Law Firm Clients have Prioritized Risk Mitigation Initiatives in Recent Years, Issuing Increasingly Detailed Information Governance Protocols that Continue to Create New and Growing Challenges for Law Firms.
In this three-part series, we’re exploring the IG revolution currently underway including what’s driving it, how it’s impacting law firms and how automation is proving essential to achieve compliance. Read part one in the series here.
IG Audits are Increasing Every Year
Law firm clients are increasingly adopting a Ronald Reagan-style approach to OCG: “Trust, but verify.” Essentially, information governance and compliance do not run on the honor system anymore. Instead, clients are conducting detailed audits of their contracted law firms to validate guidelines are followed, especially relating to how sensitive information is being handled.
Failing a client’s IG audit can have far-reaching consequences. The audit mechanism employed by cooperatives may mean that a failure will be shared with other firm clients or prospective clients who are also members. Failure may mean the firm is blacklisted as an unsatisfactory service provider for all member organizations.
IG Compliance Starts with Automated Disposition.
Many firms have essentially ignored disposition of electronic documents, and only a handful are doing regular destruction of physical records, because disposition isn’t easy. In fact, it is incredibly complex and becoming exponentially more difficult every year.
For more than a decade, digital information has gotten easier to store which has resulted in the volume of data growing at an unprecedented rate. Not only do firms have to manage and track the retention and disposition of paper records, they must also keep up with rapidly growing digital records as well, and those records are everywhere. Electronic records are stored in many places outside document management solutions from SharePoint to shared network drives to individual computer desktops.
Physical records are stored on-site at numerous branch offices, as well as in off-site storage facilities. It’s not hard to see why tracking and managing records in so many different places has become almost impossible.
The key to addressing this challenge is automation.