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Lawyers Urge Doc Management

When it comes to the world of legality, the term "forensics" now applies as much to what's in your data center as it does to what's at a crime scene. Indeed, a small army of consultants, advisors, and lawyers is on the march to encourage enterprises to get their data organized.

In an online article on his firm's Website, Michael D. Gifford Esq., of Michigan's Howard & Howard Attorneys warns that new U.S. legislation regarding the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, approved by the Supreme Court this last April, are likely to catch a lot of enterprises off guard.

"The new rules address both discovery and preservation of evidence issues arising from the ever widening use of and reliance upon electronic data and data storage," Gifford writes in his article. "Absent Congressional intervention, the new provisions will become effective on December 1, 2006... Although not yet effective, businesses must start planning now to address the new requirements."

Apparently, the fine print of the latest iteration of the Federal Rules will allow courts to penalize companies that can't produce electronic proof in legal proceedings.

Another lawyer, trial attorney Stan Gibson of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro in Los Angeles has founded an entire practice on advising enterprises how to get their data sorted to avoid sanctions of the kind that Merrill Lynch faced when that firm couldn't produce email evidence a couple of years back. Services start at about $5,000.

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