As it turns out, companies don't usually understand the importance of knowledge and document management, until they are legally required to find and hand over all documents. The process of ediscovery is usually complicated by the fact that companies don't know where their information lives. Or so says a recent study by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System.Turns out, many companies are still not in the habit of retaining and organizing their documents in a logical structure. In fact, it's so hard to uncover materials related to the legal cases that costs are rising as a result. Out of the 1,400 lawyers surveyed, 87% said that electronic discovery is too costly and driving up the price of litigation. This is not due to their lack of concern for the nature of the marketplace; it is more from a reactionary model as opposed to a proactive one. In most cases, online documents, emails, policies, procedures don't often live in a well-laid out, easy-to-find format. Companies are simply not prepared, when it comes to organizing and storing documents. The study also says that "without a proactive approach to retaining and organizing their electronic documentation, the company has just grown that litigation cost exponentially". Such a proactive approach involves the following: * Storage structure: Implement a formal and stringent document control system, so that costs to litigate can be diminished. * Searchability: Now that information has been organized sufficiently, make it searchable. Often determining your search terms can help with the organization of documents. Create an organized electronic database or a document retention platform with the ability to quickly search for items. Allowing lawyers to perform a detailed search using document criteria, metadata and content simply saves both parties money. * Retainability: Have a retention policy in place, which immediately executes "save everything". Once a company has been served, it must retain all documents related to the litigation. When considering an electronic document management system, one that meets your retention criteria is the best. These proactive initiatives will save you money should legal issues arise. They will also keep you and your company organized and up-to-date on policies and procedures. Good knowledge management has a funny way of keeping out of trouble.