Need Help Taming the Data Deluge? Start the “CLOCX”
When it comes to eDiscovery in the litigation, investigation, or subpoena response context, there are many stakeholders – some of whom have, at least in the beginning, conflicting reactions to the discovery of electronically stored information (or “ESI”).
On the one hand, all of us who have had the privilege to counsel corporate clients have heard the following at one time or another: “I’m in the business of building widgets, not in the business of conducting discovery.” Individual employees – the “content creators” behind the modern deluge of ESI – sometimes say: “This is quite the bother – don’t you know I have a day job?”
On the other hand, outside counsel and the third party service providers who serve as their agents often have initial incentives both to preserve and – in appropriate circumstances – collect ESI broadly. The legal and ethical stakes are high for getting such preservation and collection wrong.
In response to this tension, my good friend and colleague Dan Regard – the co-founder and CEO of iDiscovery Solutions headquartered in Washington, DC – threw out one of the simplest, but most helpful, acronyms of the forum. It elegantly helps to address the concerns of the stakeholders mentioned above, while also helping tame (at least in part) the data deluge facing litigants and others today.
To assist with the identification, preservation, and collection of potentially relevant ESI and other materials, clients of all sizes are urged to remember the “CLOCX” model.
- C: Retain fewer copies of documents – consistent with appropriate document retention policies and schedules, document hold notices, and pending or reasonably anticipated litigation or investigations. Having an up-to-date and enforced information governance plan is an excellent first step toward this goal.
- L: Provide fewer locations where documents may be stored. Not only is this good for the inside and outside counsel charged with document preservation and collection, it should also be welcomed by an organization’s IT department.
- O: Provide fewer options of how to store documents in approved locations. For example, does everyone really need the ability to access all areas of a shared network drive? And should any file types be stored there, or perhaps only those records that have been converted to an approved and standardized format?
- C: Provide fewer configurations for use by employees. If employees really need to instant message with one another, for example, invest in a corporate standard platform that will allow them to do their work, but which can also be centrally managed for preservation and discovery purposes. Otherwise, employees may spin up “shadow IT” systems that operate under the radar – exposing clients to both discovery and potential security risks.
- X: Provide no exceptions on a person-by-person basis. Often it’s precisely those people who feel entitled to exceptions – such as C-suite officers – who are most important to treat consistently within a comprehensive information governance plan. Lawyers and IT professionals both love consistency – and perhaps most importantly, so do judges.
Will going on the “CLOCX” solve all of an organization’s eDiscovery and ESI pain points? Of course not. But organizations should be pleasantly surprised at how much easier consistent application of the points above will make their ESI identification, preservation, and collection duties.
 To foster candid and free flowing dialogue, TGCI operates under the Chatham House Rule. Attribution to Mr. Regard of the CLOCX acronym and insight is made with his express permission.
Contact Chris to learn more about the CLOCX method and how Level 2 Legal's collaboration with iDiscovery Solutions provides clients with comprehensive document identification, preservation, collection, processing, and managed review services.