In the Modern Age of Movie Making, everyone is striving for that next Oscar, or Film Festival Award… To reach that goal, you need a team… In this post, let me draw comparisons to the Movie Industry and the Roles involved and compare that to your Legal Litigation Preparedness Team…
The Directors, Executive Producers
In any production, the Direction of the Project comes from the Director and Executive Producer, so in the Legal space this would be coming from:
– The Plaintiff or Defendant… which typically includes Corporate Counsel and key business unit contacts. Key Business Unit Contacts typically are key people in the corporation that have an internal knowledge of the matter at hand For Example the President, Vice President, or a Project Manager, regardless they’ll be identified to you by your corporate general counsel. And they’ll vary from company to company.
– Legal Representation: which is typically the external law firm
In any production, the Actors are typically front and center, in our legal team, this would include:
Supporting Corporate Resources:
– Human Resources – They can provide you the corporate policies
– Information Technology – If there is an eDiscovery Component, this team will be critical to your understanding of the computer environment and potential scope of data available to you. They will provide you with Information on Backup Systems, and the Tape Retention Policies.
– Records Management – They can provide you with the Records Retention Policies; and the Records Classification Specifications.
Litigation Support Teams
– Corporate Resource
– External Counsel Resource
Project Manager / Case Managers
– Internal Corporate Resource
– Litigation Support Resource
– eDiscovery Vendor Resource
Specific to Project Managers / Case Managers: I would like to suggest that it is important that this role be of utmost importance as inevitably you will want to know what the Status is of various aspects of the legal matter. At a minimum you should ensure that any Vendor that you are working with provides a contact that will be your gateway to status updates and their issue resolution process during the time that you have them engaged.
The Special Effects Team
With Direction coming from the Corporate and External Counsel; The Actors are executing the script and strategies; There comes a time when some sort of Special Effect will be required… this would include:
– eDiscovery Consultant
– Technology Consultant
– Case-specific Legal Consultant
– Forensic Collection
– Data Restoration Service Providers
Legal Consultants are typically experts in a specific field or area of law, and can be engaged to help in addressing key issues or decisions that you may need to address as part of your legal matter.
Third Party Vendors play a critical role to providing specialized services that address specific tasks where there is Electronically Stored Information (ESI) involved. You will likely need to have one of these involved throughout your matter; whether it be for Processing and Producing Data; Collecting the Data; or just getting the data restored from the various Backup Media; these vendors will typically provide an important service that you will be relying upon for the rest of the matter.
Putting it all together
The key Point…. You can’t do it all by yourself, you need a team to assist. Only together can the Directors, Executive Producers, Actors and the Special Effects Team put the final product together.
After setting up this team and working successfully to the conclusion of any legal matter, you should strive to keep the team together, so that:
– You don’t have to re-invent the wheel – meaning that you should learn from what you and your team just did.
– Your Team Understands: the Data Universe; the Company Policies; a Litigation Hold Process; and a Data Collection Strategy.
From each legal matter that you team works on you should look to record any: Lessons Learned; Changes to the Policies, Processes or Overarching Strategies that you may have followed, so that you are prepared for the next time.