"Clawbacks," "Sneak-Peeks," and the "Retrieval Procedure" under the New Federal Rules
December 2006

Society is now inundated with information. Perhaps more accurately, we seem to be drowning in it. The digital revolution, combined with the exponential nature of networks, has caused businesses to contain from as much as one thousand to possibly as much as ten thousand times more information than they did fifteen years ago. This is a shock to the system. Executives, in-house counsel, and records managers are overwhelmed on how to store, organize, retrieve, and retire all this information in an appropriate “life cycle,” that complies with state, federal and international rules and regulations.

Almost all of this information is now contained in electronic records of untestable authenticity: e-mail messages, attachments, and hard-to-find “embedded” comments in files stored on servers, clients, laptops, thumb-drives, CDs, DVDs, home computers and back up media of various types. In addition, such electronically stored information migrates around from storage device to storage device, by the minute. It can be broadcast to and then rebroadcast by hundreds of thousands of recipients—all while piling up in storage, after being slightly edited along the way.

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