Establishing and Maintaining a Corporate Records Management Program

August 26, 2015

Businessman looking through a magnifying glassThe broad subject of effectively managing corporate records covers ten topics (1) basics of corporate records management; (2) fundamentals of effective corporate records management; (3) establishing and maintaining a corporate records management program; (4) legal issues involved in a corporate records management program; (5) other issues involving corporate records; (6) considerations for computer files and electronic records; (7) auditing corporate records; (8) managing corporate information and knowledge; (9) developing and implementing a corporate records management practice; and (10) forms and exhibits relating to corporate records. This blog post addresses the issues involved in establishing and maintaining a corporate records management program.  It involves a conversation with a lawyer who is advising clients that either has a dysfunctional records management program or a new organization that is faced with establishing one in the first place.

Lawyer advising clients about establishing and maintaining a corporate records management program: What should be the first thing I consider when considering improving an existing corporate record management program (CMP) or a new organization with one?

Ed Dietel: Improving an existing (CMP) or establishing a new one in a new organization are two radically different challenges.  It is like renovating an old house or building a new one from scratch.  In the first case, bad habits and poor organization need to first be dealt with just like the effort needed to gut an old house before renovations can begin.  The lawyer advising clients with a dysfunctional records program must first understand why that program is dysfunctional.  What are those clients doing wrong that needs to be made better?  Once the lawyer has that understanding, he or she can begin to (1) determine if all the record management requirements are being met, (2) correct the dysfunctional program’s structure and (3) begin the educational process to train the record creators and record keepers in effective record management practices.

A lawyer responsible for establishing a record management practice from scratch for a new organization, needs to first understand what types of records are being receives and created, by whom, and for what retention purposes – both legal and to satisfy future business needs.  Once that lawyer has this information, he or she can them structure a records management system to meet the new company’s requirements.  Finally, the lawyer must train both the record creators and record keepers in effective record management practices.

Titles by Ed Dietel