On May 31 2005, the US Supreme Court reversed Arthur
Andersen's post-Enron conviction for obstruction of justice.
The events leading to Andersen's prosecution fundamentally
reordered the world in which companies plan and defend their
document practices. In contrast, the reversal of the accounting
firm's conviction will have only limited impact on these
issues. Criminal prosecutions for obstruction of justice remain
rare, and the issues driving document management policies today
arise almost exclusively out of civil litigation. Nonetheless,
Arthur Andersen LLP v US lends support to continuing
efforts by lawyers for companies to proactively control
discovery exposure by anticipating and managing its contents
long before the first demand is made, and promises a safe
harbour for such retention programmes against criminal
prosecution and, by extension, civil sanctions.
Document preservation post-Enron The collapse of Enron in
2001 shook confidence in the US markets and ushered in an era
of increased scrutiny...