General Counsel and Managing Risk
Intralinks decided to host the webcast because risk — both managing and preparing for it — is the crux of what keeps a General Counsel up at night. The Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, or Corporate Secretary (sometimes all three roles are filled by the same person), is responsible for protecting their company from risk… a tall order in today’s global, information-rich world.
26 April 2011
If you put four lawyers in a room, you may be surprised how animated the conversation can get when they start talking about risk. We recently hosted our first webcast dedicated to Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management. The webcast focused on “Risk Readiness and Information Security in Today’s World” and was moderated by Michael Asen, VP, product marketing, global legal and compliance segment at Intralinks. He was joined by Dave Curran, EVP, Business and Legal affairs, Intralinks, who chaired the panel; Juliette Pryor, EVP, GC and chief ethics officer, U.S. Foodservice; Susan Portin, president, IMPACT Management Solutions, Inc. and affiliated with Celerant Consulting, Inc. Over 150 people registered for the webcast, representing the legal departments of corporations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to mid- to small-sized enterprises.
Intralinks decided to host the webcast because risk — both managing and preparing for it — is the crux of what keeps a General Counsel up at night. The Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, or Corporate Secretary (sometimes all three roles are filled by the same person), is responsible for protecting their company from risk… a tall order in today’s global, information-rich world. With some companies employing tens and even hundreds of thousands employees, locations spread around the world, and terabytes of information being exchanged every day, how does one begin to control risk?
Some of the main concerns and questions that Intralinks regularly hears about relating to risk include:
- Losing control of corporate information hosted in various locations. READ: Will I be able to find the information when I need it for regulatory or compliance purposes?
- Inability to manage and track contracts through their lifecycle. READ: Am I exposed to risks that I am unaware of?
- Ensuring regulatory compliance across multiple jurisdictions. READ: Am I doing everything I can to be compliant with new legislation such as Dodd-Frank?
- Safeguarding the security of sensitive corporate documents. READ: Is it safe to store everything in my file cabinets?
- Transmitting and storing information in ways that are not secure. READ: Can unintended parties intercept my confidential information when I share it with outside parties?
During the sessions, Juliette Pryor shared her view that all companies, whether public or private, have reporting requirements to investors and should focus their risk readiness program on transparency and organization. Dave Curran interjected that risk readiness programs should take a cross-functional approach, focusing not only on the content that is shared, but also the communication with parties like outside counsel and governmental regulatory bodies surrounding the content. He stated that it would be ideal for businesses to implement and access a single online system where they can securely manage all documents, contracts, regulations, and board of director communications. Companies and their law firms can then safely exchange information outside the firewall and record discussions around the information.
One tip to maintain organization in the corporate legal department was given by Ms. Pryor who recommends that companies take advantage of strategic corporate events like an M&A or IPO transaction to manage long-term risk readiness. She stated that a company is at its most organized state when going through a rigorous due diligence process. General Counsel can leverage tools like Virtual Data Rooms (VDRs) to provide long term, continued organization beyond the lifecycle of the transaction. VDRs are developed to organize corporate documentation in a single, secure environment that can be exchanged with authorized users. This model of a secure document repository with collaboration tools and workflows can continue beyond a strategic transaction to become an enterprise-hosted solution like Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management.
Overall, it was a very interesting conversation. My take away is that a single, secure system that manages critical information both inside and outside the firewall is key to helping General Counsel take control of their company’s risk readiness program in today’s ever changing environment.
Katherine is a member of the Intralinks Alternative Investments team and proud member of the Intralinks family since 2010. In the past decade, she has held a number of global sales and marketing leadership roles and is taking that collective experience direct to the customer. She is thrilled to be executing on the vision to be the most dynamic force for digital transformation of the global alternative investments ecosystem.