A Product Manager’s Journey To Solving the Legal Hold Problem
In the world of Legal Operations, when you mention the term “legal hold”, it has a way of invoking a fairly high level of stress and anxiety in those that need to actually execute one. Why?
First and foremost, it’s a very complex undertaking. Executing a legal hold means that you are obliged to preserve any and all potentially relevant records, data, and documents related to litigation, an audit, or an impending investigation.
Depending on the case, this could potentially involve thousands of documents (or more – even millions) and hundreds or even thousands of people. It doesn’t matter that the data or people might be scattered anywhere throughout the world; you have to demonstrate to the court that every “reasonable” effort was taken to ensure that everyone who could potentially be involved was contacted, and they understood and attested to the fact that none of their potentially relevant data should be deleted.
You can understand how this undertaking can get very complicated, very quickly, especially when you’re part of a large, even global company with multiple legal holds to wrangle at any one time.
Top this off with a touch of high pressure because there’s a lot riding on the competent execution of a legal hold. If it’s not executed to the court’s satisfaction, the results can be disastrous for the company, including fines, sanctions, and even losing the case (in cases where relevant data is deleted). For one illustration of how big those consequences can be, see the Volkswagen example at right.
Traditional or manual approaches to executing a competent and defensible legal hold are prone to human error, inaccuracy, and delay. Not to mention the exorbitant costs that can pile up in a hurry.
A Big Bill for Non-Compliance:
Volkswagen pled guilty in 2017 to charges it had attempted to deceive U.S. emissions regulators, resulting in $4.3 billion in penalties. One of the three counts? Obstruction of justice, owing to a legal hold that was bungled by in-house counsel.
The right time for the right legal hold software
This market problem demonstrated to me that there was a clear market need for a legal hold software solution that would make the end-to-end process of executing a legal hold simple, intuitive, comprehensive, and defensible. The market needed a product that would reduce the complexity, risks, and costs associated with legal holds.
That was the mission I began at the end of 2016, and it’s been an amazing journey along the way, leading up to the launch of Mitratech’s new LegalHold product. It’s every product manager’s dream to build and develop a product from scratch, and I was privileged enough to have that opportunity with LegalHold.
To make the dream even better was the fact that my team and I didn’t build this product in a vacuum. We worked directly and personally with over 40 of our Legal Operations clients. each with a sincere desire to collaborate and co-innovate with us. The goal? To create a legal hold software solution that was truly special and differentiated in the marketplace – one that was built in partnership with those who were actually in the trenches and had real-world experience and understanding of all the nuances of the legal hold process.
This kind of insight and feedback was worth its weight in gold, and frankly, I think it’s the secret sauce that differentiates LegalHold from any of the other legal hold products in the marketplace today.
We had working groups every three weeks together. For over two years we worked in this fashion and we collaborated on everything – storyboards, screens, buttons, flow, functionality, UX, and UI. I can’t tell you what a profound impact working in close partnership with our clients had on this product, and the fact that we worked together from day one was truly amazing. Everyone was completely invested in making this the best legal hold product on the market – bar none.
A totally modern SaaS-based offering
Our collective hard work and collaboration culminated in the launch of our new LegalHold product, which I proudly and confidently believe is the most intuitive, comprehensive, and feature-rich legal hold product on the market. It’s a totally modern SaaS-based offering which means users bypass all the setup and upgrade headaches associated with non-hosted solutions, and everyone gets the latest & greatest features and functionality without delay.
LegalHold also seamlessly integrates with our TeamConnect and eCounsel ELM solutions, which means you can access and track your entire legal hold management process from within your matter management console without having to log in to a separate application. If you have a different matter management solution, we also have open APIs available to use for integrations into those systems as well.
Speaking of integration? LegalHold also integrates with your HR system or Active Directory to make sure that the right people are getting the right notifications at the right time – every time.
I feel like I could go on forever telling you about all the features and functionality of LegalHold, and why it’s the perfect solution for executing flawless legal holds, but I won’t do that in this post. However, I will suggest that you check out our press release, or the product page or product brochure – or better yet, why not see a live demo of the product in action?