Why Should Attorneys Practicing Corporate Law and Professional Record Keepers Study This Book as an Expert Records Management Resource?

June 28, 2016

document reviewThe question is why should corporate lawyers and professional record managers be interested in effectively managing corporate information and knowledge?  Lawyers who provide advice and counsel to corporate clients even in specialty subjects such security compliance, EEO, intellectual property, tax, or any other legal subject, should have some familiarity with issues involved with that corporation’s records because those records contain vital data, information, and knowledge that may be directly on point to their subject matter advice.  Seemingly, managing corporate records may seem to the uninitiated to be a simple, straightforward matter, often the responsibility of file clerks, who pay little or no attention to the details of the content of those records.  Managing the data, information, and knowledge in corporate records is by far a quite complicated subject that must be the responsibility of critically thinking individuals who are familiar enough with corporate operations to be able to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of that data, information, and knowledge.

Corporate lawyers and professional record managers should be able to quickly and accurately answer such questions as “What is a corporate record?” and “How long does a particular corporate record have to be maintained in corporate files?”  These are just two of the most fundamental questions with which corporate lawyers and professional record managers must be familiar and comfortable answering because those answers absolutely govern the fate and longevity of the data, information, and knowledge the records contain.

Complicating this situation is the fact that today records are no longer pieces of paper in a physical file somewhere in the corporate facilities.  For several decades now, many, if not most of corporate records involve technical systems that are involved in their creation, transmission, storage, and maintenance.  These technical electronic systems not only speed the creation and communication of corporate data, information, and knowledge, but also often frustrate their being quickly located, identified, and used for the purposes that corporate lawyers need to make of them.  For these and many other reasons, attorneys who represent corporate clients and professional record managers need to have enough familiarity with corporate record management practices to be able to retrieve the data, information, and knowledge that they need to assure that their practices are providing the most sound legal advice possible.  Furthermore, practicing corporate records management and providing legal services in this field can be a lucrative practice area that many lawyers may not have realized.

Mismanagement of the data, information, and knowledge can be the cause of enormous legal liabilities as recent corporate disasters have shown.  And the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has tried to rectify some of these situations and prevent them happening in the future.  Corporate compliance with all the mired of laws, regulations, and other requirements is a tremendous legal challenge, but this book goes beyond compliance to suggest to corporate attorneys and professional record managers how they might anticipate legal problems before they occur and head them off so as to avoid potential liabilities.

To address these problems and situations for corporate lawyers and professional record managers, I wrote and annually update Designing an Effective Corporate Information, Knowledge Management, and Records Compliance Program, which is now in its 23rd edition, published last year (2015) and now being revised again for the 24th edition.  The aim of this publication is to address corporate information, knowledge and records issues from the most basic to those at the cutting edge of the subject matter.  For example, the first chapter, addresses some of the seemingly most simple, but more fundamentally important records issues, including what is a record, whether the form of the record matters, how long a record should be kept, how to assess the value of a record, who has responsibilities in the corporation for its records, and how to evaluate the quality of the information in those records.  And all of the succeeding chapters expand on and fill in gaps to these fundamental issues.

An important aspect of all of this is realizing and appreciating that information represents the raw materials from which original thinking emerges and the more knowledge one has, the better the base for innovation and advancement.  Finally, the size of this volume may intimidate potential readers at first, but its size is not meant to scare readers but to represent it as an encyclopedia which answers virtually everything that might arise about managing corporate records.

Readers of this blog are again invited and welcome to submit ideas that are not yet but need to be covered in my volume Designing an Effective Corporate Information, Knowledge Management, and Records Retention Compliance Program and also are invited and welcome to submit their proposed solutions to those ideas.

Titles by Ed Dietel