A litigation hold is a directive from a body of law or authority to preserve certain documents matching a certain criterion, due to a pending investigation. Lawyers will get letters which state a “Litigation Hold Letter” or “Litigation Hold Notice,” both of which mean the same thing. However, you should also make your IT personnel aware that they must preserve certain documents
Sometimes some events should trigger an instinct to preserve documents. Even before the lawyer sends a request to hold certain documents, if there is the word of a lawsuit or pending litigation, advise your technical department to immediately put litigation holds on the people you suspect are involved.
You, the lawyer, and anyone else associated with the pending legal proceedings are all liable for sanctions if there are any delays on the part of preserving evidence. If due to a delay, key evidence is no longer available, everyone concerned is liable to sanctions and even charges like contempt of court. An important point to note is that the technology that powers email, document storage, and communications should allow indefinite holds.
Do not just put holds on emails. Consider the scope of the request to include all data within the time frame in the letter. This could mean everything from data storage, travel data, and even printed documents that the person in question submits to other departments.