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Crafting the “Perfect” Legal Hold Notice, by Craig Ball, Ball In Your Court


When it comes to e-discovery, Craig Ball and his blog, Ball in Your Court, is one of my top resources. Some years ago, he posted “The Perfect Preservation Letter,” as a guide of what you would send to the opposing party to put them on notice of a litigation hold.

This document is similar and just as important – an internal notice or the kind of notice you would give to your client. The following is only a snippet of his post.

When it comes to deciding whether to send a preservation letter or notice, I would err on the side of caution. In the early stages of a case, you may not know whether the legal issue will become litigation. Not all disputes are litigated. But if you wait until it does, e-discovery may already be wiped or corrupted.

Some clients may balk at the scope and breadth of your preservation notice, which is why it Mr. Ball’s rules of thumb are so helpful. A reasonable precaution will be worth the effort. – CCE

[T[he inapparent distinction between a preservation letter and a preservation notice is that the latter is an internal communication better termed a legal hold directive.  You send a preservation letter to the other side.  The preservation notice is what a party furnishes to its own principals, employees, agents, contractors and anyone else aligned with the party giving the notice and obliged to preserve information in anticipation or initiation of litigation.  Clearly, we must find better terminology to distinguish the two than just “letter” and ‘notice.’

[I] drafted a list of ten elements I thought were essential components of whatever communication aspires to call itself the perfect preservation notice.