It seems obvious, doesn’t it, that documents which have been retained to comply with a legal hold should be released once the reason for the hold goes away?
If the principle is easy, the practice is rather different, not least because those who manage these things are probably busy putting another hold into place. It is, in any event, not necessarily a simple task firstly to be clear that the litigation is no longer reasonably anticipated and secondly to be certain that documents are not subject to multiple holds – after all, document seen as important for one reason are more rather than less likely to be seen as important for another.
Keeping all the documents has its own downsides – not just matters of volume and administration, but to do with a future hold which may bite on documents which the company could properly have disposed of.
These and other subjects are explored in an article by Huron Legal called Release the Chokehold: The Importance of Discharging Legal Holds, part of Huron’s Eye on Discovery series.