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Law Firms Face Storage Challenges

Email management, encryption, and FRCP figure highly on agenda of legal sector CIOs

NEW YORK -- Law firms face a major challenge juggling an ever-growing volume of emails while needing to retain critical data, according to CIOs and IT directors at a conference here this week.

At least one exec has already been forced to take drastic action. "We have attorneys out there that have never deleted an email -- it's killing us in drive space, it's killing us in backups," complained Neeraj Rajpal, CIO at New York-based Bryan Cave, during a panel discussion on IT best practices.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. "We're proposing a policy that says, after 60 days, we will delete the email unless you move it to a folder," said Rajpal. "I know that I will not be a popular figure."

Bryan Cave has little choice in this matter if it wants to keep its storage costs down. "In the last five years we have seen 60 percent growth," he explained, adding that email storage is expected to grow from 4 to 15 Tbytes over the next few years.

Email is a hot topic in the legal sector, and the technology has already proved crucial in some high-profile cases. (See A Fine Mess.) Morgan Stanley, for example, was famously slammed with a $15 million fine when it was unable to produce email evidence in court. (See Storage Goes to Law School.)

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