Deloitte[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

Although more than one-third (35.5 percent) of corporate legal and information technology (IT) teams say they are working to improve communication across departmental lines, a mere 8.1 percent of executives believe their company teams fully understand each other, according to a new Deloitte poll.

“Legal and IT teams have been working together more closely each year, responding to litigation or regulatory investigations.  These fast-paced, complex efforts to locate, collect, preserve and analyze electronic data—evidence, really—are crucial to defending corporate reputations, legal claims and more,” said Mark Michels, a director in the discovery practice for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services.

Michels adds, “Unfortunately, each year there are cases that hit the headlines in which poor legal and IT cross-team communication and collaboration results in electronic discovery omissions.”

Nearly 1-in-5 respondents (19.3 percent) says their organizations’ IT and legal teams do not collaborate well.

“Sometimes the first step to improving legal and IT teams’ collaboration is simply to network within your organization,” continued Michels.  “In my experience, finance, risk and compliance teams who work with legal and IT separately can really help the two groups bridge the organizational gap between them. Teaming with other departments can be invaluable in shifting discovery efforts away from fire-fighting mode into a streamlined, repeatable process.”

When asked whether the experience of a chief information officer (CIO) and general counsel (GC) enabled them to bridge the gap, 20.2 percent of respondents report that their company CIO and GC do not understand each other’s field. However, 16 percent indicated they have experience in each other’s fields; 4.5 percent report their CIO has some knowledge of the law and 5.9 state their GC has some knowledge of technology.

“Industry aside, in-house legal teams commonly rely on IT leaders as expert witnesses in court or regulatory hearings to describe how electronic evidence was located, collected, preserved and analyzed,” continued Michels.  “Having these teams work together now can only benefit everyone involved.”

Deloitte polled more than 990 business professionals from industries including financial services, consumer and industrial products and technology,

[Image courtesy: Deloitte]