New rules go into place today regarding how companies' electronic records, including emails and instant messages, are handled by the legal system. Long story short (if anyone still says that): ALL electronic documents are subject to discovery and have to be provided as part of pre-trial prep.
These seemingly onerous regulations represent and ENORMOUS opporunity for Microsoft and the Microsoft Partner Community (of which I am a proud part). The new version of Exchange (the client/server email application which is running just about everywhere now), Vista, Live Communication Server (the internal instant messaging application which really hasn't managed to get much traction yet), and Office are all tailor-made to help comply with the new directives.
The trick is, as always, planning, configuration of the tools, and training for both IT pros and end users. And that's where your friendly, neighborhood Microsoft partner come in. Folks in my line of work specialize in exactly those tasks. The good ones in the Partner world (and there are lots of good ones, but many charlatans too) have proven methods for helping businesses plan for and implement what they really want and need. Partners should, and by-and-large do, provide expertise in both the requirements of the new rules, the capabilities of the software tools, and an experience-based body of knowledge which will speed an implementation and greatly enhance it's chances of success.
If this sounds like an advert for certain Microsoft Partners, so be it. The point here is businesses have new rules they must comply with. There's a group of extraordinarily smart people out there who stand by ready to help.