Introduction to legal holds

Table of Contents


Everlaw’s legal holds tool allows you to create and send hold notifications, schedule automatic renotification and escalation notices, track custodian acknowledgement, and connect holds and custodians to documents uploaded to the platform. You can send as many legal holds as you like to as many custodians as you like with no limits.

Legal holds are 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 admin permissions must also 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 in your database, including drafted, issued, and released holds. Issued holds display the number of custodians who have acknowledged and who have yet to acknowledge their holds, and released holds display the total number of custodians who were ever issued the hold.


From this page, you can filter by hold status or legal hold name, create a new legal hold, delete draft holds, and view tracking details for any issued hold.

Before creating a new hold, you’ll want to ensure that your database has the proper custodians. Head over to the Directory tab to view or add new custodians. The only required field for adding a custodian is email address.


You can add custodians one by one in the side panel or many at once using a CSV import. To edit or add to custodian information, open the side panel and click on the field you want to change. To learn more about importing custodians, visit the Legal hold custodians article linked here.

Once you’ve added your custodians, create a new hold notice from the Directory tab by selecting the custodians and clicking “Issue hold notice”, or from the Legal Holds tab by clicking “New hold notice”.


From there, you’ll be taken to a wizard where you can write your hold notice, set your auto-renotification and auto-escalation settings, send test emails, and add to or edit your custodian selection.


To learn more about the steps of the legal hold creation wizard, visit Creating your first hold.

After issuing your holds, you’ll be taken to the Custodians subtab, where you can see a tracking table with the status of each custodian on the hold. The “Hold status” column tells you if the custodian is under an issued (active) or released hold. For custodians under issued holds, the “Acknowledgement status” column displays their current acknowledgement status on the most recently issued version of the hold. The “Communication history” column records every event involving that custodian, including whenever a hold notice is issued, an escalation or renotification email is sent, an acknowledgement event has occurred, or a release event has occurred. 

You can export the information in this table by selecting custodians, then clicking the Export button that appears at the top of the table.


You can also view all events in chronological order by clicking on the Activity subtab. To learn more about tracking events, visit Tracking custodian responses.


You can edit your hold notice or hold settings and issue to more custodians by clicking the 3-dot menu at the top right of the hold. To learn more about editing and reissuing holds, visit Editing hold notices and settings.


To release all custodians from the hold, click the Release button at the top of the hold. To learn more about releasing holds, visit Releasing holds.


Finally, to connect documents on the platform to your hold, you’ll need to select the relevant legal hold and custodian during your native upload. The documents will automatically be displayed in the “Documents collected” column of the custodian table. 


To learn more about uploading documents and connecting them to legal holds, visit Connecting documents to legal holds.

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