IT & Legal: Can't We All Just Get Along? - InformationWeek

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2/5/2009
12:29 PM
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IT & Legal: Can't We All Just Get Along?

A new survey shows there's a long way to go before IT and legal make a good e-discovery team.

A new survey shows there's a long way to go before IT and legal make a good e-discovery team.IT and legal teams should be like a Nascar pit crew when it comes to e-discovery: fast, efficient, and well-integrated. Otherwise an e-discovery effort can easily crash.

But a new survey of senior IT managers shows a majority of organizations lack a well-oiled IT/legal team. For instance, 67% of respondents say IT and legal aren't working more closely this year than last year. And only 21% say e-discovery is a high priority.

That leads to problems when a junior attorney bursts into the data center with orders to drop everything and produce every e-mail for a dozen custodians from the years 2000 to 2003. In three weeks. He's not going to get a warm welcome.

Another area of concern is that only 29% of IT respondents say they understand the technical specifications of e-discovery products. But they aren't getting a lot of help from the general counsel's office on this front. Only 12% of IT thinks the legal team understands the technical specifications.

That makes it hard for IT, which is usually tasked with actually procuring discovery products, to make sure what they invest in will actually help.

This survey data mirrors an interview I did with an IT pro at a large energy company who's only job is to act as liaison with her legal department.

Did she have a close-knit relationship with the general counsel? In her words, it was more like the Grand Canyon.

Enterprise search software company Recommind surveyed 250 senior-level IT managers at organizations with an average size of 17,000 employees. The company also plans to survey the general counsels at large companies to get some perspective on their IT brethren. This could get ugly.

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