Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Time Is Now: Preparing for GDPR | Part Two of Three

Compliance with all of the regulations that apply to your firm’s marketing and business development activities is critical to the reputation and success of your firm. Staying on top of the rules and deadlines of these regulations, however, can be a daunting prospect.

Your firm may be affected by regulations that are created and enforced by both local and foreign entities. Whether certain regulations apply to your business depends on the nature of your client relationships and the scope of your firm’s operations. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay consistently informed of the implications of global regulations that could impact your firm’s compliance.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation applies to the personal data of all individuals who reside in the European Union (EU) and it’s intended to return control of that personal data to each EU citizen. Depending on the nature of your business, GDPR could certainly apply to your firm—even if you have no physical presence in Europe.

The GDPR, officially titled Regulation (EU) 2016/679, is issued by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission, replacing the data protection Directive 95/46/EC from 1995. The GDPR itself is an 88-page PDF covering the new guidelines in exhaustive detail.


The GDPR regulation asserts that organizations that collect, process, and secure personal data of EU citizens must abide by specific privacy principles. This means that law and professional services firms are evaluating the implications of GDPR on their operations to determine how it affects them.  Here are a few highlights of the regulation:

  • GDPR gives EU citizens and residents control of their personal data
  • GDPR applies to companies, government agencies, and other organizations offering goods or services to people in the EU
  • GDPR applies to organizations that collect and analyze data of EU residents
  • GDPR applies to organizations that do not have a physical business presence in the EU if the organizations store or process personal information of EU residents


Noncompliance with this regulation can lead to serious consequences. The potential penalties include:

  • Written warnings in cases of initial and unintentional noncompliance
  • Periodic data protection audits
  • Fines of up to 2% of global revenues or 10 million euros, whichever is higher, for violation of specific provisions
  • Fines of up to 4% of global revenues or 20 million euros, whichever is higher, for violation of specific provisions.


If it’s determined that GDPR affects your firm, it’s important that you demonstrate compliance by May 25, 2018. The deadline is looming, so if your firm isn’t preparing, it’s certainly time to get started!

Fortunately, a wealth of information about GDPR compliance is available. One resource is this practical 10-step plan that outlines the steps necessary to evaluate your risk and ensure compliance. The plan reveals action you can take right now to help get your firm prepared for the GDPR, including project initiation, GDPR awareness, data risk assessment, policy and procedure adjustments, privacy notice development, understanding and complying with the rights of data subjects, ensuring compliant processing of personal data, and incident/crisis management.

For even more valuable information, be sure to contact your InterAction® Account Manager for an exclusive invitation to the webinar series covering the ways that InterAction tools can be used to execute GDPR compliance plans.


Ensuring GDPR compliance can do much more than prevent financial penalties and reputation risk for your firm. This is an opportunity to improve the quality and accuracy of your client and prospect data and provide greater transparency concerning the firm’s collection and processing of information. Taking just a few steps can improve client trust and loyalty to your firm.

It’s also a good idea to evaluate the relevant technologies and software applications used at your firm and understand how your vendors plan to support your GDPR compliance needs. Once you’ve established what your firm needs to do to become and remain compliant, you should share this information with your software vendors so that they can back your efforts.

GDPR will be a serious challenge for some law firms, even those based in the United States and Canada. The clock is ticking toward the May 25, 2018, deadline, so prompt action is critical.

Be sure to contact your InterAction Account Manager for an exclusive invitation to our webinar series covering how InterAction tools can be used to execute GDPR compliance plans.


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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Future of Corporate Education: Artificial Intelligence

Ask someone what comes to mind when they hear “Artificial Intelligence in Education” and they will likely reference the futuristic robots portrayed in movies and TV shows like “The Jetsons”.

In truth, artificial intelligence (AI) in education extends so much further than the teacher. AI is becoming a staple of instructional design because of its ability to integrate technology and enhance learning. AI  technology tools, ranging from whiteboard tools to assessment tools, encourage learners to digest content more meaningfully while enhancing comprehension by targeting their learning style.

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Artificial Intelligence in Corporate Training

AI isn’t just limited to traditional academic settings. More and more corporate training departments use AI in their instructional designs. Before we all jump on the AI education bandwagon by flooding our employees with e-Learning, Prezi presentations, and robots, let’s pinpoint how AI and education should intersect.

The age-old question in education persists: how do we know if our training is effective? Specifically, does our training result in employees adapting behavior that makes them more productive? Thanks to AI technology, we can keep modern learners better engaged with real-world applications for new skills, increasing the likelihood that information will be understood and retained.

The Shift to Employee-Centered Design

Resist the urge to add AI to your education programs unless you have indicators that it can increase employee productivity. The AI tools that integrate into the learning content should support the design, not drive the design. Today’s learners are looking for content that has an employee-centered design. Students want learning to be just as easy and intuitive as any app on their smartphones. Great AI tools provide a slicker experience. Again, how do we demonstrate effectiveness?

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Using AI to Measure Results

As I wrote in June 2017, you can increase end-user adoption by focusing on change management efforts throughout a project. Armed with data and insight, corporate trainers and designers can determine whether employees are becoming more productive.

Recently, we partnered with an AmLaw 10 client to develop their end-user adoption and change management strategy during their CRM deployment. The client was sharply focused on using AI to deliver meaningful data to the firm’s end users. Tapping into natural curiosity and a competitive spirit, the business development team created insightful one-click-away reports and newsletters. End users now devour this monthly information to see if they’re listed as “top individual contributors” and “top practice groups.” The firm used AI to support their end-user training goals and have seen firm-wide adoption of the system.

Education Is Still about Effectiveness

AI is the latest buzzword and it’s a huge realm of data science, including machine learning. But data without context is not meaningful. The data leads to information, which leads to knowledge. Effective corporate education takes knowledge to the next step by demonstrating insight about our learners and their behavior. Leveraging technology tools can provide learners with a personalized feel, getting us halfway to the fundamental goal of changing behavior. Using AI-driven insights to show effectiveness is the critical sweet spot in next-generation, effective corporate education.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Herschel Potts, 25 of Lubbock, Killed in Gas Leak Explosion

Herschel Potts, 25 of Lubbock, Texas, was killed Friday when the house he was in was engulfed in flames. The fire affected 80% of the structure. Fire marshals determined the cause of the fire was an attic gas leak that ignited. Fire fighters were called to the scene just before 10 p.m. Friday evening, and... Read More

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Amtrak Train Derailment in Washington Leaves Several Dead

Amtrak train 501 derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40 a.m. PST Monday. At least 77 people have been taken to hospitals, and multiple fatalities have been confirmed. At least one train car fell off the bridge and is dangling onto the Interstate 5 freeway. There is a curve in the track immediately before the bridge... Read More

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Best Ways to Maximize the Value of Your Legal Department

There’s no doubt that corporate legal departments have their hands full now more than ever. Along with controlling legal spend and managing matters, your department is expected to be a strategic partner to the overall organization equipped with valuable business metrics. Any department within an organization is expected to demonstrate its worth, but this is especially true for legal departments, as they run the risk of being viewed as merely cost centers. How can you provide the level of accountability that’s expected and improve your value? Here are some practical tips.


Provide Thorough and Accurate Information

Efficient communication is key to operating a successful legal department. One of the best ways to prove your value is by providing timely, accurate information that paints a full picture of your legal spend and matters. Business strategies rely on data, so providing up-to-date reporting that incorporates key metrics, such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Vendor Scorecards, is essential. With the help of an Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) solution, you can provide effective, comprehensive, and relevant reports that support the specific needs of your organization.

Deliver Tangible Returns

Most likely, you’re not only required to support your organization, but you’re also being asked to operate your department like a business. This means showing a strong return on investment and proving tangible savings on legal spend. Manual invoice review and processing is so time consuming that switching to automated invoice processing and billing compliance results in a significant cost savings above and beyond any expenses incurred for system implementation.

Developing an accurate matter-level budget is another essential component of managing legal spend. Financial data should be easily available at a micro or macro level so that quick and responsible decisions can be made on behalf of the department. An ELM system can help you to completely understand the financial state of matters and even forecast future spending.

Utilizing alternative fee agreements (AFAs) can also help legal departments to predict expenses, minimize costs, and manage risk. With the right insight, you can review market rates, determine how other businesses are using AFAs, and utilize AFAs to your advantage.

Solidify Your Status as a Strategic Partner

Now more than ever, corporate legal departments are being asked to step in as business strategists in addition to their role as legal advisors. With the help of business and industry knowledge, general counsel are expected not only to manage risk but also to help drive business outcomes. To provide this level of input, they must have access to the data needed to make important, strategic business-minded decisions. Obtaining accurate, high-level data requires a system that can support every aspect of setting, tracking, and reporting on KPIs as well as easy-to-read dashboards that allow you to quickly and easily visualize this information.

Offering comparative business insights is another way to contribute to the overall business strategy of your organization. When business leaders understand what rates similar organizations are paying for the same type of matters, they can better negotiate with their law firms. To do this requires accurate benchmark data. This is why having the ability to analyze and compare your own legal costs and budgets against aggregated industry data incorporated into your ELM solution can make a huge impact on your department.

Maximize Your Efficiency

When it comes down to it, your value as a department is heavily influenced by your efficiency. A legal department that operates as seamlessly as all other areas within an organization – or even more so – is one that’s respected. Your department should have quick access to matter information, staff assignments, and legal review requests. When it’s all available through your matter management software, time is saved and efficiency gained.

Leverage Technology and Partner Expertise

ELM solutions are coming to the rescue for legal departments that are now expected to demonstrate their value just as comprehensively as any other department within an organization. By serving as a foundation on which corporate legal departments can build a solid system for reporting, budgeting, managing risk, and offering insights, this technology is transforming the way that businesses are run.

CounselLink®  is a cloud-based software solution for enterprise legal management that’s helping corporate legal departments increase their efficiency and improve their value. Designed to help you manage matters, risk, and legal spend more efficiently, CounselLink also provides analytics and benchmarking tools so that you can make smarter, more data-driven business decisions.

You should expect more from your ELM solution than just software. With CounselLink, you can leverage the expertise of a reputable industry-leading expert partner. To help you drive and maximize business success, you need to know you can count on a committed team of implementation, customer support, and account managers for a long-lasting partnership. CounselLink measures its success by how effectively we help our customers achieve their goals with an innovative, lasting ELM solution and trusted, expert guidance.

Are you ready to discover more ways that your legal department can deliver maximum value to your organization? Download our eBook, Top 5 Ways to Improve the Value of Your Legal Department. You’ll gain valuable insights and learn how CounselLink can help you achieve your objectives.


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

PRESS RELEASE – Child-Sex-Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Amarillo Neurosurgeon Dr. Jeffrey D. Cone

AMARILLO, Texas—Attorney Kevin Glasheen and the personal injury law firm of Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, LLP filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning in Potter County District Court on behalf of a minor child after the he was sexually abused by Dr. Jeffrey D. Cone, a neurosurgeon who owns and operates the Neurological Surgery clinic in Amarillo,... Read More

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The GDPR: Enhancing Data Protection by Design


In just under 6 months, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force.

On May 25, 2018, the GDPR will replace the EU Data Protection Directive (1995) and the UK Data Protection Act (1998).  The regulation affects all EU companies that process or store personal information and companies not in the EU that process or store personal information for EU residents.  Differing from the prior regulations, the GDPR focuses on the privacy and rights of the individual.  Consumers and data subjects should have the right to know what data is held about them, as well as how it is being held and secured.

One Set of Rules For All the EU

The GDPR creates one set of rules for all EU member countries.  While the prior directives could be interpreted and implemented differently by each country in the EU, the new regulation provides one uniform regulation implemented across the entire EU by one supervisory authority.

Personal Data Is Redefined and Expanded.

The Data Protection Directive defined personal data as a person’s name, photo, email address, phone number, address, and personal identification numbers (SSN, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.).  The GDPR expands personal data to include such things as IP addresses, mobile device identifiers, geolocation information, biometric data (finger prints, retinal scans, hand geometry, etc.).  Also included are an individual’s physical, psychological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity.

Defines Individual Rights

The GDPR provides the following rights for individuals:

  1. The right to be informed.  Companies must provide “fair processing information” to their data subjects, typically a privacy notice.
  2. The right of access which allows individuals to be aware of and verify the lawfulness of how their data is being processed.
  3. The right to rectification.  Allows the individual the right to correct their personal information if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
  4. The right to be forgotten.  The individual has the right to request the deletion or removal of their personal data where there is no longer a compelling reason to continue to keep it.
  5. The right to restrict processing.  Allows the individual to suppress processing of their information.
  6. The right to data portability.  Allows the individual to obtain and reuse their personal data for their own purposes across different services.
  7. The right to object.  The individual has a right to object to how their information is being processed.
  8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.  The individual has rights to object to automated decisions made without human intervention that could be potentially damaging.

Accountability and Governance

The accountability principle in article 5(2) requires that companies demonstrate that they comply with the principles of the GDPR and explicitly states that this is their responsibility.  This means that you need to implement appropriate technical and operational measures that ensure and demonstrate compliance across your organization. This can include HR policies, staff training, internal audits, etc.

In future posts, we will go into more detail on various aspects of GDPR and explore how InterAction can help you in your compliance efforts, ensuring that data protection is done by design, not as an afterthought.

Be sure to contact your InterAction Account Manager for an exclusive invitation to our webinar series covering how InterAction tools can be used to execute GDPR compliance plans.

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