Jason Atchley : Information Governance : ILTA Dives Deep Into Information Governance

jason atchley

ILTA Dives Deep Into Information Governance

Vendor Voice: Panels explored everything from how to get started and how to win over different generations.

James Merrifield, Law Technology News

September 11, 2014    | 0 Comments

Last month’s International Legal Technology Association annual meeting in Nashville was jam-packed with amazing sessions, brilliant speakers, endless networking opportunities and of course a little honky-tonk!
Cybersecurity and client privacy demands are two major reasons why law firms are now taking information governance seriously. This reality was illustrated quite well by the robust information governance track at ILTA, with several sessions designed to help firms get their info/gov programs off the ground.
Rod Beckstrom’s Aug. 23 keynote address, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Cyber World: Imagine What You Can Do,” made it clear that there is absolutely no privacy in today’s information workplace. Beckstrom’s resume includes the former president and CEO of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the founding director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center.
Despite the ballroom full of attendees, Beckstrom’s presentation was effectively interactive. He engaged the audience by getting everyone into three-person groups that tackled a series of hypotheticals and questions.
Here are highlights from four other panels:
“Build Enterprise Information Governance from the Ground Up,” Aug. 18.
Where to start? That’s the biggest question facing law firms when embarking on an info/gov initiative. A theme among panelists: take a three step approach:
1. Collaborate with key stakeholders from IT, practice groups, business units, etc. Make sure everyone understands why info/gov is important and how it affects their day-to-day activity.
2. Break down silos. Too often departments work independently of each other. This is a major roadblock that needs to be eliminated.
3. Concentrate on “low hanging fruit.” Look for short-term projects with fast return-on-investment projects (data remediation, box storage reduction, etc.) that are measurable. That can help you create a culture of “success” and defuse anxiety when more difficult projects are considered.
• “It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20-attorney firm or 2,000 attorney firm, the challenges and the risks are the same. You don’t have to be perfect, the key is to keep it simple and start somewhere,” said Rudy Moliere, director of records and information at Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
• “Choose an existing committee rather than creating a new one. It gives you an opportunity to help with governance-related projects that may exist already,” advised Dana Moore, manager of records and information compliance at Vedder Price. “Following this advice has helped me identify the key players and quickly learn the firm’s hierarchy and best approval routes,” she said.
“Managing IG Expectations Across Generations,” Aug. 18
Every generation has different work styles and expectations, which create collaborative opportunities, but also challenge existing models of training, information management and information security. Panelists shared experiences and provided insights on how to manage all these generations while mitigating risk.
Erik Schmidt, manager at HBR Consulting, shared three reasons why he feels understanding the role generational characteristics play in IG is critical:
• Gaining support and approval for info/gov programs requires understanding the mindset of traditionalists/Baby boomers (post World War II) and how to get them to consider changing their established habits.
• Getting adoption from rank-and-file staff requires understanding Generation X (born in 1960s to ’80s) so you can train them in ways they will respond to and accept (i.e., self-service, e-learning and short videos).
• To win over Millennials (aka Generation Y, birth dates ranging from early 1980s to early 2000s) requires understanding that they have very different concepts of what is private, personal or confidential in the workplace. Proactive education will not only help generate compliance but potentially prevent significant damage to firm reputation.
“Ungoverned Information Equals Litigation Disaster: What Your Firm Should Do,” Aug. 19
Client data often enters a law firm through the litigation support process. It is the firm’s responsibility to engage the right people, implement practical processes and use its technology, to ensure proper governance of client information. This panel competed through a game of “Information Governance Jeopardy,” showcasing their knowledge, experience and lessons learned at their respective law firms.
“Law firms may manage vast amounts of client electronically stored information collected in response to requests for production. Having a system in place to systematically track, retain and, at the end of the matter, dispose this information is a vital component of a well-executed litigation plan,” said Brian Jenson, director, litigation and e-discovery services at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe said. “By establishing a repeatable process that can be communicated to the appropriate stakeholders (those that come in contact with client ESI) and audited for compliance, firms minimize the risks surrounding handling client ESI.”
“Aligning Records, Privacy, Cyber Security & eDiscovery Programs to Mitigate IG Risk,”  Aug. 20
Successful development of an info/gov strategy incorporates the four dimensions of information risk management: records management, privacy, cyber security and e-discovery. Panelists shared their expertise on each dimension and provided real life experiences of how they integrated setting privacy controls, reduced costs and improved compliance at their firms.
“Identifying the key information related processes at the firm (or company) is a crucial first step in creating an information governance strategy to understand and then mitigate the risk associated with these processes,” said Bryn Bowen, principal at Greenheart Consulting Partners.  Cybersecurity, privacy, e-discovery considerations and proper records management are all significant elements to be considered in this assessment step, as well as in crafting [options] consistent with a sound information governance strategy.”
ILTA’s Path
ILTA has paved the way for law firms to be successful in executing info/gov programs. Clients expect that its data will be protected against external threats, and lawyers’ ethics rules reinforce this requirement. By applying info/gov concepts law firms will position themselves well to help clients mitigate risk and maximize the value of its information.
Have you implemented an info/governance program? Where did you start? How has your firm benefited? Please share in the comments section below, and/or visit Law Technology News’ Linkedin group (http://at.law.com/LTNgroup) and continue the conversation.

Read more: http://www.lawtechnologynews.com/id=1202668695694/ILTA-Dives-Deep-Into-Information-Governance-#ixzz3Dz7elmyn

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