With an increasing demand for data, both in-house and external advisors are feeling the pressure to step up their investigation strategies and procedures to stay compliant with various data governance, corporate and legal protocols.
Yesterday, Ricoh sponsored the Canadian Legal Innovation Forum’s webinar on Advances in Investigations, eDiscovery & Litigation Management. The panel, which was moderated by Geoff Moysa, discussed the recent trends around the type, scale and complexity of investigations across corporate legal departments and law firms. Unanimously, all four of the panelists agreed that as investigations become more complex, the necessity of expecting the unexpected has become more important than ever. Here's their advice on taking a proactive approach to legal investigations:
"We’re seeing more investigations. It isn’t in a particular space, but an increase in numbers. I think as a result of that, we have been working a lot with our clients on their compliance programs on ways to prevent and protect illegal activity within their companies before it actually becomes an investigation. [There is] mandatory training about procedures and policies within a company, confidential reporting systems, incentives and disciplinary measures as a result of illegal activity and periodic testing of employees." — Jennifer Thompson, Head of Osler Works - Disputes, Osler
"Once you have processes in place, where I’m seeing things really need some vigor is sculpting the individual investigation out at the beginning. Spend the proper time to make sure you have a strategy, a process for preserving the evidence and that the confidentiality around it can be maintained.
"You have to appreciate that you’re creating evidence for a future legal proceeding. Be very cautious about how you put your initial processes together and what you do all along the way." — Jamie Pytel, Founder & Senior Lawyer, Kingsgate Legal
"We’re seeing corporations become more proactive. It’s a combination of the drive in the industry to be better actors and the ease of access to technology solutions… You want to demonstrate that you’re properly managing your employees and data, setting up a much more defensible position to be in. Arguing from a position of strength is easier than from a position where you don’t have anything internal. If you’re not using software and you don’t have a process by which you’re managing data, it makes it impossible to argue you're taking reasonable steps — how do you make an excuse for not being reasonable?" — Sean Lynch, Director of Legal and Compliance Solutions, Ricoh Canada
"Putting compliance programs and procedures in place are a must … Who is going to be the point person? Who is going to greet the regulator at the door? Who is communicating with internal and external stakeholders? Is it HR, is it legal, is it compliance?
"[Reacting] can result in taking more resources, more time and making mistakes. You want to plan out all the various scenarios and types of investigations that could come your way." — Anthony Ruffolo, General Counsel, Honda Canada
How a content assessment can help prepare you for an investigation
Typically, 70 per cent of data in corporations is found to hold no business value. Legal and eDiscovery efforts can be greatly reduced during litigation events when content that is past its regulatory or business use life is disposed of properly. Take advantage of our Complimentary Content Assessment below to take the first step towards achieving data governance and compliance in your organization.