The second annual Conference on Preservation Excellence (PREX13) was held September 18-19 in Portland, Oregon. Attended by over 130 participants, the 2013 conference again drew praise by focusing on the importance of sound data preservation and best practices. The goal for PREX each year is to bring some of the best minds in e-discovery together to discuss the Aristotelian ideal of what litigation holds and data preservation can be, aspiring for excellence when it comes to preparing for and responding to a preservation obligation.
The impressive line-up of speakers included many of the top minds in e- discovery, including Hon. Ron Hedges, Michael Arkfeld, Craig Ball, Ariana Tadler, David Cohen, and many others. This year’s conference also saw the expansion of participation by federal court judges, including U.S. Magistrate Judges Paul Grewal (N.D.Cal.), Frank Maas (S.D.N.Y.), David Waxse (D. Kan.) and Craig Shaffer (D. Col.).
The two-day conference focused exclusively on data preservation and legal hold best practices. First-day sessions covered all aspects from creating, executing and ultimately defending a preservation plan. The afternoon also included topics on the proposed Federal Rules amendments and international considerations. On the second day, the agenda shifted to more proactive steps, including fostering a culture of compliance within our organizations, and exploring implications of emerging technologies like BYOD and social media. The conference then concluded with an in-depth “view from the bench” by our esteemed judicial panel.
Attendees came away with a wealth of practical tips and guidelines for improving their organization’s ability to respond to preservation obligations. A number of themes emerged
- Invest in and follow a process – have a reasoned and consistent process to follow when it comes to recognizing, responding to and managing a preservation obligation
- Document your actions – keep a record of your preservation response, including decisions made concerning trigger events, how you scope a hold, and actions taken to notify and follow-up with custodians
- Be transparent – look for opportunities to collaborate with opposing counsel, and be transparent when it comes to responding to spoliation (real or alleged)
- Invest in education and training – continuously train the people involved in responding to a preservation duty, including legal, IT, line of business executives and employees in order to foster a culture of compliance
We will be working on a more detailed recap of the discussions at the 2013 Conference on Preservation Excellence in order to share the valuable information with a broader audience.
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