The compliance world is fraught with high stakes, increasing oversight, and an evolving technological landscape—it’s enough to put a knot in anyone’s stomach.
As with most disciplines, the key to managing it all with minimum stress is to pursue ongoing education. In Europe, this is as true in Switzerland as anywhere.
In 2020, the ZHAW School of Management and Law in Winterthur, Switzerland offered a course for legal and business professionals focused on compliance. Its purpose was to introduce those new to the field to the basics and walk through the latest technical solutions for fresh and seasoned roles alike.
Mattias Aggeler, a partner in IT forensics and e-discovery at Swiss FTS, taught the technical part of the course. With 12 years of experience in e-discovery and forensics, Mattias is a founder of Swiss FTS and also cofounded SFTS Engineering, which develops e-discovery solutions that include Relativity apps.
As such, Mattias is no stranger to the compliance field—and he had a good idea of what he wanted to cover during the class.
“We covered the technical part, essentially. An introduction to IT forensics and e-discovery, the EDRM, important factors to look out for during an investigation, how to engage a service provider and make sure you’re following best practices,” Mattias explained.
It was a lot of content to fit into a 1-day course, but Mattias explained that it’s essential information for teams like these.
Among the students in last year’s class were representatives of many different industries: finance, government, law enforcement, and pharmaceuticals, among others. In many ways, of course, these are the groups you might expect to be keyed into compliance topics.
When asked what types of roles these students filled in their organizations, Mattias made special note of the breadth they represented.
From compliance officers to data architects, communications executives to investigators, attendees were a true microcosm of their space. Compliance as a discipline requires an exceptionally diverse skill set (one that Mattias said sometimes dazzled his students; more on that below).
These experts work best when armed with an awareness of all the processes that influence compliance, be they technical or regulatory. They are also most successful when they can work together and communicate across functions in an intelligent and empathetic fashion.
“It is really important for compliance officers to not just understand the legal aspects of investigations but also have a basic understanding of IT forensic and e-discovery principles and possibilities,” Mattias said. “This makes communication with all involved stakeholders much better, and allows for more efficiency, less communication problems, better results, and lower costs.”
Putting a heavy focus on the technical side of compliance operations, Mattias sought to arm students with the practical knowledge they’d need to be productive and efficient in their varied roles.
He covered workflows like reporting, documentation requirements, imaging, deduplication, searching, and more.
“I used RelativityOne to give them a first impression of what an e-discovery tool can look like, and what features it might have,” he said.
He noted that many of the group’s questions and comments as they walked through this content followed a theme: Attendees were “impressed by the complexity this process can have.”
The non-technical professionals in the class were surprised to learn “you cannot just push a button,” Mattias continued, as well as by the precision required to maximize effectiveness in compliance and related projects.
On top of the hands-on knowledge Mattias shared with students, he wanted to emphasize the importance of more conceptual topics. Asked what other best practices for modern-day compliance strategies every organization should have in place, he talked about GDPR and information governance.
“Teams must get GDPR sorted. Information governance is key so you know what data you have, where it is, and who has access to it. This supports any GDPR requests, investigations, and data collections, but it’s also essential for making defensible deletion way easier. That means less money spent and a reduced risk profile in general,” he said.
Certainly all compliance and legal professionals should be staying ahead of the curve when it comes to regulatory and technology changes in the field. In this regard, the definition of “success” is a moving target—so these teams, and their organizations, will be well-served to prioritize the ongoing education and hands-on training opportunities that will help them keep up.
Attending courses like the one taught by Mattias is going to be the gold standard when it comes to this level of learning and engagement. But there are no shortage of resources you can access on your own, in between classes—and, often, on a budget.
A few such resources from our team can be found below.
The Relativity Blog
Whenever it’s convenient, hop onto The Relativity Blog to browse the latest communication surveillance lessons and related materials. (Subscribe to have these articles delivered to your inbox here if you want to be sure you’re not missing anything of interest.)
Some examples of note include:
- 3 Considerations for Ethical Employee Surveillance
- The Future of Compliance Monitoring
- AI and its Impact on the Future of Regulatory Compliance
These on-demand recordings of some of our best Relativity Fest sessions are available for viewing, for free, at any time. If you’re an attorney, be sure to get your certificate of completion for potential CLE/CPD credits.
For a quick look at how to incorporate the latest legal updates and tech into your workflows, these videos might be helpful:
- Find the Phish: Data Privacy and Data Protection Test and Legal Update
- Searching Basics for Attorneys
- Analytics for Attorneys
To get more detailed, a number of reports are available with deeper insights into communication surveillance, early case assessment, litigation readiness, and more.
For starters, we recommend exploring these papers and toolkits:
- The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Legal Analytics Usage
- An ECA Primer for Corporate Counsel: How to Get a Jumpstart on Litigation
- 3 Steps to Building an AI-Based Surveillance Strategy
Sam Bock is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, and serves as editor of The Relativity Blog.