The year 2015 has been the year of change within the information governance realm. The move towards a broader understanding of information governance and how it must be studied and applied to current organizations of today, are not only multifaceted, situations in question are fluid and consciously expanding as we speak.
What I mean by this is that organizations must charge responsibility unto their Chief Information Officer in regulating, monitoring, and applying compliance to all data that an organization may create. Without this proactive effort into managing the lifecycle of data, room is left for error in workflow efficiency, transparency of applied corporate governance, and the risk of compliance disputes.
Directing this conversation specifically into the legal sector, it’s vital to understand that legal compliance and corporate governance practices go hand in hand. Believing otherwise is a grave miscalculation when considering that a law firm must remain transparent in practice and guided by ethical rubrics all the while functioning as a profitable enterprise; it’s imperative to not let the latter blur into how the prior objectives are handled.
Robert F. Cusumano, partner in Crowell & Moring’s New York Office, recently published the article, “The Conscience Role: What Does it Mean?” on Inside Counsel, a legal magazine. Cusumano states that, “in a corporation, habits and rules are called governance, and they are enormously affected by ethics, fairness, justice, and, in general, issues of conscience. By ‘conscience,’ I believe that Cusumano is referring to the integrity and principles that all law firms are guided upon.
This notion is of considerable value to law firms practicing without proper information governance due to sunsetted products or inefficient data management practices. Law firms must find solutions for their information that aligns the management of said information alongside legal compliance and defensible disposition. Chief Information Officers that are experienced in both legal practices and information management will acknowledge the significance of this dual responsibility.
Information governance has made its mark in 2015, but it’s expected to take an even greater stand in 2016. It would not be wise for any law firm to continue setting this issue on the back burner. If your firm is not working to address good information governance practices for your information management system, then the handling of corporate governance and overall compliance will be at risk. As I stated earlier, legal compliance and corporate governance go hand in hand – so, don’t risk the integrity and principles of the firm with inadequate information governance.