Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Knowledge Management and Relationship Capital

Law Technology Now put up podcast on how client relationship management and social networking tools will change the way we practice law: Almost Live from LegalTech West Coast: Tom Baldwin -- Social Networking. (registration required).  The podcast was a recording of Tom Baldwin's presentation at Legal Tech West Coast. The podcast is about 12 minutes long.

One of the pillars of knowledge management is that who you know is as important as what you know. Tom surveyed broadcast emails and found that a huge portion of those email were asking for information about people.  Attorneys were looking for outside experts, internal experts, service providers, matchmaking clients, pitching clients and clearing conflicts.

Tom has found Client Relationship Management systems to be lacking.  CRM systems have grand ambitions of pulling the firm's contacts into one place.  Tom has found that most CRM systems get relegated to managing external marketing lists.

Tom has become more of a fan of Enterprise Relationship Management systems like Contact Networks and Branch IT.   ERM systems mine external email traffic to identify relationships. [My post on Contact Networks: Contact Networks - Enterprise Relationship Management.]

Tom also sees some tools coming from entity extraction. In court filings, you should be able to extract the party names, the judge and the jurisdiction. That information is in fairly standard locations in a document.  Then when looking to see what experience the firm has with a particular judge or in a particular jurisdiction, the entity extraction system can help answer that question.

One warning about the podcast. I understand that Law Technology Now needs effective advertising to make money. But this is the first podcast that inserts an advertisement into the middle of the podcast. I found it very jarring to cut off in the middle of Tom Baldwin's presentation to an ad for Blue Arc.

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