SOURCE: PSS Systems, Inc.

October 11, 2006 07:50 ET

Looming Federal Rules Changes Prompt Corporations to Focus on Readiness and Adopt New Processes

PSS Systems' CEO Cautions Companies Against Delay, Provides Plan to Prepare

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 11, 2006 -- PSS Systems, the leader in legal holds and retention management solutions, has cautioned US companies against further delay in preparing for upcoming changes in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on discovery. The Rule revisions, scheduled to go into effect in December 2006, place a very early focus on retention practices and the preservation, disclosure, and collection of information. For companies without effective enterprise retention programs and robust legal holds processes, the new Rules can create significant legal risk and are likely to lead to a dramatic increase in litigation costs.

Deidre Paknad, CEO of PSS systems, says the company has developed a straightforward readiness plan that companies can use to prepare for the new Rules and to ensure transparent and consistent compliance with them. "The biggest pain point is the early discovery conference and the disclosure requirements because only a small number of corporate litigation departments today can readily describe their retention practices, can articulate all of the sources of data in the enterprise, or describe a robust preservation and discovery process," said Paknad. "This Readiness Plan was specifically designed to help companies develop and institute good processes and practices with the controls and transparency litigation needs to be credible and to reduce risk."

As companies prepare to comply with the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, they should consider these five areas of preparedness:

--  Legal Holds Process Review:   It's imperative to have a good legal
    holds process and to routinely issue legal holds when litigation is
    anticipated or known.  Companies should establish their threshold and
    communication strategy for anticipating litigation, using Zubulake V for
    guidance.  Other key process areas to establish or enhance include how
    often to send hold notices, using confirmations of compliance, the depth of
    the interview process, appropriate collection models and team members, re-
    usable collection plans and protocols, and the record keeping standards
    across the litigation staff.

--  Control and Transparency: The in-house attorney responsible for
    litigation should have immediate access to a current list of all legal
    holds, all custodians under a hold, and all active collections. Attorneys
    for each matter should have ready access to accurate information regarding
    all notices distributed for each matter, interviews conducted and findings,
    all evidence collected in the matter, and how and when it was collected.

--  Map of Data Sources:  Create a map that includes data sources and
    identify the individuals with stewardship for the repository or location
    and the individuals with stewardship for the content of the repository.
    This should include data sources and storage locations for active,
    inactive, and archived data as well as relevant disaster recovery and back
    up inventories and policies. In addition, companies should clearly note the
    business processes that generate the data, the business units with
    ownership, and the staff responsible on both the business and IT sides.
    Companies' Sarbanes Oxley internal controls review is an excellent source
    of information and the SOX project team is an excellent resource for this
    effort.  Develop processes to sustain the accuracy and completeness of the
    map over time.

--  Retention Program: Retention programs should be updated to address all
    records and information types across the enterprise from the traditional
    paper record storage programs in place in most companies today.  The modern
    program should enable efficient, effective preservation and enable
    companies to dispose of electronic information at the end of its
    lifecycle.   A critical element of this upgrade is the identification of
    records coordinators across the business, offices of record, and custodial
    systems in the business units and organizations -- the key linkages to
    discovery and preservation.

--  Communicate and Automate: Educate the executive team on the changes in
    Federal Rules and brief senior management on the importance of legal holds
    -- cite recent events as examples. Update your corporate ethics and
    governance training to include compliance with legal holds and retention
    policies. Systematize enterprise retention management across the business
    and synchronize the map of data sources with the retention rules;
    synchronize legal holds with the retention program so disposal is properly
    and immediately suspended when needed but can continue in the normal course
    of business otherwise.
    
The full Readiness Plan is available as an executive briefing and PSS Systems is offering a white paper with a detailed review of the implications for corporations. "Federal Rules -- Focus on Meet & Confer" is a special event exclusively for litigation executives on October 18th in New York and features speakers Tom Lahiff, assistant general counsel of Citigroup, Ralph Shalom, assistant general counsel of First Data Corp., and Cathy Muir, senior corporate counsel of Sprint Nextel. The white paper, executive briefing, and special event are accessible at www.pss-systems.com.

Atlas Suite

The Atlas Suite from PSS Systems is the only solution to provide a robust and automated legal holds process, the critical map of data custodianship, and an enterprise retention management framework that synchronizes these elements. Atlas LCC software automates legal holds and collections from scoping the key players, sending notices and reminders, to collecting the data. Atlas ERM software helps companies define, manage and administer retention programs across diverse business units and data repositories. Both modules come with access to the Atlas map -- a convenient, synchronized map of the organization, employees, and systems.

About PSS Systems

PSS Systems is the leading provider of legal holds and retention management solutions. The company's Atlas suite is the first and only solution that enables enterprises to synchronize retention, disposal, preservation, and production to reduce cost and risk.

PSS Systems customers include Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Babcock & Brown, Cap Gemini, and others. PSS Systems is a recognized leader on critical policy topics; it founded and sponsors the CGOC, an executive forum and professional community on practice issues related to retention and preservation. To assist its customers, the company has an ecosystem of legal experts including Hunton & Williams, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati and delivery experts such as Bearing Point, Navigant, and others.

PSS Systems is a privately held company based in Mountain View, California. For more information, please visit www.pss-systems.com.

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