Season 2 Episode 1
This is the first episode in Season 2 of the Law Firm Data Governance podcast, the data governance companion for law firm leaders who want to know more about implementing and improving data governance.
Over this season, I’ll explore a law firm’s drivers and benefits of data governance. So whether you’re making the business case to create your data governance capability or making the business case to get some help to get started with data governance, I hope that this season helps set you up for success.
In this episode, I’ll explore why law firms need data governance and set the scene for the rest of this season’s episodes.
Law Firm Data Governance Podcast
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Welcome to Season Two of the law firm Data Governance Podcast.
I’m CJ Anderson, founder of Iron Carrot, and I’m thrilled to be back with another season of the data governance Companion for law firm leaders who want to know more about implementing and improving data governance. Each week, I’ll help you with your law firm’s data governance initiative by sharing something that I’ve learned in my 20-plus years of working with information and data in law firms.
Over this season, I’ll explore a law firms drivers for and the benefits of data governance. So whether you’re making the business case to create your data governance capability or you’re making the business case to get some help to get started with data governance, I hope that this season helps to set you up for success. This is the first episode in Season Two of the law firm Data Governance Podcast.
In this episode I’ll explore why law firms need data governance and set the scene for the rest of this season’s episodes. Data governance is essential for law firms because data is an economic asset. It can help firms improve their operations, increase revenue, solidify relationships with clients, produce new revenue streams, improve the quality of current products, establish competitive differentiation, allow innovation and reduce risks and I’m sure a lot of other things too.
Innovative law firms have big goals for improving the client experience through data innovation. But the problem is that many law firms struggle with a lack of data maturity and alignment between their strategic objectives and the siloed reality of their data.
So why do law firms need data governance? Well, data governance by design changes the historical law firm approach to managing data in business services or legal practise silos. Instead, it looks to manage critical data assets cross functionally for the benefit of all. It creates a unified vision of data; The siloed approach starts at the top bring your leadership together to create a shared vision for what they want the firms data to be and to do.
Please encourage them to focus on their data communities and commonalities, not the data outliers, and draw a clear line between the data vision and the firm’s strategic goals. Data governance develops a framework for supporting and educating people to work collaboratively and to improve cross functional communication and transparency.
This framework provides a focus and a structure for data decision making and a network for your data governance centre of excellence to leverage. Data governance enables cross functional working towards common goals. When you help the framework groups collectively and collaboratively deliver your data vision, they support the firm strategic objectives.
When people understand why they’re doing something and its benefit to them and not just to the firm, they are more likely to participate in that activity and to be open to change. Of course it can be challenging to get this right. I’ve encountered a problematic example of all of these issues when I helped an international law firm develop and implement their data governance foundation roadmap.
Most data owners and subject matter experts or data stewards didn’t know their counterparts in that firm and in the other functions. Cross functional communication on data issues happened via the technology team and the most significant and problematic data challenges were historical, kind of five-plus years in nature and came from a lack of joined, updated decision making. But the more time the stakeholders spent together workshopping the firms data goals and objectives, the more open they became to solving problems together.
Because we took the time to help them understand that vision and to give them the space to share their knowledge and expertise, they got to know each other. So when that new framework was operational, cross functional communications had already improved. Those stakeholders were emailing or calling each other for help.
As we discussed in the first episode of season one, data governance is a people in process topic first and a technology as a process enabler topic second. Most firms already have Infosec/Information Security, Information Governance, Records Management, Data Protection, sometimes via their general counsel’s office, and an Enterprise Architecture capability.
Data governance is the missing piece of that data jigsaw for the firm. Law firms need to add a data governance capability to help them break down silos and to work towards common data goals. These data goals can be prioritised by focusing on the items that directly add value to the firm by supporting or delivering on the firms strategy.
If your law firm strategy can only be delivered successfully by managing critical data assets cross functionally for the benefit of all, and creating a unified vision of data, then you need data governance. I think we’re now in a great place to dive deeper into the drivers and benefits of data governance in future episodes.
I’ve talked about how data governance is essential for law firms because data is an economic asset. We learned that data governance changes the historical law firm approach to managing data in business service or legal practice silos, and data governance develops a framework to improve cross functional communication and transparency. Law firms need to add data governance capability to help them break down silos and to work towards common data goals that support the firm’s strategy.
Thank you for joining me for this law firm Data Governance Podcast episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Please share like and review this episode so that more law firm leaders can learn about data governance. Join me next time for Season Two Episode Two: Law firm drivers for data governance. Make sure you never miss an episode by following me on LinkedIn if you’ve not already done so, and please get in touch if you’ve got questions or topic ideas for future episodes.