A2L Consulting blog post, 11 Great Social Media Videos for Litigators – why I like it – good social/business media

A blog post from A2L Consulting that I like, 11 Great Social Media Videos for Litigators and Litigation Support, Click Here For Link.

Why do I like it? Because it’s catchy, interesting, and relevant; it discusses materials prepared by other people or organizations; it’s well-written and eye-appealing; and mixed in with everything else, it also tells you all about A2L Consulting, their projects or tasks and their successes. Good social/business media.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Discussion about a worthwhile video from Boardmember.com: The Audit Committee’s Role and Structure

An audit committee related video discussion from Boardmember.com, This Week in the Boardroom: 04-04-13, The Audit Committee’s Role and Structure with TK Kerstetter, President, Corporate Board Member, and Trent Gazzaway, National Partner, Audit Services, Grant Thornton LLP.  Click Here To View The Video.

My thoughts.  This is a worthwhile video for its discussion (16+ minutes), particularly Mr. Gazzaway’s comments directly relating to the audit committee and the process of the audit committee reporting back to the board.  Mr. Gazzaway went into greater detail than I anticipated, and he didn’t give the board a free pass to simply delegate to the audit committee.  Mr. Gazzaway did remind us that the board remains responsible for oversight, and for oversight of the audit committee – it isn’t appropriate to simply rubberstamp the audit committee’s recommendations.  Agreed.  As we know, the board has a duty to exercise diligence, inquiry, and decision making, including over the committees of the board.

Mr. Kerstetter also asked Mr. Gazzaway asked about ERM.  I prefer “risk and uncertainty management” more in line with the discussion contained in ISO 31000.  To be fair, the video discussion did not intend or purport to cover the risk management topic area, which would be impossible given the time allocated.  And, risk and uncertainty management should be a separate discussion.

Mr. Gazzaway is correct when he says that this topic area is still in its early stages.  In fact, his comments, at least from my viewpoint, confirm that there is a current need for discussion about how to handle risk and uncertainty management.

The board is responsible for the oversight of the entity’s risk and uncertainty management.  And, if the aboard appoints a committee, I believe that it is best for the board to appoint a separate risk committee instead of delegating risk to the audit committee although delegation to the audit committee also is acceptable – the audit committee already is sufficiently busy, the potential areas of risk exceed the traditional areas addressed by the audit committee, and there is no automatic guarantee that the audit committee members are the best board members for the risk oversight topic area.  However, as we know, even if the board delegates to a risk committee, the board remains responsible for active risk and uncertainty oversight.  Whereas the entity’s actions, processes, attitude and governance relating to day-to-day risk and uncertainty management is entirely different and more detailed, of course – but those are discussions for different materials.

I also appreciated Mr. Gazzaway’s comment or warning about Regulation FD and communications with shareholder or stakeholders.  This also should be a separate topic of discussion.

View the video.  Enjoy.  Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

In all categories – Law, Risk & Gov – Nuclear board warns of Hanford tank explosion risk . . . do we have a warm comfortable feeling about this?

The article reads, Board warns key US senator of explosion risk at nation’s most contaminated nuclear site. For interesting reading, Click Here For Article.

I don’t believe anyone really needs to say much about this topic.  We could go into great detail, but a couple of questions that I would want publicly answered if I was the Senator (actually the entire Congress and the President – somewhat like the people in charge, like a CEO or the Directors): what is the current state of the situation from a risk management perspective, what is being done, what will be done and when, how is all of this being monitored, and when will we be receiving future updates?

As the public, and if I was an elected representative, I would want to know these things at a minimum – don’t you want to have a warm and comfortable feeling that things are being taken care of?  Accidents or unforeseen events still do happen of course, and it isn’t always someone’s fault, but that is one area where risk management and leadership or governance can come into play.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)



Risk & Gov – Experts Agree – The “System” For Financing Long-Term Care Is Crumbling?? That’s Not News . . .

I found this article today – discussing that the “system” for financing, i.e., paying for, long-term care is crumbling. Click Here For Article.

I just have to say, that isn’t news. Long-term care is unbelievably expensive. Husbands/fathers, wifes/mothers, and their children have been paying huge costs for long-term care for years. It’s expensive in an outside facility, and at-home care is expensive. And then sometimes there are issues relating to the level or manner of care provided.

I’m not an expert on the financial aspects of the long-term financing programs. But I can hope that at the governmental level we have some legislators who understand it and who have developed a strategy for the long-term sustainability and improvement. But I never hear anything that sounds comforting or impressive.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

How Do You Know An Organization Successfully Manages Its Risks?

See below – wording from a poll posted on the Linkedin ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard group – perhaps the poll and the sample answer options provided are tongue-in-cheek, perhaps not, but how does your organization (and its directors) determine that risks and uncertainties are successfully identified, evaluated and managed on an ongoing basis?

How do you know that an organization successfully manages its risks?

  • It is compliant to a standard
  • There has been no major disaster
  • Processes and controls are in place
  • People are competent and accountable
  • You just can’t know

Dave Tate, Esq.

From around the web: ediscovery nightmare story from bowtie blog, but relevant to all; search of juror computer to determine whether web search ban violated; inconsistent ethical instincts article . . . ..

Aspects from following ediscovery nightmare story from bowtie blog have been seen or experienced by many attorneys, businesses, courts and insurance claims representatives – you have to know what you are doing – Click Here For Story.

Search of juror computer to determine whether there was a web search ban violation, Click Here For Story.

Inconsistent ethical instincts and things that can affect them, Click Here For Article.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

The Law Business & Law Schools – A Lot Of Discussion . . And Changes In Both

I have been following the ongoing (1) discussions about the structure and changes in the law or law firm business/profession, and (2) discussions relating to law school operation and the recent new rankings.  (1) and (2) are separate and yet also in some ways inter-related issues.

The law business or profession has been going through a rough time for several years.  Some firms will survive, some will not, and there is also a sustainability factor meaning that some firms will survive for the current partners but there is no longevity for the lower-level attorneys.  The law business also is important for the public at large and for the community as a means to peacefully resolve disputes – people need access to legal representation, and litigation and court costs that they can afford, the lawsuit process needs to be fair and sufficiently time efficient, people need to feel like they had their appropriate opportunity and day in court, and lawyers should be able to earn a reasonable living.

You might also be aware that the US News law school rankings came out recently.  Yes, the rankings are flawed, as are some law school admission processes, but the rankings exist nevertheless. And, the rankings are relevant because some, or many, or most law school applicants decide to go to the “best” law school that they can get into, and they might consider those rankings as part of the decision process.  Perhaps the legal profession should come up with a better ranking system, one that is based on important available verifiable information, to compete with the US News ranking, if the legal profession could agree on better ranking criteria.  This year, and I believe without prior notice, US News changed some of its important ranking criteria.  The result for individual schools was either beneficial, detrimental, or no significant ranking change.  But it would have been wrong for US News to make the significant criteria change without sufficient prior notice.  And, somewhere there should be a critical, public review and evaluation of the criteria that US News uses – including the good, bad, and unknown or unclear.

Here is a link to an interesting PowerPoint about the changing state of the law business (I don’t know why there are blank or black pager, but it doesn’t really matter as you will get the point anyway).  It is my experience that the PowerPoint primarily would apply to large cases such as cases that involve a large volume of documents, or many depositions, or other voluminous evidence, and these are issues that the courts are also still considering for discovery and trial presentation purposes.  Click Here For PowerPoint.

More to follow on these topics.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

USC’s Haden Hires Enfield – Not A Basketball Story – Strategy, Leadership, Decision Making & No Crystal Ball

The article reads, USC’s Athletic Director Pat Haden hires FGCU’s Andy Enfield to lead and improve or rescue USC’s basketball program.

First a different issue: is it okay for Enfield to leave FGCU under these circumstances?  Well . . . I guess that’s just the way sports are now – the first school and the coach have a contract, but a new second school contacts the coach and arranges to hire him (depending on the terms of the contact between the first school and the coach, perhaps interference with the first school’s contract and business advantage?), and although there is a contact between the first school and the coach, apparently either party cancels or perhaps breaches the contract at will, perhaps with a payment of some sort back to the injured party.

More interesting discussions are about strategy, risk or uncertainty management, decision making, governance, and leadership.  The article about USC/Haden hiring Enfield, Click Here For Article, reads like Enfield is a relative unknown or unproven coach but that USC is in a poor position and has no relative chance to attract a more proven coach.  Hence, the arrangement is probably a good one for both Enfield and USC/Haden.

This is certainly one way that an Athletic Director like Haden earns his money.  He made the decision.  Is he a hero or a goat?  Time will tell.  There is no crystal ball.  If it goes well he might even be  a genius.  But if the article is correct, Enfield has some definite proven good qualities but this is an uncertain decision with definite risks and uncertainties.  Without a doubt in basketball and in most sports the head coach makes or breaks the program and the team.  The head coach attracts the talent/players to the team and to the school (can he recruit or bring in the student/players that USC wants and needs), the coach leads the talent on the court (right attitude, approach demeanor and motivation, and does he know today’s winning basketball and how to teach it?), do the players get a good education for life after USC and do they graduate, the coach is the public figure of the team except when the players do good or bad things in public, or there are NCAA violations (shouldn’t be any), and then the coach is potentially responsible for those actions but certainly does have to deal with them, and all of the other things that go with being a head coach, such as all of the people that he needs to be able to work with or handle.

And Enfield appears to have made the decision to move to USC fast – how much does he actually know about the USC program, the good and bad of the program, what he has to work with, how much time he has to succeed, and about the stakeholders (the people that he will work with or under, and the alumni)?

The risks for USC/Haden: was it a good choice, and if it goes well, how long will Enfield stay with USC?  If it wasn’t a good choice, should there be repercussions to Haden?  USC needs to get its basketball program in order, along with its football program.  Both are disappointing for a school like USC.

The risks for Enfield: most likely it was a step up but there are uncertainties about what he will face at USC – can he attract the talent and will his approach work there?  Well . . . he gets the chance to prove himself on a bigger stage so no risk to Enfield there unless the program at USC is dysfunctional and he cannot fix it.  But in that circumstance it isn’t necessarily his fault.  If Enfield doesn’t succeed, either because of the program at USC or because he isn’t the coach that USC/Haden hope that he is, then he’s fired eventually but is picked up again by another school of reasonable but perhaps less quality or visibility. Most likely this is a good opportunity for Enfield.

This will be an interesting progression to watch in the coming years, depending on how long the relationship lasts.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco) – see my March 28 blog post for board, audit committee, annual self-evaluation, dispute resolution and other useful forms.

Data Backup, But Still Experiencing Data Loss – Kroll Survey

Kroll Ontrack survey, 60 percent of respondents utilized backup solutions (that doesn’t seem very high), but sill experienced data loss, Click Here For Article.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Hyperlink Should Not Infringe Copyright…….

So, here is a hyperlink, to an article – the European Copyright Society says that providing a hyperlink should not infringe copyright, what has also been my understanding under US law, Click Here For Article. And, if it is ever determined that forwarding a hyperlink does infringe copyright, it will surely hinder and hurt the communication of ideas and information.