Why Legal, IT, Compliance and Investigators Must Work Together!

By Johannes Scholtes posted 12-01-2011 07:47


Last week, I attended a great conference focussed on eDiscovery, information management and legal technology. The goal of this conference was to get IT, legal compliance and investigators to understand each other better and to work together in every ones interest.

Among the speakers were:

  • Gartner analyst Debra Logan provided an excellent keynote on trends and developments in eDiscovery and a separate session on Intelligent Information Governance.
  • Gonzalo de Cesare of the European Union and formerly IM specialist at the UN war crimes tribunals in Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Rwanda discussed the deployment of ZyLAB technology in several tribunals and new rules of law worldwide.
  • Daan Lunsingh Scheurleer, partner with NautaDutilh, led a session on eDiscovery, Compliance and Litigation Readiness, and
  • Barry Derksen, research director of the Business & IT Trends Institute, presented on the changing role of IT and how IT can best collaborate with the business and legal professionals in their organizations.

Debra Logan undoubtedly convinced the audience that eDiscovery and litigation are not ‘American problems’, that social media is of great concern in eDiscovery, that SaaS and Cloud solutions should be considered when regulators and lawyers are involved, that Legal and IT have to work together to solve eDiscovery problems, and that it is critical for organizations to be proactive about e-Disclosure.

In her second presentation: “Intelligent Information Governance”, Debra Logan helped the audience clearly understand information governance and enterprise information management, in particular. In order for companies to manage their information assets properly, they need to clearly understand enterprise information management. In this session the differences between EIM and related terms were outlined and an organizational model was presented to identify new roles for managing enterprise information effectively.

Gonzalo de Cesare shared his presentation on “Enabling Prosecution of the Unspeakable”, where he discussed the challenges faced by the UN Information Management team in the Office of the Prosecutor of the war crimes tribubals, which were exceptional in scale and often gruesome in content. His experience shed light on more day-to-day challenges faced by many businesses and public organizations today.

Daan Lunsingh Scheurleer explained how his company has setup a firm's Class Action Team, providing immediate legal assistance to organizations that are involved in regulatory investigations and defending class actions relating to securities, financial services, prospectus liability and financial regulation. His experience in various collective settlements, both on an opt-in basis and on an opt-out basis under the Collective Settlement of Mass Claims Act, including Dexia, Shell Reserves,and  Converium , provided invaluable insight into the need for compliance and litigation readiness programs. He also clarified the unique attributes of litigation matters in the Netherlands compared to other jurisdictions, such as US-based litigation and how to work closely with US counsel.

Last but not least, Barry Derksen  shared the insight garnered from his extensive background working with KPMG Information & Risk Management  as an advisor, auditor, and interim manager for various governmental and commercial organizations. Specifically, Barry explained how IT can and must collaborate effectively with business and legal departments in order to make a company more competitive and to reduce costs and risk. IT should operate by proactively aligning legal, business and IT interests, they should cross the chasm, and they should initiate effective communication, understand the business, see how they can add value, create internal and external partnerships, and assist with implementing governance and compliance programs. As a result, they will become better aligned with legal and subsequently create better value and return on investment for the organization.

The esteemed faculty provided a wonderful curriculum, and the active participation from all attendees helped to make it a magnificent conference all around. The collective group of IT, legal, investigative, compliance, and information management professionals openly discussed challenges and potential solutions to the hurdles associated with eDiscovery, compliance, law enforcement and enterprise information management.

It became very clear that we all have to work together because:

  1. eDiscovery and e-Disclosure are not challenges that are unique to the US
  2. New regulations are created every day, and regulators are getting more aggressive
  3. Information continues to grow
  4. Social Media and working in the cloud bring new challenges
  5. Legal & IT alignment yields litigation readiness, increased performance, and higher ROI.

Altogether, a great event, with a lot of potential to organize more frequently elsewhere as well!

#legal #IT #e-discovery #ElectronicRecordsManagement #SharePoint #LegacyInformationClean-up #IntelligentInformationGovernance #compliance