Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM) is pleased to announce a new report, titled “A Proposed Law Firm Information Governance Framework,” developed by information management professionals from 20 top law firms. Available on Iron Mountain’s website, the comprehensive report is the product of a three-day working symposium convened in May to frame out best practices for information governance within law firms. Members of the symposium’s steering committee will present key themes of the report Aug. 30 at the International Legal Technology Association ( ILTA) Conference in Washington, D.C.
The concept of information governance is evolving within law firms. Firms are expanding traditional records practices to account for closer client scrutiny on how information is managed; the pervasiveness of mobile devices; greater information movement as partners change firms; and growing threats of security breaches. Developed as a guide for law firms to build programs for better managing client and firm data, the report proposes a definition for information governance as well as ideas for building and implementing programs that firms can tailor to their culture.
“Information assets are the lifeblood of any organization; however, as keepers of client-related information, the need for information governance within law firms has never been more prevalent,” said Leigh Isaacs, symposium steering committee member and director, records and information management, at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, an international law firm with more than 1,100 lawyers located in the major commercial centers of North America, Europe and Asia. “As the volume of information continues to grow, and the custodians of that information become more widely dispersed, the need for governance increases in importance. Iron Mountain’s symposium provided a much-needed forum for industry leaders to discuss best practices that can ultimately benefit the entire legal community. Our hope is that this report will get our colleagues talking and serve as a resource for other information managers at law firms, who want to benchmark themselves against their peers when managing their firm’s information.”
Isaacs, along with other information management thought leaders from law firms such as Reed Smith LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Greenberg Traurig LLP; and White & Case LLP, advised Iron Mountain with planning the symposium and led nearly three dozen participants in four separate workgroups examining different aspects of information governance at law firms. Since the symposium met May 22-24 at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, Iron Mountain has synthesized the discussion, definitions, leading practices, templates and strategies of each of these workgroups into one report now available for download here (registration required). The report’s four sections are:
- Defining an Information Governance Framework. In addition to proposing a definition for information governance, this section recommends creating an advisory board to steer the development of information governance processes and guide the firm on the benefits gained from investing in governance.
- It Takes a Village: Managing Information Governance. Information Technology (IT), Records and Information Management (RIM) and Risk Management departments have been steadily converging with a common goal of information governance. This section recommends responsibilities for each group and strategies for effective collaboration to mitigate risk, reduce the cost of information management and improve client service.
- A Proposed Law Firm Information Security Assessment Framework. In this portion of the report, users will find an eight-step process for identifying risk in their information processes and developing standards that balance securing client and firm information with appropriate access.
- How to Move Forward with an Information Governance Program in a Law Firm. This section recommends strategies for making an information governance program operational, including winning organizational buy-in, creating a culture of participation, and measuring the program’s effectiveness.
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