Argyle CLO Event: Modern Problems, Modern Solutions

The one topic that seemed to come up throughout the day was the expanded role of today's Chief Legal Officer (CLO) as business executive, strategist and risk manager. The question that was regularly posed is how the CLO can ensure risk readiness in a world that is global, digital and rich with information and regulations.


24 March 2011

I recently attended and presented at the Argyle Chief Legal Officer Leadership Forum at the New York Athletic Club in New York City. Approximately 200 senior General Counsel from large corporations across multiple industries were at the event. The purpose was for these thought leaders to share ideas through speeches, panels and networking about the most pressing issues they face today.

The one topic that seemed to come up throughout the day was the expanded role of today's Chief Legal Officer (CLO) as business executive, strategist and risk manager. The question that was regularly posed is how the CLO can ensure risk readiness in a world that is global, digital and rich with information and regulations.

It was also clear that these CLOs are looking for modern solutions to these modern problems. Here are some of their quotes at the event:

  • “It is crucial to have an effective technology solution to manage information -- it must by a single solution rather than storing company information in multiple places on multiple systems”
  • “There is one imperative that overrides everything else for managing and keeping control of information in today’s world -- and that is security
  • “The CLO must fulfill his or her expanded role as business partner and risk manager by looking for new ways of doing things and new solutions – we can never say this is how we’ve always done it”

While digesting what these leaders were focusing on, I devoted the day to having discussions with them to further probe their needs. I asked CLOs what their dual role as lawyer and business executive means from an information management perspective. They primarily spoke to new challenges stemming from collaboration with a lot more parties inside and outside of the business -- sharing information with many more functions and levels of management inside the business, and additional external parties on issues relating to business strategy. And they told me that being a business executive means that they’re now responsible for identifying and presenting new cost efficient technology solutions to their CEOs, CTOs and CFOs.

I also asked the CLOs that I met with to rank their priorities relating to risk management. They centered on security and risk readiness as the two issues that keep them up at night.  The fear of a WikiLeaks type security breach and passing sensitive information through old channels that are not secure like email and FedEx is of paramount concern. They also talked a great deal about risk readiness, which they defined as the need to have a vast amount of information all in one place to get control of content and be prepared at a moment’s notice to comply with regulatory and information requests -- whether they need to swiftly produce information for the Dodd-Frank compliance structure or any other compliance needs. As I networked throughout the Argyle event, CLOs told me that they do not have adequate intelligence on where all of the company information is located, what the risks are, how many contracts or regulatory filings are active or up for renewal, and other core questions tied to risk.

I ultimately asked the CLOs whether they have heard of Intralinks. Some of them knew Intralinks because, for example, they are part of the community of thousands of lawyers and bankers that have used our SaaS-based solutions for M&A and Debt Capital Markets work for years. Some of them were not as familiar with Intralinks. Either way, all of the CLOs I met with were highly interested in our discussion about how Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management was developed for CLOs to meet the very needs of information control, risk management and security that they had been discussing all day at the Argyle event.

Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management offers a set of SaaS-based solutions to gain greater control over information and drive more efficient processes, specifically addressing Legal Repository, Contract Management, Regulatory Filing, Board of Directors Communication, and Legal Collaboration with law firms and outsourcing businesses. The Intralinks platform is an evolution to control of information – version control, easy and comprehensive access to information, control of documents passed back and forth with regulatory agencies, law firms and other external parties, and permissions for who see what and for how long.

The CLOs I spoke with at the event were also interested in how easy Intralinks is to use, set up, and access 24/7 around the world. And we discussed how companies are realizing cost efficiencies by using Intralinks’ hosted web solution to reduce storage costs, FedEx charges and labor costs. Of course, after a day focused on concerns about risk and security, we had compelling discussions about Intralinks’ leadership in providing security of information and the secure exchange of documents and communications both inside and outside of the firewall.

Intralinks will be involved in other CLO events throughout the world this year, and I look forward to ongoing discussions about new solutions for today’s risk and information security challenges.