A recent presentation by the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Counsel (CGOC) presented the findings of a soon to be released survey on current information governance practices. The survey revealed that, while 98% of the respondents consider defensible records disposal to be a key element of good records management, only 22% are actually able to carry out any type of records disposal. The problem cited by many is that people become “glued” to their information, and those who recognize the need to maintain proper records management (IT, legal, and records), are often left out of the picture.
The study is due to be released at the end of September, and explores the challenges associated with current leadership, ownership, and process management issues that organizations must address in order to implement effective records management. The study is published as part of a CGOC Benchmark Report which also includes models and tools to measure an organization’s progress and allow them to assess their risk. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Information Management Reference Model project of the EDRM.
Wortzman Nickle can show you how to melt the glue so that your organization can implement a workable, efficient records management practice.
A Focus on E-Trials
The Canadian Centre for Court Technology/Centre canadien de technologie judiciaire is currently hosting its inaugural Canadian Forum on Court Technology conference in Ottawa, Ontario. This two-day conference started yesterday, and is extremely well attended by lawyers, judges, and technology experts from across Canada.
Following an opening plenary session with The Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron of the Supreme Court of Canada, the various sessions scheduled on Day One were broken into three themes: “What Has Been Done?”, “What’s Next?”, and “Savings and Technology”. I joined Master Calum MacLeod and Martin Felsky on a panel addressing “An Introduction to E-Discovery and its Impact on Trials”. Our session emphasized the cost and time savings of keeping information that is created and stored electronically in its original format, throughout the e-discovery and trial phases.
Discussions of e-trials took centre stage yesterday. While more lawyers are engaging with e-discovery, e-trials (entirely electronic trials) remain extremely rare in Canada. Panelists (judiciary and lawyers) throughout the day took the position that e-trials promote access to justice, lower costs, better lawyers and judges, and strengthen advocacy. Session participants and panelists expressed a need for the judiciary and the court system to do more to facilitate the presentation of electronic evidence at trial.
No disagreement there. However, promoting the use of technology in the courtroom has to be a top-down, bottom-up initiative. If lawyers don’t come to court prepared to do e-trials, there will be little incentive for the judiciary and court administration to ensure the facilities are in place to accommodate them.
A recent study carried out by the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Cell-Phones-and-American-Adults.aspx) found that texting has permeated generational boundaries. Sure, adults still don’t text as much as kids do, but the numbers are climbing.
While this is interesting on many levels, the big question in terms of e-Discovery is what the enterprise is doing to adapt. Sure, teens are several years away from entering the workforce, but the enterprise has only been tip-toeing their way around mobile management. By the time these texting teens are ready for a job, will the enterprise look any different?
The study also raises questions about how these texting trends are influencing the way companies and organizations reach out to these demographics. If teens are abandoning Facebook and don’t use Twitter, how are companies getting their attention? If more adults start texting, it could mean that it’s in place of something else, like email?
From records management to communication to web publishing, is the enterprise prepared to operate from a mobile platform? And if so, how is this mobile information going to be collected and integrated into the traditional litigation discovery environment?
Of course, texting may not even be around in ten years (it didn’t exist ten years ago). But this is exactly our point: how does the enterprise and legal community plan to keep up with evolving trends and technologies?
As fun as it is to learn about behavioural trends, it’s even more important to be ready to change course as a result. New media and technology affords users new ways to access and exchange information with others. However, it also challenges the legal community to deal with these ever evolving forms of communication, or risk standing idly by and completely missing the mobile smoking gun.