Hello from Denver! We are wrapping up our presence at this year's annual meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). Early season snowflakes are flying, and conference attendees may end up spending a day or so more in Denver than originally planned. No time better than now to post some thoughts on the last three days.
We’ve not sponsored a booth, reception, or water cooler at ACC before. And while I’ve had numerous conversations with inside counsel (Chief Legal Officers, General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel, etc.) over the last year or so, I’ve never had the opportunity to talk to so many of these individuals at one time. I had dozens of interesting conversations with conference attendees, and learned quite a bit in the process.
Lesson 1: e-Discovery is not the issue I thought it was
One of the significant benefits of adopting an information governance solution like RSD GLASS is a significant, even measurable improvement in e-Discovery efficiency. And this makes sense. RSD GLASS provides a single source of search and access to governed records. These records are those most likely to be requested in the event of litigation, and / or those most likely to be scrutinized as a result of a compliance audit. By placing these records under governance ensures that records are managed in accordance with policy and relevant statutes, which likely results in a dramatic decrease inthe sheer volume of content to be searched and evaluated for potential relevancy. Counsel have a single solution for searching, accessing, and placing litigation holds on this content, across all governed repositories. The efficiency comes from not having to repeat the same search and hold process across countless file plans, repositories, and jurisdictions.
I thought this was going to be a compelling message for this audience. By and large, I was mistaken. Most of the attendees I spoke with already had an e-Discovery solution in place, in parallel with existing records management solutions and technologies. Some had spent significant sums of money purchasing and implementing these solutions, and most were still in the process of doing so. But the majority of conversations I had suggested that these folks were pleased with their e-Discovery solution, or, if not, had the expectation that they eventually would be happy with it.
The logical next step in this discussion is how information governance changes the way companies approach e-Discovery.
Lesson 2: "Information Governance" is a relatively empty label for this crowd
I am fond of describing RSD GLASS as an information governance platform. This allows me to expound on our unique approach to information governance, and also calls out the fact that RSD GLASS is more than a simple application or solution. As well it should be, given the complexities of the business and technical challenges it addresses.
Therefore, in answer to the question, “So what does RSD do?” I began by explaining how RSD GLASS solves information governance challenges, including multi-jurisdictional policy development, cross-repository enforcement, and secure information access. I was surprised at how poorly the topic of information governance resonated with inside counsel. In deepening the conversation, I learned that corporate counsel tends not to get inolved in solving information governance challenges. It's not so much that any of these individuals felt that these benefits were unimportant; no attorney is going to say that policy enforcement is unimportant (although many admit that, nevertheless, their company does not abide by its retention schedule). Rather, it is simply a matter of priorities. They told me their primary interest is in securing the tools, assets, resources and information they need to respond to litigation. This focus is singular and narrow, in sharp contrast to the global perspective addressed by information governance.
The good news is that, well, when it comes to helping handle litigation, we have good news for them as well. And this benefit opened a few eyes this week.
Lesson 3: Defensible Disposition is really, really difficult
RSD GLASS is a significant factor in establishing a legally defensible disposition program. Consider the position of corporate counsel who has implemented RSD GLASS. The conversation with the court can go something like this:
Court: “Give us all records related to this litigation.”
Corporate Counsel of an RSD GLASS Customer: “We have some records related to the matter, but not all of them.”
Court: “Why don’t you have everything that has been requested?”
RSDGCC: “Because we have a corporate information governance policy in place. We have enforced this policy on our records, regardless of their potential relevance to this matter. In fact, here are the full audit trails that show what policy was in place at the time these records were declared, and how the policy was enforced not just on these records you requested, but all records. Disposition is not haphazard; we consistently enforce our policy.”
Court: “Well then. Let’s proceed with what we’ve got.”
100% of the corporate counsel I spoke with these first two days of ACC were unable to have this conversation, because their corporate records management policy is either sporadically enforced, or not enforced at all.
100% of the corporate counsel I spoke with these first days of ACC wished they could have this conversation with the court. These people will greatly benefit from an information governance solution like RSD GLASS.
Lesson 4: Corporate Counsel are resourceful people
As we did last week with ARMA, we sponsored a hybrid scavenger hunt / marketing campaign around RSD GLASS. Conference attendees had the opportunity to come by the booth and grab buttons. Each button had a letter on it: G, L, A, or S. The first group of five who could spell GLASS all won iPads. We had no winners on the first day. In fact, given the audience, this was somewhat problematic, as we were accused of rigging the game, and not distributing a required letter. “We are litigators… a class action suit may result here, if you don’t have any winners.”
Yesterday morning, around 11:00 AM, we finally had our winning group. It started with a single individual who had not previously heard of RSD or our iPad giveway promotion, but quickly understood that the point of the exercise was an interactive one. Find others, whether you know them or not, and get them invested in the promotion. She recruited a handful of others, who then traded business cards and contact information. Within an hour or so, this group of strangers spelled out GLASS. iPads for five! They celebrated with much enthusiasm. It was fascinating to watch this group network.
Congrats to our winners, and thanks everyone for stopping by the booth.