Thursday, August 28, 2008

Law Department Knowledge Management Roundtable

Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . .
Over the past several years, the big buzzword in law firms has been "knowledge management." What is it and how can it realistically apply to the information requirements of an in-house law department? In this session, we facilitate a roundtable discussion reviewing KM concepts and profile what others are doing to establish an effective KM program.

Speaker: Scott Rosenberg - Huron Consulting Group

My Notes:

Scott thinks that law firms have much better handle on knowledge management than law departments. He laid out a few objectives for knowledge managements:
  • Capture legal know-how
  • Preserving best of breed work product independent of creator
  • More easily find information
  • Gather data maintained in multiple repositories
  • Better leverage of what's already been paid for (This is unique to law department.)
  • Better sharing and publishing content with others in the company
Law departments can validate knowledge management with cost savings. It can reduce outside counsel costs. Even copy costs can be dramatically reduced. It is hard (if not impossible) do prove value creation in a law firm. At the end of the day, knowledge management leads to a direct, negative ROI. If KM allows an attorney to do a task in 1 hour, instead of 5 hours, that is 4 hours not billed. That is a negative ROI. The value is in the next step of the value chain. If the task could be done in one hour, the client is probably not willing to pay for 5 hours of work. You would argue that KM leads to better realization, better client relations and better attorney satisfaction. But it is hard to prove this.

The session was very much a dialogue. Scott said much less than the audience. I was part of the dialogue so my notes are a bit sparse.

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