is always one court case away from being struck down.  There is a desire for the rules of eDiscovery to be more prescriptive in terms of what is reasonable.  It’s unlikely for that to happen any time soon, however.  The speakers at the conference had a “power through” attitude – their organizations had defined what was reasonable and were sticking to it.  It’s almost as if their Legal teams see it as their job to defend the standard of what they define as reasonable, come what may.Even listening to the most experienced eDiscovery professionals, it’s clear that there is room for much improvement.  There were folks at the conference that rule their organizations with strong personalities and spreadsheets.  While that approach can be a good band-aid, it won’t work for long in large enterprises.  Will courts agree that a single spreadsheet is a reasonable way to manage complex legal holds at $1 billion organizations?  I would think not given the advances in technology solutions that are hitting the market.  And so there is another challenge to determining reasonability – the constantly evolving standard.  What is reasonable for an organization today may not be reasonable in two years.  Each organization must be constantly defining and defending reasonable efforts.While I would love to be offering more concrete and pragmatic advice on what is truly reasonable, I can’t do it on a generic basis.  Each organization is truly unique.  We can report some generic findings – for example, many companies see email archiving as a reasonable effort for preserving and collecting emails.  But, that is in the abstract.  Organizations will need to be more granular in assessing capture mechanisms, storage media, and legal hold procedures within their email archiving efforts to defend what is reasonable for them.Defining what is reasonable is a challenging, but necessary step in making eDiscovery effective.  Take our poll below and help us gauge the state of the market – has your organization defined “reasonable” eDiscovery?[poll id=”10″]

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