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Internal Investigation Game Plan: A 10-Step Guide to Reliable and Defensible Electronic Records Review
By Chad Breckinridge
Frying pan or fire? From the perspective of many public corporations in
the United States, that seems to be the choice when it comes to internal
investigations — especially investigations that delve into e-mails,
Microsoft Word documents, and other electronic records. A company that
exercises lax oversight exposes itself to shareholder suits and,
possibly, criminal investigations. Enron, WorldCom, and the rest of the
accounting scandals that produced the Sarbanes-Oxley Act provide the
clearest examples of the “lax oversight” risk. On the other extreme, a
company that investigates with too much vigor runs the risk of violating
the privacy rights of employees and others swept up in the
While structuring an appropriate internal investigation poses a
daunting array of challenges, this article focuses on the preservation
and processing of electronic records. This is a key element of any
corporate investigation. Companies that handle it properly a
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