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Dawn Garcia Ward

Senior Counsel | Email

  • Holland

    t. +1.616.396.3039

    f. +1.616.494.3539

Biography

Dawn Garcia Ward, a graduate of Notre Dame, is a pioneer in the field of data record information management (RIM) and information governance.  The former litigator has spent more than a decade advising Fortune 500 corporations and other businesses how to properly manage data – a practice that saves money and helps reduce legal risk.  She creates legally defensible document management programs that stand up in court and stand out on the bottom line.

Education

  • University of Notre Dame J.D. 1998
  • University of Notre Dame B.A. 1995 cum laude

Admitted

  • 1999, Michigan
  • 1998, New Mexico

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan
  • State Bar of New Mexico

Honors & Awards

  • Recipient of the Michigan West Coast Chamber's 2017 Minority Business Champion Award
  • Named as one of the "2016 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan" by The Grand Rapids Business Journal

Experience

Dawn's clients include world-class companies such as:

  • Johnson Controls, Inc.;
  • Amway; and
  • Wolverine World Wide, Inc.


Records Information Management Experience

  • Developed and implemented a company-wide RIM program from the ground up — including a record inventory and documentation memorializing the legal requirements and considerations, standards and best practices for thousands of official records — for a Fortune 500 global automotive supplier.
  • Advised a client with a nationwide presence on how to defensibly reduce the amount of its emails and implement a new automatic email deletion system, which ultimately saved the client $850,000.
  • Serve as lead outside counsel on all information governance matters for a Global Fortune 500 diversified, multi-industry organization that specializes, in part, in the manufacture of batteries.
  • Provide all legal citations, company-wide standards and best practices for hundreds of records for a Michigan-based, global company that offers thousands of products, from cosmetics to cleaning products.
  • Developed and implemented a company-wide RIM program from the ground up — including a record inventory and documentation memorializing the legal requirements and considerations, standards and best practices for hundreds of official records — for a global leader in powertrain solutions.
  • Developed and implemented a new company-wide RIM program — including U.S. and Canadian citations — for a North American building systems technology company.
  • Developed and implemented a company-wide RIM program from the ground up — including a record inventory and documentation memorializing the legal requirements and considerations, standards and best practices for hundreds of official records — for a global footwear manufacturer.
  • Created and implemented a RIM program — including a record inventory and documentation memorializing the legal requirements and considerations, standards and best practices — for a Michigan reciprocal insurance exchange.
  • Reviewed and updated the record retention schedule, standards and best practices (with the latest legal requirements) for a biomedical research organization.
  • Advised a supply chain management company regarding the retention of certain records and the scanning and retention of electronic records.
  • Advised one of the largest banks in Michigan regarding the retention of certain records and the conversion of hard copy records into electronic records.
  • Advised a global manufacturer and distributor of construction castings regarding email management and the creation and implementation of a RIM policy.
  • Reviewed and revised a RIM policy for a nonprofit Grand Rapids museum and library.
  • Advised a construction equipment provider regarding the legal retention of certain records.
  • Created and helped implement a backup data policy for a private investment and financial management firm.
  • Advised a global automotive and industrial parts manufacturer regarding its RIM policy.
  • Advised a Michigan-based accounting and consulting firm regarding the retention of certain records and the conversion of hard copy records into electronic records.
  • Reviewed and revised a Michigan museum's RIM policy and record retention schedule for purposes of compliance with the renewal of the organization's American Alliance of Museum (AAM) accreditation.
  • Reviewed and revised a West Michigan community foundation's RIM policy and record retention schedule.
  • Advised an American multinational food manufacturing company regarding the retention of certain environmental records.
  • Advised a Michigan banking corporation regarding email management and provided training to employees regarding the drafting and legal effect of electronic correspondence.
  • Advised a German-based global automotive supplier regarding email management, legal holds and cross-border discovery.
  • Reviewed and provided feedback regarding a telecommunication provider's RIM policy and record retention schedule.
  • Advised a Minnesota nonprofit corporation regarding the retention of certain broker-dealer records, investment records and the use of electronic storage systems.
  • Advised a Michigan sheet metal fabrication company regarding the retention of various types of insurance records, as well as records involving finances, retirement, contracts with the government and SEC documents.
  • Advised a lighting systems and equipment manufacturer regarding its overall RIM policy.
  • Advised a global office furniture manufacturer regarding benefits of a defensible RIM program and the legal requirements applicable to certain company records.
  • Advised a client in the frozen food industry regarding the retention government-required forms and reviewed and provided feedback regarding legal holds.
  • Advised a Michigan banking corporation regarding the retention of certain human resources records.
  • Advised a company that specializes in moving heavy equipment regarding the conversion of hard copy records into electronic records.
  • Advised an exterior building materials distributor regarding an email management policy and legal holds.
  • Advised an organization that provides products and services for the world's leading automotive, pharmaceutical, military goods, medical device, consumer goods and office furniture manufacturers regarding the legal requirements pertaining to certain company records.
  • Advised a Michigan-based community mental health department regarding its RIM policy.
  • Advised an electrical distributor regarding its RIM policy.
  • Provided an analysis and feedback for a forestry equipment manufacturer regarding the management of certain company records.
  • Advised an auto industry components supplier regarding its RIM policy and record retention schedules.
  • Advised an American paper and packaging manufacturer on the retention and disposition of certain environmental records.
  • Advised a leading investment advisor regarding the retention of certain pre-employment records.
  • Advised a leading green-cleaning corporation regarding scanning and destruction of hard copy records.
  • Advised a trucking company and freight hauler regarding the management of certain human resource records.


Data Privacy

  • Serve as outside counsel to a Michigan-based hospital, providing and implementing data privacy policies and responding to alleged data breaches.  


Pre-Litigation Readiness

  • Created owner’s manuals, instruction manuals and warnings for a Fortune 500, Tier 1 auto parts manufacturer.
  • Created owner’s manuals, instruction manuals and warnings for an education publishing company.


Litigation/Discovery Management

  • Assisted as national coordinating counsel for a Fortune Global 500 auto parts manufacturer; oversaw litigation across the United States to provide consistent defense strategies and timely and accurate discovery responses.

Leadership

Professional Affiliations

  • AIIM - Association for Information and Image Management
  • Sedona Conference
  • ARMA International

Community Affiliations

  • ARMA - West Michigan Chapter
    Board of Directors (2014-Present)
  • Hispanic Center of West Michigan (2008-2012)
  • Holland Hospital
    Board of Directors (2009-Present)
  • Holland Historical Trust
    Board of Trustees (2010-2014)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Social Media and the Workplace," Data Solutions Spring Symposium, Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 14, 2017, and Novi, Michigan, April 26, 2017
  • "Electronic Data Management - Where IP, IT and IG Intersect," Navigating the Intersection of Today's Automotive IP and IT, OESA seminar, Troy, Michigan, September 27, 2016
  • “Utilizing Technology Assist Review to Reduce an Organization's Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial Data,” Mid-Michigan ARMA Chapter Spring Seminar, Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 18, 2016
  • "Utilizing Technology Assisted Review to Reduce an Organizations's Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial Data," Data Solutions Spring Symposium, Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 11, 2016
  • Women In Defense-Michigan Chapter Mixer, Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 18, 2015
  • Data Solutions Symposium, Warner Norcross & Judd Seminar, Southfield, Michigan, June 24, 2015
  • "Inside the Head of Your Customers: Current Trends and Future Predictions," Professional Records & Information Services Management (PRISM) Conference, San Antonio, Texas, May 17-20, 2015
  • "To Keep or Not to Keep, That is the Question: Document Retention and Destruction," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants CPE Mega Conference, Livonia, Michigan, May 14, 2015
  • Data Solutions Symposium, Warner Norcross & Judd Seminar, Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 20, 2015
  • “Information Management Challenges of 2014” (A Panel Discussion), Annual Tri Chapter Meeting: Hosted by Western Michigan Chapter: Served as RIM expert, May 2014
  • “Current Issues Affecting Information Governance,” West Michigan ARMA Chapter Spring Seminar, 2014
  • “Document Management – Reducing Risk and Cost,” West Michigan Association of Legal Administrators, February 2014
  • "FOIA and Records Management from a Legal Perspective," Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, March 13, 2013
  • Facilitated roundtable discussion on security of student data and cyber-harassment on campus, Higher Education Strategy, Risk Management & Best Practices Seminar, Sept. 27, 2012, Grand Rapids
  • "Managing Legal Risk - Protecting Safety Data in Aviation Accident Litigation," Gulfstream Operators and Suppliers Conference in Savannah, Georgia, June 11, 2012
  • "Managing Legal Risks and Costs Associated with E-Discovery," ARMA West Michigan, April 2012
  • "Record Keeping and Retention," Warner Norcross Human Resources Seminar, May 25, 2011
  • "Managing Legal Risk - Protecting Safety Data in Aviation Accident Litigation," 56th Annual Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar, San Diego, California, April 2011

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