Introduction to Legal Holds

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Everlaw’s legal holds tool allows you to send hold notices to custodians in your organization and create data preservations on those custodians in Microsoft 365.

Hold notices refer to the communications you send to non-silent custodians. With hold notices, you can schedule automatic renotification and escalation notices, send periodic reminders, and track custodian acknowledgement.

Data preservations refer to preservation-in-place hold objects created in external data sources, such as Microsoft 365. You can create data preservations on your custodians in Everlaw and track the statuses of those data preservations without ever having to leave the Everlaw platform.

When it comes time to collect documents from your custodians, you can easily connect your legal hold custodians to documents uploaded in your Everlaw database.

You can create as many hold notices and data preservations on as many custodians as you like with no limits imposed by Everlaw.

Legal holds are currently stored at the database level, so all legal holds within one database should be related to a single matter. Because legal holds are needed whenever users anticipate litigation, legal holds should be the first thing users create in their databases, long before any data is uploaded to the platform.

Legal holds permissions

In order to get started with legal holds, you’ll need to have legal holds database permissions. If you’re a database administrator, you can grant other users legal holds permissions alongside other database permissions when adding a new user or from the Database Settings page. Users with database admin permissions will necessarily be granted legal hold permissions (as well as upload and delete permissions).


Users with legal hold permissions can access the legal hold system from the Data Transfer icon in the navigation bar. Click on the icon and then select Legal Holds from the menu.


Legal holds overview

The legal holds page displays all the hold notices and data preservations in your database. This includes issued, drafted, and released hold notices, as well as drafted, pending, active, and released data preservations.

Hold notices and data preservations are intrinsically connected by being in the same database. When setting up a legal hold, you will need to create both a hold notice and a data preservation on the custodians relevant to the matter. If you want to create a silent hold on any custodians, simply include those custodians in the data preservation but not the hold notice.


Issued hold notice cards display the number of custodians who have acknowledged and who have yet to acknowledge their notices. Released hold notice cards display the total number of custodians who were ever issued the hold notice. All hold notice cards display the date that the hold was issued.

To learn more about creating and managing hold notices, visit Legal Holds: Hold Notices.

Data preservation cards display the date and keyword query (if any) associated with the preservation, the selected service (Microsoft 365) and data sources (Exchange mailbox and OneDrive site), and the date of creation. They also display the total number of custodians selected for the preservation, and the total numbers of errored, pending, active, and release custodians.

To learn more about creating and managing data preservations, visit Legal Holds: Data Preservations.

From this page, you can filter by hold notice or data preservation name, create a new hold notice or data preservation, delete draft holds, and view details for any object by clicking the "View" button on any card.

Next, on the Directory tab of the legal holds page, you can upload and store information about any person in your organization, even before they have been added to a hold object. 


You can view information about a particular custodian, including properties associated with that custodian, the hold notices and data preservations in the database on which that custodian is currently active, and documents belonging to that custodian, by opening the custodian side panel from within any legal holds object or from the Directory tab. The custodian side panel is described in more detail in the Legal Holds Directories article.


Release all holds

Although the process for releasing a data preservation or hold notice individually is described in their respective articles, you can also release all hold notices and data preservations in this database from the main legal holds page. To do so, select the "Release all" button at the top right of the page.


After clicking "Release all", a dialog showing a list of all data preservations and hold notices will appear. From there, you will have the option to draft a release notice to send to all non-silent custodians. Releasing will begin immediately after you complete the release all wizard.

Connecting legal holds custodians to uploaded documents

Finally, when uploading documents to the database, you can assign those documents to any custodian from any legal hold object. Those documents will then be associated with the selected legal hold custodian in the custodian side panel. Furthermore, once associated with documents, the legal hold custodian will also become a searchable custodian stored as document metadata in that database.

To assign documents to a legal hold custodian, first go to the Uploads tab and proceed with whatever native upload you like (either through a cloud connector or by uploading documents on your machine). During the Custodians step, you will be asked to assign custodians to your upload by selecting from a dropdown of existing custodians (or by typing in a new custodian name). All active and former legal hold custodians will show up in the custodian dropdown under the header "From Legal Holds".


Once the upload is complete, you can go to the Documents tab of your legal hold custodian's side panel to see all document sets associated with that custodian. Clicking on the topmost document set link in that tab will open a results table of all documents associated with that custodian.


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