Two of the hottest topics at ALM's recent LegalTech New York conference -- information governance and predictive coding, and concerns over when and how practitioners can and should deal with them -- are further amplified by results from a small survey Symantec Corporation conducted at the show. The two topics are proving to be major buzzwords for 2012, and for good reason. They're complex and intimidating, in part because of the risks and expenses associated with them, and in part because of the understandable angst felt by many in the legal industry over being among early adopters of new technology.
How complex and intimidating are these things? Take a look at the extensive ground covered in a basic definition of information governance taken straight from Wikipedia: It's a term "used to encompass the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements." That sounds generally accurate. It doesn't sound like something you can easily address with off-the-shelf software.
"Information governance in particular can have a kind of 'boil the ocean' stigma to it," says Dean Gonsowski, e-discovery counsel for Symantec, who came to the company through its acquisition of Clearwell Systems. Gonsowski, who attended LegalTech and was involved with the survey, points out that one challenge is that a coalition of people from different departments need to be brought to the table to address the complexity of information governance. "If not presented correctly, it can get folks' eyes to glaze over. It can be too big. What we tell folks is that it's more of a pyramid. People are already doing parts of it, like document retention programs, to build on."
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By: David Snow