Dynamic Corporate Structure Charts

Sample JS Tree Chart

MS Office – the default option

Lawyers are often asked to analyze structure charts. For example, the rules and regulations to combat anti-money laundering and terrorist financing impose the obligation to analyze a structure chart showing the client and its ultimate beneficial owners.

At present, Microsoft Office (MS Office) is without question the most dominant software package among law firms for this task. To create a structure chart showing a group of corporations, it is common to resort to Powerpoint or Word and drag objects and text boxes back and forth to create the chart.

Now, there are plenty of good reasons to use MS Office. These software packages have tons of great features and a use a neat WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’) editing interface.

That being said, here’s a good alternative: JavaScript tree charts.

JavaScript – a great alternative

Stepping into the world of JavaScript as a newbie to web development (or coding generally) may seem daunting, but the steep learning curve pays off in the form of charts which are interactive (‘clickable’), easy to modify and look great. They can also be exported to PDF.

What do you need to create a JavaScript chart?

  1. A data structure which contains entity names and entity relations; and
  2. a JavaScript package which allows the creation of charts.

To optimize work flows from receiving the information to creating the chart, you can build a data processing script. This can be done in JavaScript, but also a general purpose language (e.g. Python).

An implementation in D3.js

I looked at a number of packages and decided to use D3.js from Mike Bostock . This is not an endorsement or any other form of promotion (I am not connected in any way to D3 or Bostock) – it’s just a really cool package with an active community. Using one of Bostock’s templates, I gave it a try using made-up names inspired by one of the protagonists of Mr Robot.

Sample JS Tree Chart