- June 14, 2020
A couple of years ago the Akron Legal News published an editorial on information governance in law firms. The article by Richard Weiner, explored how law firms are dealing with the transition from rooms filled with hard copy records to terabytes of electronically stored information (ESI) - which includes both firm business records as well as the huge amounts of client eDiscovery content. The article pointed out that these days, ESI flows into law firms so quickly and in such large quantities, no one can actually track the volume much less know what it contains. Law firms have reached an inflection point; change the way information is managed or suffer client dissatisfaction and client loss.
Attorneys are notorious for hoarding huge amounts of their client’s data, while law firms have been remiss in standardizing and enforcing client data ingestion and management processes. With massive amounts of ESI that law firms now accumulate on a daily basis, ignoring the problem can end up costing firms a lot more in the future. In order to function as both a profitable business and a trusted adviser to your clients, firm-wide information governance (IG) is a must.
Myriad definitions of information governance are floating around but the Akron Legal News article offered one specifically targeted at law firms; IG is “the rules and framework for managing all of a law firm’s electronic data and documents, including material produced in discovery, as well as legal files and correspondence.” The author identified four main processes for law firms to accomplish through the IG process. They are:
As law firms transition to ESI for both firm business and client data, it is critical to adopt IG practices and processes to account for and manage an ever changing business environment. As a side note. some believe this transition will eventually lead to the incorporation of basic machine learning technologies into law firm IG, such as predictive indexing and categorization, to enable law firm IG processes to have a better chance of actually governing the huge amounts of unrelated data.
Law firms need to take some basic steps. These include (in addition to the 4 listed above):
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Bill is the Vice President of Global Compliance for Archive360. Bill brings more than 29 years of experience with multinational corporations and technology start-ups, including 19-plus years in the archiving, information governance, and eDiscovery markets. Bill is a frequent speaker at legal and information governance industry events and has authored numerous eBooks, articles and blogs.