Setting E-mail Retention Policy at a Confusing Time in History
A colleague at Messaging Architects sent me this inquiry: "I have been doing research on legal issues impacting the government sector. More and More I read about how the Sedona Principles that came out from the Sedona Conference affects a judge's decision in a case. Is there anything you can share on the subject?" My reply:
The Sedona Conference's statements on e-records are indeed influential with judges (whether federal or state, whether Illinois or North Carolina) because they are thoughtfully conceived. In professional practice, the statements are most helpful when litigation is pending.
But how valuable are they to someone crafting an enterprise records policy before litigation? My humble view is The Sedona Guidelines: Best Practice Guidelines & Commentary for Managing Information & Records in the Electronic Age are not very helpful. The Guidelines are correct in everything they say. Still, they are vague, and they don't reflect a grasp of the big picture.
What is the big picture? The legal system is giving enterprises (corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, labor unions) incentive to be more generous in the retention of records like e-mail. I support that observation with posts like:
[In support of my big picture observation, more posts are coming.]
However, the Sedona Guidelines do not say anything as direct and insightful as "legal system is giving enterprises incentive to be more generous in the retention of records like e-mail."
The East Carolina University case study I posted recently provides a more practical road map for e-mail policy making than the Sedona Guidelines.