Communications tab

Communications

Use communications primarily to inform individuals about their possible involvement in an anticipated legal hold, which requires their acknowledgment. You assign a communication type to a communication to distinguish between your communications when you send and report on emails. Legal Hold ships with the generic types: General Hold Notice, Alert Group, Release Notice, and Email Acknowledgement types.

If you want to schedule automatic reminders and escalations for communications, particularly when a custodian isn't responsive, you would schedule the automation from the communication details. If you need to send a release notice communication to an individual to notify them that they're no longer active on the hold, you'd create and send a release notice communication.

Communications are project-specific, meaning, you can't create a communication independent of a project.

Questionnaires

Use questionnaires to track responses from individuals about the project or hold. This helps the project manager and general counsel best determine how to manage the project as it progresses and whether or not certain people are integral to the project.

You can't send a questionnaire on its own; you must attach a questionnaire to a communication and then send the communication.

This page contains the following information:

See these related pages:

Communication types

Relativity Legal Hold projects include multiple communications that are sent through Relativity to custodians. These communications range from a general legal hold notice to a release notice. These communications have different purposes such as notifying a custodian about being added to a legal hold, answering questions regarding the hold, and being released from the hold. The recipients of the communications can be legal hold custodians, data stewards, executives, or legal team members.

Communications can be scheduled for automatic reminders and escalations, particularly when a custodian isn't responsive, you would schedule the automation from the communication details. For more information, see Legal Hold reminders.

General notice

The general notice is sent to active custodians in the project and describes the background, claims, and the position of the entity involved in the legal matter. It also includes a secure link to the custodian portal.

In the portal, custodians can acknowledge their participation in a hold, answer questionnaires, view all active projects they're associated with, and easily address any other outstanding tasks. For more information, see Custodian portal.

Relativity includes different templates to choose from when creating this communication. You can include merge fields and instructions tailored to your organizations.

Alert group

The alert group notice is sent to a pre-identified group of employees within an organization to notify that they are potentially involved in a legal hold. The alert groups may include human resources, legal, and IT or any group of individuals impacted by the custodian’s response to the question.

Their involvement, and the release of the alert communication, is based on custodians’ questionnaire responses. For example, if a response involves another individual or group in the alert group, the alert notice is sent. This communication is a custodian notification that includes a mention of future communications. For more information, see Questionnaires.

Email acknowledgement

The email acknowledgement lets a custodian acknowledge participation in the legal hold without having to visit the Custodian Portal. The acknowledgement via email includes an in-depth description of the legal hold and a link for the custodian to click to acknowledge that the legal hold has been received.

Release notice

The release notice is sent to a custodian when they are no longer needed in the legal hold. This is the final communication to a custodian and no further communications are sent from that legal hold project. The release notice states that the matter does not include any other pending legal holds that apply to the custodian, including any separate legal holds that may relate in any way to the same subject matter.

Creating a communication

You can use communications or notices to send hold notices, questionnaires, follow-up communications, or anything else you need to send to a custodian or group of specified custodians regarding their involvement in the project or hold.

To create a communication:

  1. From the Projects tab > Project console > Manage Project, click Create Communication.
    The Create New Communication dialog appears.
  2. Select one of the following options:

    • Communication Type - select a communication type. See Communication detail layout fields.
    • Create From:
      • Template - create a new communication using an existing template. Legal Hold only displays templates with the same type as the selected Communication Type. When creating a communication from a template, the following items carry over with the following pre-populated field information.
        • Name
        • Type
        • Description
        • Acknowledgment Required
        • Attachments
        • Questionnaire
        • Portal Content
        • Email Send As
        • Email Subject
        • Email Body
        • Automatic Reminders
        • Email Reminder Subject
        • Email Reminder Body
        • Automatic Escalations
        • Email Escalation Body
        • BCC Email Subject

        Note: Legal Hold respects secured template items, so not all template items may carry over, depending on the item-level permissions.

      • Blank Communication - create a new communication from scratch.
  3. Click Create.
  4. Complete the fields on the New Communication layout. See Communication detail layout fields.
  5. Click Save. The Communication details appears. See Communication details.
  6. (Optional) From the communication details, click Edit to update more communication detail fields. See Communication detail layout fields.
  7. Click Save. The new communication appears in the Project Details Communication tab.

Communication detail layout fields

The Create communication layout contains the following fields:

new communication fields

Detail tab

  • Name - the communication name.
  • Type - the communication type. Click Add to add a new type. Legal Hold ships with several generic communication types.
  • Send To for Approval - the admin that communications need to be approved by before they are sent to custodians. This only appears if you do not have approval permissions. For more information, see Projects.
  • Response Due Date - the communication response deadline. This value potentially updates the Past Due Communication value on the Custodians sub tab of the Project layout.
      Notes: Exceeding the Response Due Date on a communication doesn't trigger an alert such as a legal hold communication or email.
  • Description - (Optional) a communication description.
  • Save As Template - select checkbox to make this communication available as a template.
  • Project - the project to which the communication is associated.

Email tab

  • Send As - the specified email address you want the communication to be sent from. This feature allows you to send a communication on someone else's behalf. For example, a junior attorney may send the email, but may want the email to appear as coming from the general counsel.
  • Subject - the subject that appears in the email.
  • Body - the email body that appears in the communication. The [PortalLink] merge field is required if any of the following conditions are met:
    • Acknowledgement required is set to Yes.
    • There is any text in the Portal Detail.
    • There is a questionnaire included.
    • There is a linked attachment included.

See Using the editor window.

Portal Content tab

  • Acknowledgement Required - select checkbox to require an acknowledgement.
  • Is Legal Hold - Select Yes or No to visually indicate whether the communication is a Legal Hold from the Custodian portal. If this field is set to Yes, the Global Reminder is enabled.
  • Attachments - click to attach an existing file from the Attachment Library. See Attachments library.
  • Questionnaire - click to select an existing questionnaire from the Questionnaire Library. See Question types. Click Add to create a new questionnaire. See Creating a questionnaire.
  • Use Email Body for Portal Detail - select Yes or No to copy the email body to used as the portal content. If set to Yes, the HTML editor is removed and the content in the email body is duplicated as the portal content. If set to No, the HTML editor is available and the content in the editor is used in the custodian portal.
  • Portal Detail - portal content for this communication. See Using the editor window.

Reminder & Escalation tab

  • Reminder
    • Automatic Reminders - select Yes for Legal Hold to send automatic reminder emails to custodians that haven't yet acknowledged the communication or completed the associated questionnaire. Select No to disable automatic reminders.
    • Allotted Reminders - the number of reminders allowed for this communication.
    • Reminder Interval (in days) - the number of days between each reminder.
        Notes: The interval clock starts counting down from the time the communication was sent or from the last sent reminder time.
    • Reminder Subject - the subject that appears in the reminder email.
    • Reminder Body - the message that appears in the reminder email. See Using the editor window.
  • Escalation
    • Automatic Escalation - select Yes to indicate whether Legal Hold should send an escalated communication, typically to a custodian’s manager. Legal Hold sends the escalation email one iteration after the scheduled reminder ends. For example, if an automatic reminder is configured to send a total of two reminders every five days, the first automatic escalation would get sent on the 15th day, five days after the last reminder was sent. Select No to disable automatic escalations.
        Notes: When a manager isn't associated to a custodian, notifications will be sent to the legal hold project owner.
    • CC Recipients - sends an escalation to custodians that need to be included in addition to the custodian manager. Click the ellipsis button next to CC Recipients to send the escalation to multiple custodians.
    • Escalation Body - the message that appears in the email. See Using the editor window.

Summary BCC tab

The BCC tab allows you to send a customized email to any custodian or group in Legal Hold. The email includes the text you specify, a line break, the original communication that's sent to other people through non-BCC, and an attachment listing all the people the original communication was sent to.

Note: The Legal Hold BCC feature isn't a "true" BCC to all of the original emails, but rather a unique email that goes out once with the associated set of hold notices and consolidates the details from many emails into a single email.

  • BCC Recipients - the custodian that you want to send the BCC email to. See Legal Hold custodians.
  • BCC Subject - the subject that appears in the email.
  • BCC Body - the message that appears in the email. See Using the editor window.

Note: People you send BCC emails to aren't included in Legal Hold reports.

Using the editor window

Use the rich text editor window to compose portal content, emails, reminders and escalations, and BCC emails. The rich text editor provides support for hyperlinks, images, and tables, and is optimized for copying and pasting from Microsoft Word to customize your communications to custodians. You can customize text with the editor icons and utilize email merge fields to insert field values in Legal Hold. See Using the rich text editor.

text editor

Note: When adding embedded links in the text editor, you must prefix the links with http or https, otherwise the text editor treats the link as relative to the current page. For example, but "http://google.com" is a valid, absolute link and will render correctly as a rich text field.

Email merge fields

You can use email merge fields in the editor window to embed in a communication's subject line and body text, which translates into the corresponding Legal Hold field value upon sending. For example, if you type the merge field, [Communication.Name], using brackets, Legal Hold will translate that merge field to whatever value is in the Communication Name field in the Communication details tab.

One useful example for using merge fields is the Project.SubjectMatterStartDate. You can save this information in a project template so that you don't have to customize this information each time you create a project.

You can use email merge fields from the drop-down list in the editor window above the text to embed in a communication's subject line and body text, which translates into the corresponding Legal Hold field value upon sending. For example, the merge field Communication. Name would translate to whatever value is in the Communication Name field in the Communication details tab.

Each communication has its own list of merge fields. The merge fields in one communication can't be used in different types of communications. For example, adding a merge field from the Alert Notice communication list may not work in the Acknowledgement communication. Only use what's available in the Merge Fields drop-down menu.

merge fields

Email merge fields are case insensitive, so if typing the keyword, you can enter the same merge field in different ways:

  • [Custodian.FirstName]
  • [custodian.firstname]
  • [CUSTODIAN.FIRSTNAME]

Note: If you use a merge field that doesn't contain any content in the field value, the merged field displays as the merge field name in the communication. For example, the merge field displays in the communication as "Custodian.FirstName" instead of "Jane".

Note: As of the Legal Hold 3.3.1 release, the [ID] merge field is no longer supported. Also note that the [PHONE] merge field is now [PHONENUMBER] and the [CURRENTTITLE] merge field is now [JOBTITLE]. If you were using any of these merge fields in communications prior to upgrading, be sure to manually update or remove them.

Email merge fields list

Communication details

The Communication details page appears once you create a communication in Legal Hold. Access the communication details by clicking the communication from the communication tab in a project details page.

From here, you can view all details related to that communication. See Communication detail layout fields.

Communication console

Use the Communication console to take an action related to that communication. Buttons are shaded gray when the action is unavailable.

Send Communication

  • Select from All - use the custodian item picker to select which custodians on the project that Legal Hold should send the communication to. All of the custodians on the project will appear in the Unselected list in the item picker.
  • Select from Unsent - use the custodian item picker to select which custodians on the project that Legal Hold should send the unsent communication to. Only custodians that haven't received a communication will appear in the Unselected list in the item picker.
  • Submit for Approval - use the custodian item picker to select which communications on the project that should be submitted to the Send To for Approval user before being sent to custodians.

Preview

  • Send Preview - send a test email to a specified email addresses. Separate addresses with a comma.
  • Preview Portal - preview what the custodian will see in the Custodian portal. If there's a questionnaire attached to the communication, you can click To Questionnaire to preview and interact with the questionnaire that the custodian will see. Note that in preview mode, you can't submit any questionnaire responses that you might have selected during your preview.

    Click to expand image

    portal preview

    If previewing a questionnaire with a communication, you can click To Communication to return to the communication preview.

    Note: In order to use the Preview feature, the Communication Portal Content tab must have the following fields populated: Acknowledgement Required, Questionnaire, Portal Detail. See Communication detail layout fields.

Remind/Escalate

  • Remind - sends a reminder communication to the selected custodian or custodians. See Sending a reminder.
  • Escalate - escalates the communication to the selected custodian's manager. See Sending an escalation.
      Notes: When a manager isn't associated to a custodian, notifications will be sent to the legal hold project owner.

Acknowledge

Reports - run a project-specific report from this section. The report appears inline. See Report types for more information about each report. Note that you may not be able to view all reports depending on your permissions.

Sending a communication

To send a communication, use the buttons on the Communication console. See Communication console for notification options. To enable email notifications in Legal Hold, specific components are required. For more information, see Email notification specifications.

Note: Once you've sent a communication or questionnaire, you can't retract it. If necessary, a system admin can create and send a new communication or questionnaire.

Scheduling a communication

You can schedule email acknowledgement and general hold notice communications to be sent to a custodian or custodians. Scheduling a communication is done in the third step of the project wizard. To set a schedule, follow the steps in the third step of the project wizard. For more information, see Schedule.

Sending a reminder

You can send a reminder to a custodian using a specified reminder communication. Use reminders to prompt a custodian to acknowledge participation in a hold, or respond to a questionnaire if they're unresponsive.

You can also utilize the Global Reminder functionality to send periodic reminders to all active, on-hold custodians to review their hold obligations. See Hold Admin tab.

To send a reminder:

  1. Click Remind from the Communication console.
  2. Select a custodian or custodians from the list.
  3. Click Assign.
  4. Click Save. Reminders are sent to the selected custodians.

Scheduling an automatic reminder

You can schedule automatic reminders from the Reminder & Escalation tab.

To schedule an automatic reminder:

  1. Navigate to the specified Communication's detail page. See Communication detail layout fields.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. From the Reminder & Escalation tab, set the Automatic Reminders to Yes. Complete the following fields:

    schedule reminders

    • Allotted Reminders - the number of reminders allowed for this communication.
    • Reminder Interval (in days) - the number of days between each reminder.
        Notes: The interval clock starts counting down from the time the communication was sent or from the last sent reminder time.
  4. Click Save. Automatic reminders are sent to any individual on the project that haven't yet acknowledged the hold or completed the questionnaire.

Sending an escalation

You can send an escalation to a custodian's designated manager. See Legal Hold custodians. Use escalations when a custodian is non-responsive or to have the manager acknowledge participation on a hold or respond to a questionnaire on behalf of the custodian.

To send an escalation:

  1. Click Escalate from the Communication console.
  2. Select a custodian or custodians from the list.
      Notes: When a manager isn't associated to a custodian, notifications will be sent to the legal hold project owner.
  3. Click Assign.
  4. Click Save. Escalations are sent to the selected custodian's managers.

Scheduling an automatic escalation

You can schedule automatic escalation from the Reminder & Escalation tab.

To schedule an automatic escalation:

  1. Navigate to the specified Communication's detail page. See Communication detail layout fields.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. From the Reminder & Escalation tab, set the Automatic Reminders to Yes.
  4. Set the Automatic Escalation to Yes. Doing so sends the escalation email one iteration after the scheduled reminder ends. For example, if an automatic reminder is configured to send a total of two reminders every five days, the first automatic escalation would get sent on the 15th day, five days after the last reminder was sent.
  5. Click Save.

Approving a communication

If enabled in Legal Hold Settings, General Hold Notices or Email Acknowledgements need to be approved if created by users that don't have the Approve communications permission. See Legal Hold Settings for more information. They will have to send the communications to admins that have the approve communications permission. For more information, see Projects.

In the Communications tab within the project details, all communications within the project are listed with a status. The statuses are Approved, Approval pending, and Approval required. Only communications marked Approved can be sent out by users without approving communication permissions. The communication cannot be modified once it is approved.

When sending a communication and it needs to be approved, follow the steps below:

  1. Open up a communication.
  2. Enter the email address of the reviewer in the Send to for Approvals field.
  3. Create or update a communication.

    Note: During this time, the communication button to send out a communication is disabled.

  4. In the Communication console, click Submit for Approval.
  5. In the pop up dialogue, click Submit. Clicking submit sends the communication to the email address specified in the Send to for Approvals field.

Reviewing communications

Once the communication is submitted for approval, an email is sent to the approval user and the Approval Status is listed as Pending Approval in the Communications tab on the Projects Details page. For more information on being a user that can approve communications, see Projects.

When you receive the request for approval email, click the link within the email to open the document for review.

  1. Review the communication using the rich text editor. For more information, see Using the rich text editor.

    Note: Making updates to the content is optional. You can also add notes instead of revisions to send back for updates.

  2. Save the communication.
  3. Click either Approve or Send Back for Revisions.
    • If sent back for revisions, the communication will change to Approval Pending and the user updates the communication. Once the updates are made, the user will resubmit and the processes follows the same path.
    • If approved, an approval email is sent to the user that submitted the communication and the approval status is changed to Approve.

Once the communication is approved, the Send Communication button becomes available in the console and any user with communication permissions can use the custodian picker buttons. To send a communication, see Sending a communication. From the approval time moving forward, the communication can be sent out to whoever and whenever. Changes to the communication cannot be edited after it has been approved.

Acknowledging on behalf of a custodian

A custodian may be unable to acknowledge, or officially accept, their participation in a hold. For example, the custodian doesn't have an email address, the custodian interaction level has been set to Redirect, or they are no longer with the company. In these cases, the hold owner can acknowledge a custodian's participation on behalf of the custodian if necessary.

To acknowledge on behalf of a custodian:

  1. Click Acknowledge on Behalf in the Communication console.
  2. Select custodian(s) on the left side of the item picker.
  3. Click Select.
  4. Click Proceed.
  5. Enter a reason for your acknowledgment.
  6. Click Acknowledge.