Protecting your practice digitally – litigation hold

Protecting your practice digitally – litigation hold

As uncomfortable as it often is to talk about problems that arise at work sometimes these problems are more severe than others and can lead to either the practice as a whole being sued by an individual or the company suing the individual. If emails are deleted from that person’s account this could have a severe effect on legal proceedings. However, this can be a sensitive subject so you may not want them knowing that this is of concern to you.


Microsoft’s ‘Litigation hold’ feature makes it possible to fail-safe all deleted emails from that account so nothing is lost that could be beneficial at a later date. The user can continue to delete their emails at their own will, but it won’t actually be deleted.


Litigation hold

‘Litigation hold’ essentially means nothing is ever deleted. It allows everything that is deleted to be recovered, making it possible for a particular document deleted by accident to be recovered.

Let us take a look at ‘Litigation hold’ and discover how to set one up to ensure you have a backup in case important emails are deleted.


Litigation hold – how to

  1. Within Outlook click on ‘admin’, and you will then be taken to the admin centre. From here click ‘Edit a user’.
  2. Once having picked your user, allow it to populate and scroll down to ‘mail settings’.
  3. Scroll down to where it says ‘Litigation hold’. It will be set to ‘off’ so click ‘edit’ and turn Litigation hold ‘on’.
  1. Once turned on a duration option is available – set how long you want the Litigation hold to be active for or just leave it blank if you don’t want a duration.

You will then be given the option to leave a note to allow the user whose email it is to know that there is a litigation hold on their account. You can also redirect them to a webpage if you wish. Then click ‘save’. Your Litigation hold is now active for the duration of the allotted time you chose.


There is one potential snag in that it can take up to 60 minutes for the hold to take effect, meaning that the user can delete emails for potentially the next 60 minutes, and they will not be saved. Luckily, Microsoft 365 does keep emails for up to 30 days so, even if they do try to purge it, it will still be available to you.


As awful as it can be to be in such a situation in your workplace, for legal purposes it can be invaluable to have a tool like Ligation hold in your arsenal in case the worst should happen. It can cover your back and allow you to have access to potentially invaluable evidence that otherwise would be inaccessible once deleted.


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