Not all litigation hold notice templates are created equal.
A well-formulated litigation hold notice template, or legal hold template, will prove to be worth its weight in gold when legal teams find themselves in a pinch, needing to issue a hold notice. While it is not challenging to locate a sample litigation hold notice template on the web, it is another thing to find one that is current, battle-tested, and easily customizable to adhere to your organization’s needs.
Litigation holds will always vary in their complexity, size, and scope, depending on the matter at hand. However, all litigation hold notices share the common goal of communicating a message from the organization’s legal counsel to the appropriate employees, consultants and even third parties (generally referred to collectively as “recipients” and potential “custodians”).
Communicating preservation requirements to those potential custodians – people within and outside of the organization who may have relevant documents and data – is one of the most important aspects of issuing a litigation hold notice which is why a good litigation hold notice template is designed to ensure a clear and focused message.
Clear, concise messaging is key.
It’s also not uncommon to have different litigation hold notices for different business segments, employee groups and the like, where the messaging is tailored to those specific groups.
For example, you might have one template that’s designed for executives and another that’s designed for more general distribution. One litigation hold template may be specifically geared to your sales personnel while another is tailored to a specific type of claim. How you set up your templates, and how many different templates you have, will be guided by your business and general litigation portfolio.
There are also specific litigation hold notice templates that may be used with your Information Technology (IT) department that describes in detail the different computer and database systems that may need to be preserved for litigation purposes because those systems may contain information legally relevant to a particular incident or matter.
Regardless of the purpose, a clear and concise litigation hold notice should include the following:
- Who is the subject of the litigation hold?
- Why was the litigation hold issued?
- When did the litigation hold go into effect?
- What dates are covered by the litigation hold?
- What data should be preserved?
- Where should the data be preserved?
- How should the data be preserved?
- Who is the contact in the event of any questions?
An intelligible and consistent litigation hold template carries with it many benefits, especially compared to being otherwise unprepared and scrambling to start from scratch with each new litigation. It ensures consistency, increases your overall eDiscovery defensibility, and actually helps reduce your overall costs, since counsel will no longer need to waste hours creating a new process and notice with each new legal event.
Your legal team will also see an overall increase in custodian acknowledgments and compliance rates, as custodians themselves become familiar with a more standardized and expected process. The consistency and formatting that templates inherently provide create an understanding and acceptance backed by experience that otherwise would not exist. This benefit is especially real for custodians who are not accustomed to, or may be intimidated by, legal documents and thus need clear, user-friendly guidance through an otherwise unfamiliar process.
A litigation hold notice template backed by experience.
In our nearly two decades of eDiscovery experience and software solutions, BIA has helped our clients draft countless litigation hold notices and develop extensive template libraries for larger needs. We have also developed, maintained, and released a free sample litigation hold template that will help you issue a clear and concise litigation hold notice quickly and confidently.
Of course, this template is a recommendation and does not constitute legal advice. BIA recommends that you always consult legal counsel before enacting a legal notice, but our sample template is a good place to start.
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