The Common Need of Worldwide General Counsel

In my role as Product Marketing VP of the Global Legal Segment for Intralinks, I just completed an international speaking tour to engage General Counsel around the world about their most pressing needs. The goal was to have a conversation about how Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management can provide solutions for those needs.


19 July 2011

In my role as Product Marketing VP of the Global Legal Segment for Intralinks, I just completed an international speaking tour to engage General Counsel around the world about their most pressing needs. The goal was to have a conversation about how Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management can provide solutions for those needs.

It truly was a global tour over the past month. I participated on a panel on technology solutions at the ACC Europe annual conference in Berlin, where I had the opportunity to share perspectives with in-house counsel from across Europe over the course of three days. Intralinks led a panel at the ALM Corporate Counsel event in New York City, where I served as moderator and heard the viewpoints from General Counsel in the United States. And Intralinks hosted a dinner event at the Savoy Hotel in London for a thought leadership discussion on risk readiness with senior corporate counsel based in the United Kingdom.

As I reflect back on these travels what strikes me most is the core, common need that General Counsel consistently communicated to me regardless of where they are located. There was a singular focus that was top of mind for these lawyers: what is the optimal way to become risk ready through effective information management? In their role as chief risk manager, how can in-house counsel ensure that global corporate information is ready at a moment’s notice for compliance and government audits, anticipated or unanticipated litigation or deals, new financial reform regulations and reporting requirements, or for a range of other purposes? These General Counsel may not know the nature of the specific risk or requirement to produce information, but they know it is coming. Another key concern is how the legal function of a company can effectively track contracts and regulatory filings across various worldwide divisions. If I ask General Counsel how many contracts or regulatory filings are active or coming up for renewal they do not know the answers to those questions and that makes them uncomfortable, and that is risk. Finally, this common information management need includes risk relating to information security. Whether it is concern over the lack of security of email, FedEx, courier or fax, hackers in the age of WikiLeaks, or loss of control when documents leave the walls of the company and land at government agencies or other external destinations, information security is a major area of focus.

Sure, there are differences across global markets. For example, when it comes to financial reform, lawyers in the United States are focused on interpreting the complexities of Dodd-Frank, whereas in Europe they talk more about the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and the Bribery Act of 2010. (If you are interested in learning more about global financial reform, Intralinks just published a white paper on that topic.) In-house counsel in Germany contend with more stringent privacy regulations as compared to the United Kingdom or the United States, and that is very relevant to their information management strategy. And there are other differences. But again it is readily apparent that these General Counsel around the world share common risks and needs relating to information management and information security. Yet what I hear is more of a framing of the issues rather than offering solutions for today’s challenges.

The vision of Intralinks for Corporate Legal Management is to be a new risk readiness solution -- a modern solution for these modern problems. Intralinks provides a single, searchable hosted platform for the central control of information, serving as a private world for the legal department to manage information and risk. It is a Software-as-a-Service environment for General Counsel to manage their full eco-system, both inside and outside the company. One of the keys here is the breadth of our solution so Intralinks can truly be used as a one stop shop to manage documents, contracts, regulations, Board of Directors, law firms, everything General Counsel need to do their job well both inside and outside of the business. With our expertise in security, Intralinks can also serve as a company’s sole secure exchange mechanism, and the legal department can be the funnel for exchanging information in and out of the business. Intralinks provides a collaborative community where risk and information management, workflows for tracking and creating contracts and regulatory filings, and interaction with individuals and groups is managed in a singular way that is easy to use, access and implement.

In a recent Intralinks webinar for General Counsel on risk readiness and financial reform, we polled the audience on whether their legal department deploys a technology solution to manage information and risk. Only 27% of in-house counsel on the call responded yes, while 73% said no. I encourage you to learn more about Intralinks as a technology solution that is uniquely suited to solve the common worldwide need of General Counsel related to risk and information management.