"Develop a strategy for information governance; establish rules for defensible deletion; prioritize data sets; and select best technology tools."
Mackay suggests creating a project management and oversight team.
"It should be comprised of senior-level management, with representatives from IT," she notes. "Outside specialists, including consultants and e-discovery providers, can complement these teams by offering specific expertise."
She also recommends creating a culture of information governance.
"The law office should establish a comprehensive structure that supports all of its data along with processes and roles that outline how data will be handled."
"Within such a structure, data can thrive as an asset rather than a liability." The structure, she says, should include a strategy for easily retrieving useful data, as well as data that has current business value, while avoiding a "keep everything" policy, which can actually make data a liability.
"Retaining information that has no big data potential threatens to turn big data into bad data, which merely increases risk," Mackay says.
For example, firms that stubbornly retain client electronically stored information gathered in e-discovery even after a lawsuit has been resolved are occasionally forced by subpoena to hand over that data.
"Not only does this needlessly divert firm resources into e-discovery sideshows," Mackay says, "it negatively impacts client information retention policies implemented to defensibly delete that data."
While many analytics tools are designed for use by lawyers with little or no technical experience, only the very largest law organizations should attempt to find, install and configure the necessary software without outside help.