Getting Real about Law Firm Dark Data

Getting Real About Dark Data at Law Firms

A principle of information governance is that organizations must know what information they have, what the content of that information is, and whether it is properly accessed, stored, secured and destroyed when appropriate. Yet, this is very difficult for law firms that have colossal amounts of legacy client data that may not be exactly accounted for in terms of location, content and categorization. This “dark” data poses cost savings opportunities, potentially valuable insights and risk management opportunities for firms with the will to attack these mystery stockpiles of information.

Lucky for law firms a recent Law Firm Information Governance Symposium task force authored an excellent roadmap for how to tackle this murky problem. The task force suggests dark data management best practices involve a three-pronged approach:

» Define Your Policy: Your information governance team can help in the development of policies that define repository concepts and address compliance concerns like records retention, legal holds, mandated production or destruction and eDiscovery.

» Create a Data Map: The creation of a data map will identify where and what document types are being stored. The process followed to create this document will reveal opportunities to reengineer existing workflows.

» Begin Data Cleanup: Utilize tools such as file analysis software (FAS) to aid in the analysis of data for tagging, making disposition decisions and ongoing information management activities.

What do you think of their approach?

Turn Legal Client “Needs Improvement” Grades into A’s with Information Governance


Organizing Information Governance in Law Firms

Corporate clients have essentially two major “needs improvement” areas for their law firms over the last few years. One, clients want more efficient delivery of legal services with transparent value. The discussions on alternative fees, refusals to pay for 1st-year associates that are still learning, and lack of basic efficiency drivers such as project management are well documented. The second main area of concern is information security – how good is their firm at protecting sensitive client data from cyber-threats and running afoul of privacy regulations with information breaches?

A new report by the Law Firm Information Symposium published yesterday by Iron Mountain, makes the case that firms can make progress in both these areas by building out an information governance (IG) organization. Read more here to learn how an umbrella IG organization and culture can drive business efficiencies and information security to turn client “needs improvement” grades into A’s.

Carolyn Casey, a member of the California bar, provides consulting and marketing services to legal organizations. She founded the Law Firm Information Governance Symposium while at Iron Mountain.