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If You Wait Until Litigation Starts to Find Data Management Problems, You’re Toast

Synopsis Part 2:  If You Wait Until Litigation Starts to Find Data Management Problems, You’re Toast


Conducted October 25, 2007

By K.E.H. Polanski writing for



Kelly:  You’ve written a lot about the disconnect between retention policies as written by legal counsel and technology capability.  Can you explain why this drives you nuts?


Daniel:  Many technology vendors who are offering solutions for litigation support have really never had to make something work in a real environment.  Businesses looking to hire a vendor should first confirm that the vendor has real experience and knowledge of what is actually practical in IT.  Ask the vendor to demonstrate that it has rolled up its sleeves and understands, for example, how to get a Notes system to work with WebSphere and an archive technology.  And this is in the context of the whole complex networking, storage and information system that is going to be in place in practically any environment.


Then, there is the problem that the technology cannot usually support the legal policies as written, out-of-the-box.  There’s a lot of disconnect there, because the legal people don’t know what’s hard and what’s easy to accomplish with the technology.  So, there has to be some effort made to synchronize your policies and practices – and to do it worldwide across your whole company.  If you wait until litigation starts, it becomes an uphill battle to fix the systems while embroiled in litigation 


Kelly:   How do you educate the IT people on important legal concepts?


Daniel:  I use examples from Law & Order [popular television series].  Take chain of custody, for example.  People understand the drug room:  if someone gets into the drug room and tampers with the evidence, then they don’t have a case. 


Kelly:  How do you educate legal counsel on IT?


Daniel:  Rather than get into the detail of explaining specific IT programs and processes, we advise legal counsel instead to get some help from the right team of experts who are experienced in synchronizing policies and practices.  That’s what we specialize in at CRA.  We have access to the preeminent experts in this area and we understand how the laws affect retention policies.  As a result, we can advise our clients on how to make practical choices that ensure different policies work within their IT platform.  The important part is that you’ve got to connect the policy to IT in a way that makes business sense – so that you can bring down your overall cost of IT.

Part 1 of’s interview with Daniel Garrie appeared on November 5th, 2007.  If you would like to communicate directly with Mr. Garrie, he can be reached at: publishes weekly interviews with legal professionals; click here for more eDiscovery interviews or sign up for the feed.


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