ALM Properties, Inc.
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A Four-Letter Word
We know what you want. Well, sort of. a web analytics reporting service tells us what you read on our website, CorpCounsel.com, and occasionally, we do reader surveys, with people either responding to written questions or sitting together in a room talking (the latter, not very often).
But I do my own reader surveys. Be warned: If you call me up to ask me a question, suggest an idea, or just to shoot the breeze, I'll go right back at you. Basically, my query comes down to "What keeps you up at night?"
Last year, I was traveling and I happened to be near the company headquarters of one of our readers, who's been quoted in a couple of stories on our pages. We decided to have lunch; I'll always interrupt a vacation to talk shop with this guy (because our lunch wasn't a formal interview, I have to hide details like location and name). We talked about our kids, our work, the food we were eating, and world politics (he works for a multinational, and has a personal stake, too).
Then I popped the question. In about a millisecond, he responded with one word: risk.
I've asked a bunch of other in-house lawyers, and they invariably give a similar answer. (Okay, sometimes they talk about outside counsel costs.) But risk, and compliance, seems to be the most prominent problem, from rogue salespeople to awful secrets that may be buried in a computer server somewhere.
Hence, our risk package this month. First, Anthony O'Reilly in "Picking Up the Pieces," dissects the lessons from the Siemens AG meltdown a couple of years ago.
Then in what we call the feature well, in the middle of the magazine, freelance writer Philippa Maister does her best to warn you about how the Securities and Exchange Commission is heaping new responsibilities on audit and compensation committeesand corporate counsel. (It's always like that, isn't it?)
Finally, compliance expert and former federal prosecutor Ryan McConnell, along with a colleague and an in-house counsel, put together a topical report on the possibilities and the limits of good data. Ryan and company did a masterful job of making what could have been a dry account of data reporting and risk assessment into a readable heads-up. Call it the Moneyball effect. In fact, McConnell talks about that seminal book, and on how useful good data can be.
But, as he tells us, it's one thing to have good information. Software can really help to supply and organize it. But it takes a human handand good judgmentto prevent bad things from happening.
So, what keeps you up at night? Write me.