We just published the landmark Legal Hold and Data Preservation Benchmark Survey 2013. Conducted by the Steinberg Group LLC, the survey measured the prevailing attitudes of 525 professionals who currently oversee legal hold processes, making it the largest study of its kind focused specifically on how organizations are currently handling legal data preservation.

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Some key findings from the Legal Hold and Data Preservation Benchmark Survey 2013 are as follows:

  • More than half of survey participants still use manual processes for tracking litigation holds, five percent communicate litigation holds verbally, and one third now have a software system in place.
  • Despite the attention afforded sanction cases, only 22 percent of the survey participants have had to actually defend their preservation efforts.
  • 54 percent of respondents consider their organization to be “at risk” from legal holds.
  • When evaluating efforts to create a “culture of compliance” through training about data preservation, 70 percent of participants indicated that their organization offers training but less than half (47 percent) feel custodians understand their responsibilities.
  • When comparing their data preservation process to peer organizations, 62 percent indicated “better than most”; this figure jumped to 81 percent among respondents using an automated system.
  • When automating the legal holds process, organizations reported benefits that included increased efficiency, the propensity to issue holds, and satisfaction and confidence in their process.

By surveying the largest audience of legal professionals actively engaged in data preservation, the 2013 Benchmark Survey provides the clearest picture of legal hold process maturity to date. In general, the legal industry is still in an early phase of embracing litigation hold processes with a need for more defensible processes and better internal training. However, we clearly see those organizations that are investing in their preservation process report tangible benefits that reduce cost and mitigate risk.

We plan to continue to measure best practices in order to better understand the growing influence of case law and technology in this critical area of focus.

To download a complimentary copy of the Legal Hold and Data Preservation Benchmark Survey 2013, please visithttp://www3.legalholdpro.com/LegalHoldBenchmarkSurvey.html.