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Information Governance is a Big Part of the Reason for the Emergence of Legal Ops

Published July 28, 2022

Written by Doug Austin, Editor of eDiscovery Today

Much of the focus historically on legal technology has been project based. A great example of that is litigation, which has a beginning (the case is filed or at least anticipated) and an end (the case is settled, dismissed or a verdict is reached in court). Each litigation case is synonymous with a project, and it must be managed effectively to help achieve the desired outcome.

eDiscovery is also project based, as evidenced by the EDRM model, which reflects a project lifecycle flow from Identification through Preservation, with the Volume of electronically stored information (ESI) diminishing as non-responsive ESI is culled out of the population and the percent of Relevance of remaining ESI rising as you move to the right of the EDRM model.

However, the enormously increased emphasis on the big circle to the left of the EDRM model – the Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM) – has helped shift the focus of legal technology from being project oriented to becoming more operations oriented.

This movement has helped contribute to the rise of legal operations overall.

Evolution of the EDRM Model Illustrates the Rise in Importance of Information Governance

When you look at the evolution of the EDRM model over the years, you can see how important Information Governance has become. The very first iteration of the EDRM model back in 2005 didn’t even have a spot for Information Governance. When it was added in 2009, it was first added as “Information Management” and was just another box on the far left of the model. It wasn’t until 2014 when EDRM decided to change Information Management to Information Governance and make it a circle (I was there at that meeting).

Changing it to a circle was significant as it’s the only phase of the EDRM model that represents a perpetual process (no beginning or end). That’s a sign of a discipline that is less project-oriented and more operations-oriented! Today, the IGRM dwarfs the rest of the EDRM phases, which illustrates just how important it has become. (BTW, note to EDRM: can we update the IGRM in the EDRM to the latest version?)

The Rise of CLOC and the CLOC “Core 12”

In recent years, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) has emerged as a major force within our industry and the CLOC Global Institute conference has become a “must attend” for many legal professionals in our space.

Recently on this blog, I discussed the CLOC Core 12 functional areas that comprise legal operations, which are illustrated in a terrific infographic on the CLOC site. That infographic, like the IGRM model, is a circle which represents those 12 functional areas – one for each number on an actual clock. Is it a coincidence that IGRM and CLOC Core 12 are both represented as circles? I think not!

One of those functional areas is Information Governance, but several of the functional areas relate to IG. Can you have an effective IG program without effective Business Intelligence? Or Knowledge Management? Or Firm & Vendor Management, Service Delivery Models, Strategic Planning, Technology and Training & Development? Of course not! Information Governance may be a component of Legal Ops, but effective legal ops cannot be achieved without effective Information Governance.

Conclusion

Of course, effective Information Governance can only be achieved by leveraging a combination of best practices and technology. And the technology has become increasingly important as organizations are overwhelmed with the Big Data challenge that we all face today of too much data to effectively manage.

You can’t effectively manage data within an organization without an effective Information Governance program that leverages best practices and technology. And you also can’t have an effective legal ops program without Information Governance either. Legal Ops and Information Governance are both perpetual – the circles don’t lie!

For more educational topics from me related to eDiscovery, cybersecurity and data privacy, feel free to follow my blog, eDiscovery Today!

Learn more about IPRO solutions legal operators can leverage for Information Governance.