Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has launched a new Data Solutions Practice Group, making it the first – and only – law firm in Michigan to provide an integrated team approach to full life-cycle support for business data.
More than 30 experienced attorneys, records management specialists, data and information technology specialists and paralegals comprise the new Data Solutions team, which offers more than a dozen services focused on four primary areas:
- Information governance and records management
- Electronic discovery
- Privacy and security
- Employee education and training
Data Solutions is co-chaired by B. Jay Yelton III
, a partner who practices in the firm’s Kalamazoo office, and Dawn Garcia Ward
, a senior counsel who practices in the firm’s Holland office. Other members of the team include:
- Michael G. Brady, a partner in the Southfield office who concentrates his practice on complex business litigation and internal compliance investigations
- Norbert F. Kugele, a partner and Certified Information Privacy Professional/US in the Grand Rapids office who specializes in privacy and information security law
- Jonathan E. Lauderbach, a former circuit court judge and partner in the Midland office who has extensive experience in procedural aspects of litigation and electronic records management
- Brian P. Lennon, a former federal prosecutor and partner in the Grand Rapids office who focuses his litigation practice on criminal defense, corporate investigations, computer crimes and compliance
- Jonathan E. Moore, a partner and litigator in the Grand Rapids office who has an emphasis in corporate governance litigation, supply chain litigation and e-discovery
- Janet L. Ramsey, a partner and litigator in the Grand Rapids office who has developed expertise in complex commercial litigation and intellectual property litigation
Warner Norcross has made a substantial investment to retrofit a portion of its new Kalamazoo office to house the highly collaborative, state-of-the-art Data Solutions Project Management Center and to acquire and develop advanced e-discovery and litigation support team members and software solutions.
“Not only does Warner Norcross understand business, we understand data, which is an increasingly important but rare combination in today’s corporate environment,” Yelton explained. “By creating the Data Solutions group, we are able to offer companies a single source of experienced professionals who can help them fully and cost effectively manage their data.
“While some firms specialize in records management or offer e-discovery services, we are the first Michigan law firm to assemble an in-house team of experts with a proven track record of successfully advising Fortune 500 companies on records management, e-discovery, security breaches and compliance issues.”
The new Data Solutions team has broad experience working with medical device manufacturers, auto suppliers, insurance providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, health care and life sciences services, financial institutions, retailers and other industries. Michigan clients who have already tapped into its expertise include Amway Corp., Stryker Corp., Spectrum Health, the state of Michigan and Holland Hospital.
“Data is the lifeblood of any business, but unmanaged data becomes clutter – or, worse still, a liability,” Ward noted. “With more than 190 billion e-mails being sent globally every business day, companies are generating data at an ever-accelerating pace. Without the proper controls in place, the exposure – and the expense – of poor data management can be a huge drain on a business.
“With an eye on budgets, our team can provide cost-effective strategies that leverage technology to achieve a company’s goals. We utilize best practices and appropriate staffing, including a dedicated document review team of trained staff attorneys, to ensure results.”
The integrated suite of services offered begins with records information management. Warner Norcross document management specialists will create a cost-effective and easy-to-follow policy for a company, based on its location, size and industry.
Ward explained that unnecessary data retention is not only expensive, it can be risky, exposing a business to damaging revelations during the discovery phase of litigation. Warner Norcross has developed a proprietary database of retention requirements that allows it to quickly and accurately create record retention schedules tailored specifically for a business.
On the flip side of that coin, Warner Norcross also offers defensible data disposition, detailing what and when outdated and unnecessary data and documents may be disposed of and, if necessary, defending those decisions in court. The firm also offers litigation readiness services, which are designed to reduce the risks and costs associated with litigation, and compliance audits and risks assessments to identify potential weak spots and areas of vulnerability upfront.
Warner Norcross has a robust e-discovery platform, allowing it to effectively guide companies through review, analysis and production of electronic information for litigation. Recognizing that, on average, only one in 1,000 pages of information reviewed during e-discovery winds up as an exhibit in court, the Data Solutions team offers:
- Data analytics, which utilizes predictive coding, technology-assisted review and other emerging technologies to better manage document review while reducing costs.
- Discovery planning, budgets and project management, which allows the team to provide an early case assessment, develop a data preservation plan and budget, identify review protocols and provide status reporting.
- Managed data review and production, which offers a state-of-the-art e-discovery center staffed by 10+ full-time project managers and staff attorneys who are experienced in data review.
Warner Norcross also offers data privacy and security services to help companies to identify personally identifiable information that must be kept private and then develop the appropriate policies and procedures to safeguard that data. Because information is increasingly being stored in the cloud, the Data Solutions team will also negotiate contracts to appropriately safeguard personally identifiable information.
In the event of a security incident, the Data Solutions team offers data breach guidance and response. The team can lead the investigation of a potential security breach to determine whether identifiable data has been compromised and coordinate with law enforcement. In the event notification is necessary, the team will ensure that the business complies with breach notification laws.
Finally, Data Solutions will offer employee education and training to ensure that data policies and procedures are both understood and executed properly.
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About Warner Norcross
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is a corporate law firm with 230 attorneys practicing in eight offices throughout Michigan: Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb County, Midland, Muskegon and Southfield. By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross forges a better partnership with its clients.