'Document Retention' Shouldn't Just Be for Americans

'Document Retention' Shouldn't Just Be for Americans Vladislav Kochelaevs - Fotolia

Document-retention policies are imperative to data management and reducing the costs of document preservation and protection, according to Masahiro Tanabe of Foley & Lardner. But, he says, many non-U.S. companies don’t understand this.

“Except for truly global companies that have plenty of experience in U.S. litigation, many non-U.S. companies do not know how broad and burdensome the discovery process can be,” he says. They’re also not mindful of the obligation to preserve documents prelitigation and then don’t have defensible document-retention policies that will hold up in litigation here.

Tanabe uses the example of some Japanese companies he has worked with to illustrate this point. “Those companies usually have document retention policies that have been developed in the past in accordance with their home country standards,” he explains, and notes that even more detrimental than this, sometimes those policies are directly at odds with U.S. policies. “For example, it is not uncommon for each business department to have its own information system or its own encryption method,” he says. However, he’s seeing more and more foreign companies starting to convert, or thinking about converting, to a U.S.-style system.