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A Better Partnership


Apr 2009
April 07, 2009

Warner Norcross Launches Records Information Management Practice

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has launched a new practice group designed to preserve, protect, access and maintain business records, no matter what format they are in.

The new Records Information Management Group designs, implements and oversees customized records retention programs for companies of all types and sizes to ensure that they preserve key business records as long as necessary and practicable. The multidisciplinary group, which draws upon attorneys with experience in environmental, insurance, employee benefits, healthcare, litigation and related practice areas, is knowledgeable in state, federal and international laws affecting records management policies.

Senior counsel Dawn Garcia Ward chairs the group, which has extensive experience in developing records policies for all aspects of business operations, including:

  • Accounting
  • Human resources
  • Employee benefits, including healthcare information
  • Information technology
  • Environmental
  • Product development
  • Purchasing
  • Sales
  • Shipping and transportation

"There is no such thing as 'one size fits all' when it comes to records management," Ward explained. "There are literally thousands of federal and state laws that govern record retention and destruction. If a business has operations in Europe, it will also be bound by a different and often stricter set of guidelines. Add to this the proliferation of e-mail and electronic records and it’s little wonder that many businesses either have no formal policies or routinely don’t follow them.

"This can be a mistake, though, particularly when litigation is involved. Our team has extensive expertise in developing programs tailored to a company's size and industry. We work to develop systems that are cost effective and operationally efficient, allowing businesses to have convenient access to their records without wasting time – or money – in trying to track down key pieces of information."

Ward noted that a good policy includes comprehensive information regarding key elements such as:

  • E-mail management
  • Electronic recordkeeping
  • Assignment of responsibilities
  • Provisions for the storage and protection of vital records
  • Formal hold policy
  • Record retention schedule
  • Application of the European Union Directive on Data Protection (95/46/EC)
  • Document destruction
  • Training and audits

"Records are a key resource for any company," Ward noted. "On a day-to-day basis, you want to be able to access them as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is particularly true when it comes to litigation, which can be a huge drain of time and resources on any business.

"Developing a manageable system that will allow you to access the records you need when you need them is key. Warner Norcross is one of the only law firms in Michigan with experience in this area."

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About Warner Norcross & Judd

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and one of the top 200 in the nation. With more than 210 attorneys in Southfield, Sterling Heights, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Holland and Muskegon, Warner Norcross is a full-service provider of legal services. More than half of our partners are listed in the 2009 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Warner Norcross has been recognized as a national leader in client service among law firms by BTI Consulting, as one of the nation's leading employment law firms by Workforce Management and as one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in both Metro Detroit and West Michigan. The Firm represents local, statewide, regional, national and international clients in all areas of business and civil law.

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