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A Very Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Evaluation of the Legal Hold Process

  • eDiscovery
  • 3 Mins

As many of us here in the United States gather at the Thanksgiving holiday dinner table with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and possibly our furry pets, the process for prepping, cooking, and serving dinner can be filled with anxiety and a bit of chaos with the hope that our efforts result in a joyous occasion.  In the Peanuts Charlie Brown Thanksgiving story, Snoopy manages the process to make an unplanned dinner for unexpected guests, which has some hiccups along the way. In the spirit of the season, we’re going to evaluate those hiccups as they relate to today’s legal hold landscape.  

Prep Is Key: 

Snoopy assembled a team of three for setting up a methodical process of toasting bread and spreading butter. The preparation of the bread dish runs very smoothly with each person understanding their role in the process with effective execution. Executing a legal hold preservation and notification is the first step to the eDiscovery process once there is a triggering event requiring such a hold. The need for a methodical, documented process is imperative whether it is a team of one executing the holds or a larger assembled team, recognizing that unlike Snoopy, your team will likely not include a bird named Woodstock. 

Evaluating and Using Technology: 

Technological advances also play a role in Snoopy’s dinner preparation from toasters to the use of a stove for popping popcorn. While the toaster for the bread preparation is completed without consternation, the popcorn is a different story as at one point, Snoopy becomes buried in the white kernels. Is this user-error, faulty technology or lack of a well-defined process? Regardless of the outcome of Snoopy’s root cause analysis, buyer beware is a shared theme in purchases.  

Like test-driving a vehicle prior to purchase, Snoopy probably would have benefitted by testing popping the popcorn on the stove prior to purchase. Or maybe even by looking at a purpose-built popcorn popper? Or a multi-function appliance that handles all the steps from identifying the corn to pop to presenting the popcorn to his guests, and even includes chairs for the guests to enjoy their popcorn.  Which option is the best? 

This question also rings true when it comes to legal hold technology. Is a manual process sufficient?  Should you buy a purpose-built tool?  What about the platforms that can do end-to-end eDiscovery

Snoopy may have realized then that another stove would have been better suited for him and his team’s process. Thankfully today, there are multiple legal hold technologies on the market unlike in years past. Prior to purchasing such technology, testing it out through a proof-of-concept process is a must to confirm that the technology will satisfy your objectives. 

An Integrated Solution: 

Many of the commercial off the shelf tools available today manage eDiscovery from end-to-end. Note, however, that nearly all of them started out with one piece of the eDiscovery process and expanded to span the entire lifecycle.  And, typically, that one piece is the highest functioning and most advanced part of the tool, and the others may do little more than “check the box”.  Before you make that investment, you should consider whether the all-in-one is the best fit versus bringing together the “best in breed” for each part of the end-to-end eDiscovery process.  Continuing to use Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving as an example, let’s look at how the Peanut’s gang pulled together and pulled it off. 

No one individual in the Peanuts gang could have managed to organize this impromptu feast on their own (at least not well). Instead, Linus, Charlie, Snoopy, and Woodstock all came together with their ideas and actions to ultimately bring together family and friends for a happy Thanksgiving. 


While we hope you enjoyed this Thanksgiving themed blog, if your organization finds itself in need of a defined legal hold process, legal hold technology, and/or a notification template, please invite your proverbial legal hold specialist to the table. We wish all of you a very pleasant legal hold process this Thanksgiving season. 

The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.

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