Collaboration is critical to avoid cost and time blowing out.
Imagine the following scenario, a global Bank, 15 regulators issuing notices in 11 jurisdictions, involving two professional services firms and two law firms, with multiple member firms involved. All of these parties had to collaborate. The objective was to deliver on one Discovery project together successfully.
At the outset, everyone was apprehensive about how this would go. There were a lot of dysfunctional conference calls involving ‘every man and their dog’.
Some of the main worries were whether the professional services firms and law firms would start to compete for the work, deprioritising the delivery along the way. In addition, there was a question mark over whether everyone could get processes water-tight between jurisdictions while managing data sovereignty appropriately. All while meeting the various deadlines of the regulators involved, as the regulators themselves weren’t collaborating, issuing multiple notices for slightly different subsets of data/timing, resulting in differing and competing deadlines.
Could all stakeholders deliver on this without anything falling between the cracks?
Because of solid project management, this was a success story. Collaboration between parties swiftly increased because of strong leadership in the regulatory compliance team of the Bank at the centre of the issue. Regulatory deadlines were met, and the senior leadership was satisfied with the outcome.
The secret sauce was in the ongoing effort of all parties to put their best foot forward and collaborate on the project. Meetings and calls were structured, and decision-making and authority was at the appropriate levels. Relationships were built between the various firms and countries at all levels, not just between senior Partners and senior client counterparts. All team members were encouraged, regardless of rank, to contribute appropriately.
Everyone was made to feel included, valued, and focussed on face-to-face communication as much as possible in ‘intentional gatherings’ rather than having a cast of thousands. There was humour in the process, late-night meals enjoyed, and a constructive spirit in dealing with disagreements.
Everyone realised they held a part of the solution, limiting hidden agendas by openly discussing dilemmas with a pleasing result.
If you have any questions regarding best practices for eDiscovery, contact BDO’s Forensic Services experts.