In today’s world of never-ending data growth, privacy breaches and cyber-attacks, and growing legal and regulatory oversight, an IG professional’s job is challenging enough. But when an organization acquires or divests an entity or even a product line, the IG professional faces an additional set of challenges as new data may need to be integrated into systems and applications, existing data may need to be segregated and separated, and other data may require sharing or redacting.
As data continues to grow uncontrollably in every organization today, the need for comprehensive information governance becomes increasingly apparent. Defining the rules and operating needs that govern an organization’s data, and then acting on those rules through defensible disposition, reduces the risk and cost of unnecessary storage and e-Discovery, as well as reducing the damage of a potential cyber-attack.
This year’s Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum focused on the ten years of change since the economic crisis of 2007. I had the pleasure of moderating the panel, “Boats Against the Current: The Evolving Law Firm Business Model” that included a diverse panel of c-level executives who explored the changes that have occurred to the law firm business model. Most notable, however, we examined how operations leaders have risen to the occasion and are charting a new course for the c-suite – one that is more directly influencing firm strategy, business development and revenue-generating activities.
One of the most exciting parts of my job as head of Software Solutions at HBR Consulting is that daily, I get to speak to successful law firm and corporate legal leaders about trends and topics influencing their industry.
In 2015, 11.5 million documents referred to as the Panama Papers were leaked from a Panamanian law firm and revealed widespread global tax evasion involving notable individuals (including FIFA soccer officials and the Icelandic Prime Minister). The scandal brought global scrutiny to money laundering and the role law firms play in assisting such actions. Since then, regulators in the U.S., UK and E.U. have vowed to close up loopholes and enforce stricter anti-money laundering rules on intermediaries including banks and law firms to mitigate the issue. With mainstream media reports about money laundering intensifying, global law firms must take anti-money laundering (AML) compliance not as a suggestion, but as a necessity.
As the legal industry continues to evolve so do the demands and needs of law firms’ internal and external clients. Like many other support functions, litigation support is an area that historically supported one primary business need (i.e., managing e-Discovery), but the role of the service is transitioning due to market changes. Today, law firms are revisiting litigation support services and strategies to account for evolving e-Discovery provider business models, increasingly sophisticated corporate client sourcing arrangements, rising technology and infrastructure costs and decreasing litigation support revenues.
Forward-thinking law firms and law departments are looking beyond internal staffing and cost-reduction strategies, and are pursuing custom-tailored solutions for service delivery. By using outside providers to deliver services, leading law firms and law departments can place a greater emphasis on their core business. This enables organizations to focus on areas that are the most strategic and differentiating to their clients.
On June 9, over 20 representatives from the legal vertical joined HBR Consulting and Intapp at Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York for an invitation-only Risk Roundtable. Participants from law firms and investment banking firms came together for a thoughtful discussion that included ideas and insight into how to improve the business acceptance process.
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the MER Conference in Chicago. The annual event is one of the largest educational conferences focused on addressing the ever-present challenges of managing electronic records from the legal, technical and operational perspectives.
Earlier this year, Legal IT Professionals featured an article co-authored by my colleague James Britt and me that provides a list of cybersecurity best practices global law firms should prioritize in 2017. More specifically, we discussed specific steps law firms can take to address gaps that previously provided hackers with easy access to sensitive data.