The first thing a company should do if they are facing a potentially high risk litigation which threatens the existence of the company is approach an attorney who has the experience in this area to be able to guide them through it. It is important to do that as soon as possible. People need to start gathering the evidence that they are going to need to win this case, and to do so is not always easy in today's environment. It used to be that you had file cabinets where you could turn and have those documents copied and use them to proceed with your case. But, nowadays, so much of the evidence is electronic in nature, and it is dispersed throughout the company. Emails, text messages, letters, printscreens – everything could be important.
And so being able to put together all of that electronic evidence and select the relevant documents it is an important step to take to organize the case, and to do that as soon as possible and preserved that evidence is very important in those cases.
Documents may be critical to determining the outcome of the dispute. In due course documents will almost certainly have to be disclosed to the other side and to the court or tribunal. Here are the tips:
- issue a document preservation notice to ensure that all documents that may be relevant are preserved,
- explain to employees what disclosure obligations entail,
- suspend any routine document destruction policy,
- remember that potentially disclosable documents include hard copy papers but also electronic data of any type,
- involve the IT department, or an external forensic IT consultant, at an early stage.
It is also important to have a strategy as to how to approach the evidence and how to develop a whole thing into a story. We all like stories. The power of storytelling is great and very persuasive. We all enjoy a good story, whether it's a novel, a movie, or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us. Rather than go through a scattershot approach, it is good to know that your attorney has a strategy of how to proceed through that case, and it is important to develop that strategy as early as possible in the case.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.