Essential Elements of a Preservation Plan

Preservation means more than “to keep in existence.” In eDiscovery, preservation actually goes a step further, requiring “it is kept in a perfect or unaltered condition.” This means the documents and any metadata attached must be kept in pristine condition. A strong preservation plan is critical for corporate legal teams. Having a formal plan allows teams to identify how decisions are made and what processes are necessary when a preservation obligation occurs.


But what are the essential elements of a preservation plan?


  1. Recognizing the Trigger Event: Evaluating a trigger event must be a fact-based inquiry
  2. Defining the Scope of Preservation: A reasonable scope for preservation efforts must be determined
  3. Taking Action to Preserve: Legal holds are required to be timely, have clear instructions on the actions that need to be taken, and include a method to confirm that data custodians receive the preservation notice and comply
  4. Monitoring the Hold: Teams must be able to track acknowledgments, distribute past-due notices, and send periodic reminders over the lifetime of the hold
  5. Releasing the Hold: Data does not need to be preserved indefinitely. An effective plan ends with releasing holds, resuming normal operation, and data destruction.


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