Monday, August 20, 2007

Stories From Client-Facing Knowledge Management Implementers

Clint Moore, Manager of Knowledge Management Technologies, at Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Chad Ergun, Global Manager of Client and Practice Systems at White & Case LLP
Fiona Gifford, International Development Manager at Freshfields Buckhaus Deringer

Each person went through examples of client-facing management tools they have deployed.

KM at Littler.
Littler is unusual in that they have 8 KM Attorneys. The KM attorneys are non-billable. They edit firm publications and create content for the subscription tools. They also support the practice groups.

Client-Facing KM at Littler.
Littler Monitor. They developed a tool called the Littler Monitor that tracks the new legislation in each state as it becomes enacted. The KM attorneys develop a synopsis of the legislation and action items for the clients. This is focused on current awareness and new changes.

Littler GPS. It contains their fifty state surveys. Unlike the monitor, these cover the whole country on one particular law. They do not limit the content to the states where they have offices. This is meant as a way to recover costs that may not have been able to be passed on to clients to produce a survey initially.

They have a third tool on collective bargaining. All three are subscription-based models for their clients. The tools are focused on the easier questions that clients may not wish to pay for attorney time.

KM at White & Case.
They have the a good collection of practice support lawyers in the European and Asian offices, but not in the U.S. In the U.S. they have Knowledge Resource Attorneys. They are responsible for maintaining the global Know-How database. They also set up systems to capture know-how, precedents, model documents, standard forms and expertise.

White & Case Universe.
Like Littler, this is focused on compensation, employment and labor strategies. It is a secure client extranet designed to exchange and store information. Once the client identifies the areas they are interest in, regular updates are sent out by email on that area of interest as it is added to the site. It is based on a subscription model.

Attorneys are nervous that they are giving away their services. The approach is to give the clients a starting point, with information on appropriate attorneys in the firm who can give more detailed information.

KM at Freshfields.
Knowledge management and business development have recently been integrated into one department. With over 2500 lawyers, they have 80 knowledge management lawyers and 70 knowledge management assistants. Knowledge management is treated as a business service. They only do things that add value to their client service. Each practice group is asked to prepare an annual KM business plan which aligned to overall strategy and business goals of the the group.

Client-Facing KM at Freshfields.
They have three main areas: (1) current awareness and legal updates, (2) training and seminars and (3) KM consulting for client's KM activities.

Their bulletins tend to be focused and tailored toward the individual client rather than the a generic piece. There is movement in London for clients requiring their attorneys to import their bulletins into a central place.

Their training seminars are delivered to clients

The newest movement is using their KM experience to the clients like a consultant, helping them to implement their own KM systems and organizations. They also will outsource a KM attorney to a client to help them create precedents and procedures.

3 comments:

  1. These examples reinforce the notion that, in general, Anglo-Australian firms (with their higher proportion of non-billable practice support lawyers) are better placed than their US counterparts to support client-facing KM initiatives.

    That said, the Littler example supports my recent experience working with some US law firms that have acknowledged that providing clients with tailored, value-added services can be beneficial for the firm (by, for example, increasing client satisfaction and retention).

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  2. Andrew - I agree that the US firms are less adaptive to non-traditional delivery of services than Anglo- Australian.

    It part it comes from the US lookig to technology to deliver the results and the Anglo-Australian being more willing to devote people to the tasks.

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