Business law

ILTACON 2023: You may have an information management policy in place, but it’s time to take the next step

Five law firm IG leaders took the stage at ILTACON to show how law firms can actually achieve proper governance beyond the standard record room — and it starts with some key conversations

Orlando, Florida – Increasingly, law firms of all sizes are beginning to come to terms Jobs their data and the importance of managing that data effectively. After all, according to the Thomson Reuters Institute 2023 Digital strategy report83% of companies say digital transformation is very important or central to their corporate strategy, and 54% currently have a digital strategy defined at the CEO level.

As a result, it is perhaps not surprising that many medium and large law firms now have dedicated information management (IG) policies. However, for many companies, the problem comes with taking the next step: What are we actually doing with our information governance policy to help guide the company?

session in ILTACON Annual Conference of the International Association for Legal Technology titled, You have an IG policy in place, now how do you manage compliance? Seemed to help answer this key question. The five law firms committee members, all of whom are members of a group known as the Law Firm Information Governance Symposium developed a report On the subject, he points out that while many companies may pay lip service to IG concepts, an effective program can take a lot of hard work.

“In my career, IG is sometimes not easy to achieve,” Isaacs, Senior Director of Information Governance at IG, told me. DLA Piper.

Achieving acceptance through communication

Jill Sterbakov, Information Governance Compliance Attorney Morgan, Lewis and BocchiusShe said she often gets asked how often a traditional records room can transform into a modern information management team. She estimates that “if you can secure the acceptance you need, and the resources you need, in a large company, it should take 3 to 5 years to develop an advanced program,” but with one caveat: it takes a whole company. in purchase.

“You need to sell before you can build,” Sterbakov added, noting that this doesn’t just mean going to general managers or managing partners for leadership input. “If you’re going into an organization and building an IG software, you really need to go to the coaching group leaders and sell to them.”

Isaacs agrees, noting that data professionals need to “understand company culture and policies so you really know where to start.” She said that being a good listener is an underrated key skill. “If you get into a situation where I’m going to come and tell you what medicine to take because it’s good for you, I might get some resistance to that,” she explained.

This means that all appropriate IG plans must include two-way communication and an appropriate information program about the company’s information management objectives. Karen Allen, Director of Information Governance Wiley RehnThis part is called “User Learning”. I try to avoid the word an exercise “Because when you say drill, people run and hide,” Allen said, adding that this education about proper IG etiquette should be built into every interaction. “It’s not a one-off and (or) once-a-year kind of thing.”

In fact, she explained, IG professionals in law firms should think outside the box about ways to implement this training. In one conversation, she indicated that she brought real bricks into the office to make a point about how cloud engineering works.

Sterbakov also added that the company’s internal calendar has become a friend of hers. “I can see that the L&E group in Philadelphia is meeting on March 3rd. So, I can go to the leader of the training group and say, ‘Can I have five minutes from this meeting?'”

technology and commitments

Moderator: Michele Gosmeyer, Global Director, Information, Risk and Compliance Management Denton, he noted that law firms can’t drive technology – it’s the people and processes that need to drive the use of technology. However, the panel agreed that technology is an important component of making sure the IG program runs smoothly.

Because of this, Allen said one of her most important relationships within the company is with the IT team, citing an example from her previous company of building a dashboard with IT staff to identify where data was located on employee computers. The dashboard allowed her to identify potential management issues, such as: “I have a large partner who has 40 GB of documents in my desktop and 12 documents in my DMS.”

Allen said this vision was only possible through technology and collaborative efforts with information technology. “They know where a lot of things are, even if they don’t know why they are important to us.”

Isaac agreed, saying that she has brought information technology into her education efforts at IG, adding, “Now we have a good cross-section of training.”

The data mapping and data usage insights afforded by the technology can provide ammunition in difficult conversations with leadership, said Sterbakov of Morgan Lewis, citing, for example, that “it’s not just this one[putting things on drive C]but 50% of The company does this.” She added that people “always think they’re in a unique position” to get away with non-compliance, but explaining the importance of compliance “that’s what we tell our clients and our insurer” can help get them back on track.

Indeed, respondents cited the data compliance requirements within the OCGs as a cyclical burden, but also as a potential weapon for enforcing IG’s policies. James Merrifield, Director of Information Governance and Business Insight Robinson and Colepromotes OCGs as a way to incentivize buying, “because now it’s not only important to the company, but also to the customer.”

Sterbakov noted that she reads every OCG that comes into the company “and they get very sophisticated about what they ask to do. (And) if we accept the guidance of outside consultants, we tell them we do.

Sound overwhelming? It certainly can be, especially as data management technology continues to evolve. But Merrifield said his key to meeting disparate IG requirements within OCGs is to start small, perhaps by taking the company’s 20 largest customers and making sure those requirements are met first before building.

Indeed, taking the next step in IG can be challenging, especially for those companies that do not have sufficient technology or staffing resources. But Wiley’s Allen — who is the sole person fully responsible for IG within her company — said data and registries professionals shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. “I have claws everywhere else that can help me get what I need to get done,” she said. “Even if you are a member of one party, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide staff for your programme.”

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