Brad Davis

#ARMA2014 Preview: Q&A with Law Firm IG Expert Brad Davis

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Davis, director of records and information Governance at Jackson Lewis – an AmLaw 100 national law firm. Brad is pumped for the ARMA International Conference, which takes place October 26-28, 2014 in sunny San Diego, California. With the conference just days away, let’s see what Brad has to say….

Jim: What are you looking to gain by attending ARMA this year?

Brad: As an ARMA member with an international position as a chapter advisor to the mid-atlantic region and a new information governance director at a national law firm, I’ll wear a couple of different hats at ARMA; promotion of our chosen profession, a familiar face for those people coming from my region to learn, learning current trends, noteworthy issues to address, and the latest technology to take back to my firm. But what I take away from most at every ARMA conference that I attend is the networking opportunities that it provides within a corral of seasoned and budding records management and information governance professionals.  There is so much that we can learn from one another and that we can share with those who are following in our footsteps.  It truly is a remarkable time and I always come away with a resurgence of energy that this profession is the one that I am meant to be a part of.

Jim: Brad, I couldn't agree with you more. The networking opportunities at ARMA are superb and extremely necessary to keep the information governance buzz moving ahead.

Jim: Which sessions are you looking forward to?

Brad: I used ARMA’s new personalized iPlanner to choose my sessions and build my own personal agenda this year.  Before I leave, I’ll be able to print out a PDF that has a full schedule of my events and it even lets me add in personal meetings and social time.  Looking back at what I chose to attend, one session that I am especially interested in is entitled “How to Initiate IG Programs with Effective ROI” presented by Recall on Sunday 1:30pm - 2:30pm in the Expo Hall. Just yesterday, I received the okay from top level to proceed with my proposed Information Governance Task Force.  This was a huge victory and now I am geared up to show the firm how information governance can create positive ROI.  I am also interested in the panel discussion entitled “How to Protect Third-Party and Mobile Data While Maximizing ROI" presented by information governance experts Galina Datskovsky, Ph.D., CRM, Ronald Hedges, J.D. and Michael Michels, Esq. on Sunday 2:45pm - 3:45pm in the Upper Level 30ABC.  I don’t feel like we have caught up with the mobile data issue as much as I think we should and I think the near obsessive use of mobile devices creates many more risks than we care to consider.

Jim:  Wow, you truly are organized! Indeed, those are some very interesting sessions and I agree as an industry we have to start addressing the risks associated with BYOD in much more detail.

Jim: Tell us about your background and how you became interested in the field of records management?

Brad: Like many others I fell into the records management industry, but I am thankful that I did because it has been very very good to me.  I had planned to go to law school after college but before wasting my parents money I wanted to make sure it was what I really wanted to do. So, I applied for a blind ad (back in the newspaper days) for a position at a law firm.  The interview was with the records management department with a lady who would become my mentor, Barbara Embick, CRM.  Barbara saw something in me and taught me everything she knew while giving me opportunities that most 21 year olds don’t get a chance to experience that early in their career.  She gave me the opportunity to become prolific with the user and admin side of an ARMS (automated records management solution) and the opportunity to manage implementation and administer records management training to the entire firm.  With the knowledge she gave me I was able to go out on my own taking a position as director of records and information management at a firm that was in need of a ground up program.  After 15 years in the industry, I am now onto my third firm, consisting of 55 offices and 770+ attorneys, where again I get to build an IG program from the ground up.  With that said, I have never forgotten my roots with Barbara, the person who pushed me to stay in this industry and had the vision to know that this industry was going to boom.

Jim: How we appreciate our mentors! In addition, I share a very similar story working with law firms for the past decade. It's nice to know that someone else was as crazy as me to forgo law school for a career in records management.

Jim: What would you say is the most pressing issue facing law firms today?

Brad: The umbrella issue that I see facing most law firms today is grasping the overall concept of Information Governance, why it's needed and how it can truly benefit the firm to have a solid program in place.  It’s more than just records management.  It’s so much broader than management of the paper and shuffling boxes to storage.  The data and information that is collected in droves on a daily basis is their intellectual property, it's their largest asset.  Without it a firm cannot serve its clients.  Showing the ROI that proper information governance can afford the firm can be a tough, but it's necessary to the firm’s success.  My motto: Proactive not Reactive.

Jim: I agree, information governance is most definitely a proactive approach. You certainly will have your fair share of conversations with key stakeholders in your firm on that subject in the months ahead. Please do keep me posted.

Jim: Are you planning any R&R while in San Diego?

Brad: Anyone who knows me knows that I firmly believe a good balance of business and pleasure.  While much of my down time will still be spent networking with my ARMA family, I do plan to get out and see the beautiful city of San Diego and take in some of their amazing weather.

Jim: Yes, you sure do know how to have a good time. We'll have to grab a beer and enjoy the California weather!

Jim: Brad, I’d like to thank you for your time today. I certainly look forward to seeing you at ARMA San Diego (#ARMA2014) in just a few days.

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