Friday, February 29, 2008
USA Today published 28 ways to energize your Feb. 29 and beyond. (Why not 28 ways?)
The Washington Post / MSNBC called it a day to catch up.
For me it is the last day in the office for a month. I am spending the month of March at home with my new daughter.
UPDATE: I removed the name of The Daughter.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I contributed an article a few weeks ago and earned "Founding Contributor" status as part of my profile. Wearing my real estate lawyer hat, I published my article on Financing Your Acquisition and Construction.
There is a fair amount of blogging about JD Supra. Connie Crosby wrote about it on her blog and on Slaw. Lawyer KM put up a post. Here are some others blog posts.
I found the site was well put together and functions well. It was easy for me to add my article. I plan to contribute a few more articles and other content.
But with any site like this I always ask "What's In It For Me?" I need a reason to come back to the site and I need a reason to contribute information to the site.
Steve Matthews in his comment to LawyerKM's post on JD Supra, points to bcrelinks.com as an example of a commercial real estate group that posted a great deal of information on a publicly available site. Of course the difference there is that bcrelinks.com is an extension of that firm's brand. With JD Supra, I am competing with Morrison & Foerster's 256 documents and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's 665 documents.
The other comparison is to Legal OnRamp which is also trying to be the social network and document repository for lawyers. The difference with Legal OnRamp is that it was set up by in-house counsel to make resources available to them. There I know that clients and potential clients are there in the site. That is an incentive to add content and visit the site.
JD Supra also has a blog in conjunction with the site: JD Scoop.
Of course, JD Supra is free for the moment, so it does not cost anything to join and add content. If you are a lawyer, go ahead and join and add content. It will only cost you your time.
I am not sure what's in it for me. But it is interesting enough that I will continue to dabble.
Given that Mr. Gates has only three connections, he clearly is not using LinkedIn. He did post a question in the LinkedIn Answers section: How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?
As I am writing this, the question has been up for 42 minutes and there are already 32 answers posted. Mr. Gates certainly attracts attention.
The cynics among you have probably noticed the new wealth of Microsoft advertising now showing up in LinkedIn.
I found it curious that Google has erased an mention of the word wiki in Google Sites. Stewart Mader also picked up on the omission of that four letter word: The nasty four-letter word that must be banished from the web. It looks like a wiki and acts like a wiki why not use the term. Editable webpage is not very descriptive.
I found it problematic that Google packaged it into their Google Apps rather than as a more free standing application. I have my issues with the Google Apps. I like using Google Docs, but have a hard time navigating around the rest of Google Apps. I can get a PBwiki set up in seconds. Google Apps does not match that speed.
Dennis Howlett complains about the usability issues.
Ross Mayfield notes that Google is targeting Sharepoint and Lotus Notes.
Judi Sohn of Web Worker Daily gives a quick overview of its features.
Rosen is replacing his Lotus Notes platform with an externally hosted wiki from PBWiki. You may have read about the cash prize contest he ran for his employees in a story on CNN.com: Boosting Teamwork with Wikis. He offered up the chance to win a cash prize for contributing to the wiki. The more you contributed, the better your chance of winning.
Over the last year, his firm has created three to four thousand pages in the wiki. Lee estimates that 60% of his employees make at least one change to the wiki each day.
Lee really likes the flexibility of the wiki platform. People can work in the wiki the way that they want to work. Of course, that has lead to some disagreements over the way to organize content. The upside to the disagreement is that people are working together to add content and organize it. They would not bothering disagreeing if they did not care about the content.
Lee sees a conflict between the need for rules and the freedom to contribute. There are places where the wiki is not organized in a way that works for him. But it does work for others.
Lee also likes that the wiki is externally hosted. He lets PBwiki worry about keeping the server up and all the "plumbing" headaches. He wants to be out of the IT business. That benefit was a little offset by the long term viability of wiki providers. It's great the PBwiki does not charge much for their product. But what is their long term plan? His firm's thousands of pages of content get dragged along with their long term plan.
One of his biggest issues is keeping the wiki in people's minds as a way to communicate. It takes some time for people to realize that they can communicate through the wiki. Lee still sees lots of email communication that could be better handled in the wiki. They are also still transitioning some of the content from Lotus Notes into the wiki.
wiki platform. I am acting like a nine-year old on the day before Christmas waiting for the launch.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Mike was interviewed by Real Lawyers Have Blogs. A few things caught my eye in the interview.
One, Sun has between 3,000 and 4,000 employees blogging externally, including their CEO. As of this morning, they had 4039 blogs, with over 94,000 entries and over 96,000 comments. They leverage these blogs in one platform so you can search across all of this blog posts: http://blogs.sun.com. I ran a search for "knowledge management" and got over 8,000 results back. This robust collection of blogs is a tremendous knowledge resource. It seems like a great way for the company's employees to stay connected and for the customers of the company to be connected with the company.
The second was his take on in-house lawyers blogging:
Third, I discovered that Sun has collection of blog postings from Sun's alumni. I particularly noticed their legal disclaimer:
"It's surprising to me that more GCs don't blog. But, I think there are two factors behind this. First, attorneys are by trade somewhat conservative and risk adverse (I still remember attending legal seminars in the 1980s about the terrible risks associated with a new type of communication called "email"). Consequently, I think many of us focus more on the risks of divulging confidential information or violating the attorney-client privilege; risks that while possible are more than offset by the value of a blog.
The second issue is generational. I doubt that few GCs of large public companies today grew up using wikis, social networking, mash-ups, virtual communities or blogs. The current generation of law students cannot imagine life without them. They understand the incredibly rich and powerful benefit of these knowledge sharing and communications tools. And, they doubtlessly will apply them in their legal practices as they become GCs in the future."
"The individuals who post here are part of the extended Sun Microsystems community and they may not be employed or in any way formally affiliated with Sun Microsystems. The opinions expressed here are their own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual authors, and neither Sun nor any other party necessarily agrees with them. This site aggregates content posted on third-party sites. The content posted here may be hosted at third party sites in no way affiliated with Sun."Obviously, Sun's adoption of blogging comes from Sun's open corporate culture and focus on building communities. In the process they are building a rich knowledge repository that can be leveraged by their employees and customers.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Legal OnRamp now allows lawyers to form ad hoc groups, both public and private. Within the group you can share documents, have bulletin boards, post events and some other collaborative features. For example, the administrators set up a group for legal knowledge management leaders. After I pointing out a better name for the group, they ceded administration of the group over to me.
They have put several collaborative systems into Legal OnRamp. They have several wikis and contribution areas for lawyers to add content. The top content items are items such as appropriate use of email policy, privacy and data protection policy, and a document retention policy.
Legal OnRamp also pulls in static information such as updates from law firms. Allen & Overy has over 600 articles published to the platform.
In Legal OnRamp you can search across the platform. So if you are looking for information on a topic, you may find an article, an FAQ or an attorney expert.
The core audience for Legal OnRamp is in-house counsel. The thought is that law firms will want to join and contribute information so that they can get themselves in front of potential clients.
The goal of Legal OnRamp is to combine a repository of information and a communication platform for lawyers. That seems like a great mix of features
One short-coming I found in Legal OnRamp was the inability to quickly identify people you know who are already in the system. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social network sites allow you to import your address book. Then they analyze which of your contacts are already in the network (and ask you to invite those that are not.) Legal OnRamp is working on adding this feature. Without it you feel very alone. Lawlink presented this same problem. After joining I had no way to find anyone I knew. (Matching up contacts also gives you a few steps to stay in the system and encounter its features.)
"The risks involved in embracing Web 2.0 are outweighed by the benefits experts say, and CIOs are already adopting Web 2.0 thinking to deliver a new approach to information creation, publishing, aggregation, discovery and validation."These lightweight, easy to deploy, easy to use applications make it easier to communicate and collaborate inside the enterprise and outside the enterprise.
For years technology advancements and especially legal technology was advanced based on computer speed and more features piled onto existing software. Web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 are the new paradigm that it is the power of the network that is advancing technology. Your ability to connect with other people inside the firm and outside the firm and capturing the effect of connection is a powerful tool for knowledge management.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Kevin goes on to note that law firms adoption of blogs are on pace with other businesses. With "40,000 small law firms and 2,000 lawyer blogs, our profession is right on pace." Kevin also noted that 39 of the AmLaw 200 firms have blogs: State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere, August 2007.
Over at my Real Estate Space blog, I compiled a list of 39 blogs that originate from Massachusetts based lawyers: Massachusetts Blawgs.
I have found that law firms (including my firm) are unsure how to deal with blogs. There is a lot of concern about how blogs amplify bad content and make it easy to find that bad content. They are rightfully concerned about preventing the release of confidential client information, inadvertently creating attorney-client relationship, stating positions that are adverse to clients and attorney advertising restrictions.
I think the mistake is thinking that blogs only amplify bad content. They amplify all content. Good content rises to the top as well. I ran an example of a Google search for "bad boy guaranty" (that's a commercial real estate finance term). My blog posts on bad boy guarantees at Real Estate Space appeared on the top of the search results. Similarly, a Google search for "Interwoven Express Search" pulls up my posts on Interwoven's new search tool in the top position. (Ahead of Interwoven's website.)
Those results do not come from implementing expensive websites and SEO campaigns. (My blogs run on free blog hosting services, with no support from my marketing department or IT department.) The results come from writing content. If you are not writing content, people are not finding you. Some people may not like what you have to say and some people love what you have to say. You can't please everyone. But you will not please anyone if you remain silent. Blogs are about having that conversation. Lawyers should join the conversation.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Eric Charran published his whitepaper on: Managing social networking with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
The whitepaper points out a few ways that SharePoint can be used to expose more information about a person inside the firm. It does not provide the level of interaction or a flow information as powerful as Facebook.
SharePoint does provide a nice platform for exposing more information about the person by pulling information from multiple systems. In particular, I think the use of the techniques and tools discussed in the whitepaper can be used to exposed internal expertise.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Unless you are as famous as Bill Gates, then his alleged abandonment of Facebook should not be a reason for you think less of it. According to the story, Mr. Gates was getting 8,000 friend requests a day. By comparison, my favorite voice on NPR, Carl Kasell has less than 4,000 friends. Bill Gates is getting twice that number each day.
Unless you are a famous celebrity, Facebook is a great way to stay connected with people you know. This power is especially amplified by Facebook's ability to pull information from other sources. For example, the blog posts from this blog, the posts from my Real Estate Space blawg and my shared items from Google Reader all get pushed into my Facebook profile (and then to my friends) without me having to go into Facebook. My status updates largely come from my Twitter updates.
The Facebook platform is a great model for knowledge management, especially for expertise location. It is pulling information from various sources and compiling it in one place. You get a pretty full picture of my background and expertise from my Facebook profile. I find this to be a great model for designing an internal expertise system on our intranet.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here are his four lessons from legal blogging and my thoughts.
1. "Blogging about substantive legal issues is hard." A blogger must regularly post fresh content about interesting issues. There is not always interesting legal content on the subject of your legal blog. Often times I will read a case that sounds interesting for my Real Estate Space blog, only to find out the case lacks much meaning.
2. "Blogging is personally satisfying." Every blog post is a snapshot of an idea that I can easily retrieve. Even if nobody reads the blog post except me, I have created a resource for me. Of course it is great to see others referring to your article. [You like me. You really, really like me.] Even better is getting comments and criticism to help craft and fine tune my thinking.
3. "Law firms, like law schools, are clueless about how to value blogs." Most law firms are not sure whether to encourage lawyers to write blogs or to forbid them? Should they sponsor blogs (to claim credit) or disavow them (to avoid risk)?
4. "Blogging pays off. It pays off in part by being a self-fulfilling prophecy." Whether or not you know anything about the topics you cover in your blog, you appear to be an expert in that field. You can hold yourself out there as an expert. But unless people hear what you have to say (or read what you have written), they are not going to buy into your expertise. Also by blogging, I force myself to think about my subject for at least a few minutes a day. Blogging forces me step out of my workflow and "think" rather than just "do."
As anyone who has looked at enterprise search has seen, people are often asking very different questions and expecting very different answers. For example, if you are searching for a phone number for a fellow employee, you would expect a very different view of the search results than if you were looking for that same name in the document collection. There are certainly lots of challenges to combining the plethora of searches inside the enterprise into one single search box.
Can one simple box deliver such different results?
It turns out Google answered that question with their "onebox" search results. " In addition to providing easy access to billions of web pages, Google has many special features to help you to find exactly what you're looking for."
If you enter a movie name, the results show movie listings and reviews:
If you enter an address, you get a map:
Google has a list of their features here: Google Search Features.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
"But when Andy said the ultimate value of E2.0 initiatives consists ofI touched on this in my Law Firm Knowledge Management 2.0 post and the ensuing series of Law Firm Knowledge Management 2.0 posts:
greater responsiveness, better “knowledge capture and sharing,” and more
effective “collective intelligence,” there wasn’t much doubt. When he talked
about the need for a willingness to share and a helpful attitude, I
remembered all the times over the past 15 years I’d heard that about KM. . . . Sure, there are a few differences between classical KM and E2.0. The tools are largely different, for one."
One item from the discussion caught my eye. The person was surprised that there was "any wiki use in law firms since they see the culture to be competitive, not one conducive to sharing."
I think you need to make the distinction between lawyers and the law firm culture. Sure lawyers are competitive. It is a harsh job, demanding lots of time and knowledge. In law school everyone realizes that those with the highest grades will have their pick of jobs and those with lesser grades will find it harder to get jobs. Lawyers are competitive.
But law firms are about lawyers organizing to work together and share resources. Partners need each other for their expertise across subject matters. Partners need associates to help get the work done. Associates need the partners to bring in work. Everyone needs their secretaries to help get the work done. The lawyers need the library to staff to help research. More experienced lawyers need to share their knowledge with the junior lawyers so that the junior lawyers can get the work done properly. And so on. The better the sharing of knowledge about the work and sharing of skills, the better the firm will operate.
Sharing your knowledge with others in the firm does not diminish your value to the law firm. It increases your value. Sharing your knowledge just exposes your expertise. You will always know more than you can write down. Whatever you manage to write down and make findable will act as signpost for people to find you and your expertise.
You can hold yourself out there as an expert. But unless people hear what you have to say (or read what you have written), they are not going to buy into your expertise.
Thanks to Rob La Gatta for making me sound reasonably intelligent and Kevin O'Keefe for putting me on the interview list.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
"As Wikipedia has demonstrated, anyone can use a wiki without any special instruction or training. This comes in handy within the enterprise, especially for informal collaboration, where limited time and resources preclude a formal training program."
"Low barriers to entry will help encourage your users to experiment with wikis and ease of use encourages them to keep exploring new uses for the wiki. This incremental approach allows organizations to adopt wiki technology informally and from the bottom up, rather than requiring a major top-down effort to reengineer the enterprise."We have been using PBWiki to host our knowledge management projects wiki for the last nine months.
Sure it would be great to allow users to add tags to pages on our intranet or other web-based applications. It would also be valuable to compile tags for external websites that would be useful to the practice.
But the vast majority of our knowledge artifacts are documents in our Interwoven Worksite document management system. Interwoven does not have a way to tag. If I can't tag my documents, then I might as well not have enterprise tags at all.
Sure, you can add comments and profile fields to the document in Interwoven. But that is not the same thing. Since you can only have one profile, you can only have one tag set per document. You also do not get the attribution. If I do not know who made the tag, I am less likely to rely on it. The tag has much more value when you know who made it.
Collecting and displaying tags by person then turns the tags into a person's expertise and areas of interest. If you look at my Del.icio.us tags you can see what I found interesting. My tags are in the lower right corner of the website.
One of the interesting tools that Vivisimo has apparently packaged with the new release of its Velocity search tool is the ability to tag documents in Worksite. Actually, it should give you the ability to tag any knowledge artifact in any system you connect to the Vivisimo enterprise search tool.
The tagging in Vivisimo gives you ability to enhance the findability of the knowledge artifacts inside the law firm and find out more about the people inside the law firm.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Last week at LegalTech I was able to have some great conversations with people. They knew what I have been up to just by reading my blog, being a Facebook "friend" watching my del.icio.us tags, my Twitter feed and any of the other ways I use social media.
It was great to chat with Tom Baldwin, the new Chief Knowledge Officer of Reed Smith. And to meet the "New Tom Baldwin" Rachelle DeGregory, who has taken over the Chief Knowledge Officer position at Sheppard Mullin. Rachelle claimed to be a reader. (Hi Rachelle.)
The once again anonymous LawyerKM and I were able to chat briefly.
My colleagues back in Boston were able to experience some of what was going at LegalTech. Catching up this week, we could focus our conversations on particular items that caught our attention.
Monday I was able to have lunch with Jessica Lipnack of Endless Knots. Jessica and I have been following each other's blogs and engaging in social media since last year's Enterprise 2.0 2007. We were able to have a great conversation because we had been following each other posts.
Why blog? It's about the conversation, on-line, on the phone or face-to-face.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The most mentioned priorities were:
- Intranet/portal redesign or implementation (Many are moving to Sharepoint 2007)
- Capturing matter information and matter profiling
- Enterprise search
- Auto-categorization/metadata extraction
- Collaborative tools like wikis and blogs
What is Knowledge Management?
What should our elevator pitch be for what knowledge management is in a law firm? How do you get lawyers to pay attention? This group had dozens of different titles and different responsibilities. Is that evidence that law firms are still grasping with how to incorporate knowledge management.
- Its about expertise and experience.
- “Efficiency and quality”
Client-Facing Knowledge Management
Clients are asking for this but do not follow-up. The group seemed to think this subject is showing up in RFPs because consultants told them to put in RFPs.
Example of UK delivery: Lots of legal updates. The clients want dedicated libraries open for search.
Client demand is disparate. It seems like they are not sure what they want.
One participant told the story of a meeting where clients were opposed to the idea of outsourcing. Some big American companies do not want work going outside US.
Firms have outsourced some administrative functions. Maybe there will be more outsourcing of “legal work”, EDD, or even KM (Gasp!!)
One participant gave the UK perspective on outsourcing. In the UK, law firms make extensive use of practice support lawyers. Magic Circle firms spend approximately 20 million pounds on PSL. Practical law is outsourcing forms and precedents for the Magic Circle firms. The Practical Law approach was that those practice support lawyers were doing same thing at each of their law firms. Some of the work was not really distinguishing one firm from another. Practical Law's approach was to pool those resources together and outsource them.
This topic came with entries on both sides of hot and tough. Wikis, blogs, discussion forums and the like have been bandied about in one form for years. The tough group asked why does thins new technology make things any different? The hot side countered that we are a new paradigm where the computing power and software is being developed and deployed externally and is not coming into law firms. In the past, the applications were developed inside firms and then found their way into the consumer market. (Remember when word processing could only be done in the office?) These new tools are being developed externally with millions of users testing them and providing feedback. As a result we are getting tools that are much easier to use and to learn than in the past.
This topic came down on both sides as being hot and tough. One aspect making it tough was the ownership of the project: marketing or knowledge management. The two groups are looking for different levels. Marketing is generally looking broader. Knowledge management is looking for more granular and precise expertise. Several participant pointed to the use of time entries as treasure trove of information for an expertise search.
Post Action Reviews
Where do you get the human input? Technology will only be able to go so far in extracting the important information from the matters we work on. Many participants thought that gathering more information about matters is one of the best knowledge management efforts.
Matter opening information is lacking in information. If you require too much information at matter opening then attorneys are less likely to open matters.
There was a broad consensus that you need to hire people to extract the information. You cannot expect the attorneys to be doing all of that extraction and work.
How is Knowledge Management Morphing?
Knowledge management, business intelligence, marketing, client development and other functions are continuing to bleed into each other making some indistinguishable from another. Do they need to be separate? Should the administrative groups remove the balkanization and work more collaboratively? Do we need knowledge management as a separate discipline and as a separate group inside a law firm? This goes back to first topic What is knowledge management at your law firm.
Some elements of an email that are relevant to knowledge management are:
- The parties – showing the flow of communication
- Body of the message – useful information may be in the body of the email or the attachments
- Classification of the email – where the email gets filed adds some information around the email
- Finding precedents – often useful content exists solely in an email. Being able to search emails would increase the knowledge base of the firm
- Expertise location – The flow if information in email can be used to identify subject matter experts
- Client development – Lots of information about contacts and the relationship to those contacts does not make its way into the CRM system. Tapping into the email flow could expand the collection of information on the firm's contacts
The first issue is the glut of email. What has to be filed? What should be filed? What should be thrown away? One firm admitted that they made their users file every sent email into public matter folder or private folder. The audience joke was whether this was his idea or his predecessor’s idea. There is also the issue of how to deal with administrative emails. Half of most law firms employees are not practicing attorneys.
There was a fair amount of discussion around privacy concerns. Of course, ten years ago before the proliferation of email, people filed hard copies of letters into paper folders that anyone could pull from records. One conclusion was that people need to rethink email. Not every email is relevant to the matter and irrelevant ones can be thrown out. The biggest point was do not write it down if you do not want people to see it. By putting it into email it becomes findable.
In dealing with the records issue of email the one participant theorized that law firms not been subject to enough litigation and have to deal with litigation holds and producing their content. Our client have been sued enough and subject to enough litigation holds that they see the need for a comprehensive program for managing email.
The meeting then moved onto the importance of not just the information in the email but the relationship evidenced by the email. Do you know someone and what do you know about the person? By emailing the person, there is an indication that you know the person. The more you email that person, or they email you, a stronger relationship is evidenced.
Software companies have recognized this value and starting to exploit this. One example is Contact Networks which passively collects the flow of communication between people, the number of emails and frequency of emails to imply the strength of relationship. It then goes on to map the email address to specific contact information. I saw a similar demonstration of Small Blue at the Boston KM Forum.
Clearly email and managing email is something our knowledge management efforts need to address. But it will not be easy because it will be a big cultural and workflow process change.
There is certainly a technology tools theme. Both are trying to deal with big volumes of information. However, with E-discovery it is mandatory; with knowledge management it is discretionary.
With EDD, you’re willing to cull down to smaller and smaller sets of documents. With KM, you want the one document or a very small set of documents.
The money is in EDD (and more risk). As a result there seems to be more innovation in EDD. Auto-classification, clustering etc. coming from EDD.
Another theme the panel discussed was business process. Both need the development of business processes of people with skill sets. They need to educate lawyers as to process, issues and benefits. Both have the need of project management. EDD can be revenue generating but KM is rarely revenue generating (directly). One participant pointed out that for EDD he would probably hire a manager from Toyota than a lawyer to run Electronic discovery. The needs of project management, quality assurance and quality control exceed the needs of legal analysis.
One benefit combining of combining EDD and KM is the revenue generation from EDD. The crowd railed against this as covering up real issue. You are just trying to sneak KM in and hide under the EDD budget.
Another common theme was the emphasis on metadata. Both EDD and KM about adding metadata around documents and putting documents and information into context. With EDD, you have a defined domain of interest and a defined social network of participation. With KM, you do not have a defined decision often anticipating demand and requests for information.
I have to admit that I came into the session pooh-poohing e-discovery. After the discussion I came away with the understanding of common themes and ideas. I am not sure if I am going to act on it.
Monday, February 11, 2008
First generation knowledge systems expected people to contribute to them because it was for the collective good. Everyone had the benefit of this good work product, organized in the central taxonomy of the firm.
Many companies offered incentives, like gift cards, for contributing to the system. If you have to give away a prize to motivate people to contribute, then perhaps they do not seen enough value in contributing. What in it for me? Sure, you get the Starbucks giftcard. And you get some smug satisfaction for contributing into the central knowledge system vault.
The failure of these first generation knowledge management systems was that the central knowledge system does give the user a significantly better way to manage their personal knowledge. It is outside of their normal workflow and outside of the places they normally look for knowledge and advice. The contribution helps others find the contributor's work product, but it does not make it easier for the contributor to find and manage their own work product.
Knowledge management solutions will work better if they are focused on improving the normal workflow and better capturing that information. The user is more likely to use a new tool if it is easy to use and provides more functionality than what they currently use. As Dion Hincliffe pointed out, the new tool needs to be many times more useful than the current tool for people to use the new tool.
A case in point is a document management system. The system needs to provide much more functionality than the user would get from saving the documents to their local computer. Our Interwoven document management system offers version control, better searching, automatic backup, and many other features you do not get on you desktop. In exchange, as part of the knowledge market the rest of the firm gets the ability to find and reuse those documents.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Teri point out that her blawg gets twice as many hits as the website for her 30 person law firm.
This blog only generates about 15% as many site visits as my firm's website. Of course my firm does have 850+ lawyers, dozens of marketing professionals and a professionally designed website. I just have me. Considering the resources on each side of the equation, I think my numbers are staggeringly high.
Teri's reasons why lawyers should blog:
- Knowledge Entreprenuer.
- Communication 101.
- Authenticity and “Real Voice”.
- Quality and Competence.
- Commitment to “the Law” Made Practical.
Friday, February 8, 2008
But Legal OnRamp is much more than a buzzword site trying to be the Facebook or LinkedIn for lawyers. First, it is focused on in-house legal counsel. Law firms are expected to contribute content and bring another client into Legal OnRamp to gain admittance. As a result, Legal OnRamp is accumulating substantive legal knowledge in its system. There are many FAQs written by lawyers, a collection of client alerts and updates from law firms.
Legal OnRamp is also acting as a platform for subscription sites for law firm communications and collections. Eversheds has a few resources available through Legal OnRamp: Knowledge Banks, e80, Alumni, HR Contract Builder, Deeds Online and Directors' Law of Europe. [I do not have access to the information.] Paul also showed me a few other firms that provided gated access into their information.
Second, Legal OnRamp does provide the social network type features you expect from LinkedIn and other social networking sites. You can publish bios, establish links with other member, etc. This allows you to find expertise. I ran a search for "knowledge management" and found a few people in the legal knowledge management field.
A big differentiating factor with Legal OnRamp is that it was established by in-house counsel for in-house counsel. They want the information from the law firms aggregated into one place. I saw a similar aggregation by UK firms for the banking industry in the UK. The big banks got together and roped the magic circle firms into creating a central place where all of their client alerts, updates and information on the industry would be stored. As a result you have a one stop shop for legal information in the industry.
I plant to keep an eye on Legal OnRamp as it progresses. This is very different model for the relationship and interaction between law firms and in-house counsel.
I have some updates on Legal Onramp that I will post separately.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
- Legal Technology Best Practices
- Creating Efficiency and Productivity in Law Firms
- Technology Integration - The New Face of Law Firms
- Law Technology News Awards Dinner
- Practice Management
Other bloggings from LegalTech:
- Legal Blog Watch - Has many summaries
- WestBlog.net - Thomson West was live blogging Legal Tech
- Ross Ipsa Loquitur by Ross Kodner
- JimEidelman at LegalTech
- Law Technology News Award Winners
- My Favorite LegalTech Giveaways
- Microsoft and the Next Big Thing
- Legal Sanity by Arnie Herz
- EDD Blog Online
- Law Department Management by Rees Morrison
- Google at LegalTech
- On the Mark by Mark Reichenbach
- Day One
- Day Two (He also found it strange that the bathrooms were sponsored.)
- Ediscovery Info
- Googling Your Document Review
- Martindale-Hubble Blog
- Straight from the Floor
- Only 10% of LTNY Participants Have Their Own Blog (ONLY?!?! - I think that is a staggeringly high number)
I ran into the anonymous LawyerKM. But I have not seen any posts on LegalTech come up from him (or her).
I also ran into LawTech Guru, Jeff Beard, while he was talking with Rob Saccone of xmLaw. I have not seen any posts pop up from him.
Overall, I found LegalTech to be crowded and loud. I was always looking for a place to sit and chat with people bu there was nowhere to be found. The air quality was horrible. Sure it was warm outside for New York in January, but the conference rooms all felt like saunas. Vendors were tucked into every nook and cranny and hallway. It seems like LegalTech has outgrown this space.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Michelle Mahoney, Director Applied Legal Technology at Mallesons Stephen Jaques
Kelly Inglese, Director Litigation Support Services at McCarthy Tétrault LLP
What is Practice Management?
George's vision of practice management is the integration of knowledge management, library services, future services, conflicts and records management into practice management.
Michelle presented the Australian view of practice management. She pointed out that the Australian, New Zealand and South African markets are incredibly competitive. She is evaluated on profitability; not revenue generation. She points out that lawyers in a leadership position need to accept that law firms are a business and need to be run like a business. [I think part of the growth of practice management comes from lawyers wanting to offload the business side of law so they can focus more on the practice of law.]
George is struggling with where knowledge management sits in a law firm structure. He likes the idea of bundling it into practice management. Then it is better integrated as a full suite of services available to practicing attorneys and groups of attorneys.
The concept is interesting. Largely, should the firm be divided between practice and practice support? Perhaps practice area managers should be equipped with being a point of contact being able to create solutions across administrative departments and groups. Of course, that requires practice area managers with a long skill set: being comfortable with marketing, technology, finance, knowledge management, records and conflicts. Effectively, practice area managers could be a one-stop for the attorneys to get solutions to help their practice.
George's paradigm in moving from increased coordination, to improved productivity and efficiency, to strengthen competitive advantage, to enhanced customer value, to growing business profitability. It is not the technology, it is the solution around the technology that delivers value.
We also integrate their electronic closing binders into our matter database system and client database system. That gives us quick and easy access to the binders for a matter or for a client. This is a big improvement to trying pull my bulky closing binder off the shelf (or trying to remember where I left the binder).
This year was ClosingBinder.com's first time having a booth at LegalTech. Surprisingly, another Goodwin Procter alumnus, Rob Saccone, has his booth for xmLaw set up two booths away from ClosingBinders.com
iStaff is a system designed by our practice managers and attorneys staffing managers to give them information needed for assigning new projects as they come into the firm. The iStaff web interface pulls information from the time and billing system, vacation calendars, current assignments and the attorneys expertise. This allows the staffing managers to better assign work to best attorney based on availability, expertise and experience.
These were the other law firm winners:
IT Director of the Year
John Sroka - Duane Morris
Champion of Technology
George Rudoy - Shearman & Sterling
Most Innovative use of Technology by an In-house Legal Department
Gene Stavrou - Kraft Foods
Most Innovative use of Technology during a Trial
Ropes & Gray Graphics and Litigation Technology Support team
Most Innovative use of Technology for a Pro Bono Project
Wills for Heroes Foundation
I did not keep track of the vendor awards, except that Interwoven won the Document Management System award for Worksite. In talking with Keith Lipman from Interwoven, he promised to combine the various names for the product into Worksite. [I am tired of also seeing Desksite and Mailsite program names, in addition to Worksite. With all those names we still call it iManage.]
Dinner was great. Peter, Angel and I had a great time at dinner and at the photo session.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
We are pretty far down the path of deploying version 8.3 of their Worksite product. The big change is the new Vivisimo Velocity search engine. So far it is giving us blazingly fast search results.
They have also delivered a new way to search: Express Search.
Interwoven is giving us "The Google" for documents. It is one simple box that combines several of the metadata fields into one cohesive fast search. It combines the full text search with the document name and other metadata fields to one unified fast search. The results come back fast and based on relevancy rather than a grid sorting on a field.
Did I mention fast?
I can run a simple search. Add other terms one at a time to narrow results and delete terms to back out the search. All with results coming back at the snap of my fingers.
Having the results come back based on relevancy is fantastic. Getting two hundred documents back based on the last edit date is not giving you a meaningful search result.
The Express Search is especially compelling when you compare it side by side with the traditional Interwoven search.
We are still running some testing and deciding on some global settings. But we hope to have it deployed by the end of the month.
TOM BALDWIN, Chief Knowledge Officer of Reed Smith LLP
DAVID JABBARI, Global Head of Know-How of Allen & Overy LLP
The session started off comparing Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and Knowledge Management 2.0. Oz started off looking at Web 2.0 technologies and mashing of information.
At Morrison & Foerster, they found associates went to Wikipedia first for information. The idea was to not necessarily rely on the information, but to give a starting point and background for the topic. Oz looked at Amazon and how it pushes other information around the things you are looking for.
Oz tried to define Web 2.0. It is de-centralized, the users generate the content. It is interconnected. You can access it with open standards. It is collaborative. Is is user-focused: a simple interface that you can personalize. The most important factor is that it is actionable: the information is timely and relevant.
The new face of law firm knowledge management has the goal of improving efficiency and the quality of service. They want to connect people to information, connect people to people and increase efficiency.
The challenge of today is not trying to get information. It is dealing with the overflow of information. There is too much. We need to add better context around the information to help decide if it is useful.
Moving on to Enterprise 2.0. The goal is to unite the repositories, giving the users one place to search. You need to give the users the ability to wrap metadata around the search results and filter on that metadata. You need the context to determine relevancy, experience and expertise. Oz gave a demo of his AnswerBase system: http://www.mofo.com/answerbase. This is Morrison Foerster's enterprise search tool using Recommind's Mindserver search engine. He set up a comparison of AnswerBase to Amazon in the ability to have a faceted search.
Oz also went on to show the ability of an entity extraction tool that helps auto-generate metadata on the documents. He cautioned that it is still experimental. [I found it interesting to compare this to Vivisomo's semantic clustering.]
Oz also showed his method for redoing the InterAction interface. It looks like he is capturing the information from InterAction and rendering it in a more friendly way.
He summarized with Knowledge Mangement 2.0, the that goal is the same, the challenges are intensified, the tools are improved but the user expectations are greater. Oz always has his videos and this time he used a video of Scotty (of the Starship Enterprise) from Star Trek IV trying to use a computer in the 1990's. In Star Trek fashion, Scotty tries talking to the computer, then talking into the mouse and the finally using the "quaint" keyboard. See the clip on YouTube. Users are expecting things to get easier to do. What seems like cutting edge today will one day seem quaint and old-fashioned.
The panel moved on to the United Kingdom perspective of the new face of law firm knowledge management and David's presentation.
The U.K. view of knowledge management links knowledge management closer to marketing than to IT. He points out that he has 71 practice support lawyers. Of course they still use technology: automated drafting systems, search and retrieval, dealrooms and extranets.
David broke down legal work into three categories: "standardized," "procedural" and "bespoke." "Standardized" are a delivery against specific requirement. Knowledge management here should focus on efficiency. "Procedural" is applying past deal experience to similar deals. Knowledge management is to turn expertise quickly into procedure. "Bespoke" is less based on prior knowledge, but the ability to promote superb expertise. Knowledge management's role to highlight that knowledge.
He stated that at least 70% of his attorneys are covered by blogs and wikis. [I think he meant that there are blogs or wikis on topics that interest at least 70% of the firm's lawyers.]
He showed an example of pushing content out to client using RSS feeds. He showed Netalytics, a joint venture with ISDA. This generates revenue delivering commoditized legal information.
He showed an extranet for the Banking Legal Technology site. It is an extranet that big banks forced the law firms to publish their client alerts to a central location. He drew a comparison to Legal OnRamp [I have a post lined up for Legal OnRamp later this week.]
They are working on Autonomy for an enterprise search tool. He sees enterprise search tool is that we will need to deal with more and more information.
Up next was Tom, focusing on putting it in context. [Since Tom just started a new job, switching from Sheppard Mullin to Reed Smith, he was not running his song and dance of tools he previously implemented. He was not able to show any KM toys to the audience.]
Tom's paradigm is wrapped around three spheres: what we know, who we know and what we need to know. He see technology helping by passively gathering data.
He pins the key to knowledge management on matter classification. He uses it as the glue to cover marketing, documents and other information architecture. One of his big projects is reconfiguring the matter classification schema. He is looking to bring in people to conduct after action reviews to gather information about matters. They would start the information gathering process after the hours for a matter have dropped off (indicating that the matter is finding down: closed, dead, settled, decided). [I agree with Tom. One of current initiatives is gathering more information about the matters we work on. You cannot impose many of requirements up front at the mattering opening process or else attorneys will just keep everything under general. And frankly, we often only have a limited idea of what the matter will entail when we open a new matter.]
He also thinks that attorneys are getting spammed internally. They are getting too many emails to deliver content. The email is out of context and interruptive. [As usual, I agree with Tom. I am looking to blogs, wikis and intranet delivery of more content in better context. I see very little internal administrative email that is so important it must make my blackberry buzz.]
He iterated, as other have, that lawyers will not go to training. We need to make easy to use and easy to understand tools.
Tom is getting 5 times as contact information from an automated system than through the manual process. They are harvesting information from email traffic. You can also leverage the the flow of emails to determine the strength of the connection. Oz said they he got four times the volume of contact information from monitoring email traffic. He pointed out that MoFo allowed people to opt out of the system.
The audience asked about KM 3.0. Oz thinks KM will integrate into the business information, workflow etc to more actively help in the decision-making process.
There is a dollar value to not finding information. It easy to apply a number of lost hours and amplify it by the number of attorneys and their billing rate to create a huge value number to the amount of time it takes to find the information they need.
His approach is put a layer on top of your underlying systems. This gives a more consistent user interface and more consistent way of finding the information they need. For it to be effective it needs to be embedded in their regular way of working.
Rob quickly moved into a demo of his products.
The opening page is highly personalized. The user gets presented with statistics on hours, month to date, year to date, etc. Also on the home page: firm news, weather, and local news.
He strips "my contacts" from InterAction and presents the information on a SharePoint list view.
The "my clients" gives a list of relevant clients. The information on the "my clients" page is then changes as a different client is selected: client contacts, headlines and billing information. You can then drill down to a specific client pages with more detailed information, such as documents, specific billing information, contacts, etc.
The "my practice areas" pulls together news from the group, calendar, and practice group members., marketing, forms and precedents, resources, financial and administrative information. They are also deploying information graphically, especially the financial information. They are also using the graphic presentation for some key indicators from the document management system.
The "my documents" sections pulls documents from the document management system.
Rob also highlighted the SharePoint search capabilities. He also pointed out that with the FAST acquisition, the search capabilities are going to grow. Attorneys want "The Google" to find stuff.
He thinks SharePoint can deliver on that need. xmLaw adds on the ability to index other systems that SharePoint alone cannot index. In particular, the document management system.
In the demo, he presents a simple text box centered in the screen. [Looking just like the Google search screen] xmLaw adds a great filtering tool allowing you to refine the results by author, client, matter, etc. Faceted navigation of the search results. The search results are tied into other systems so you can link to author information, matter information, etc. Adding hooks into other systems adds a lot of value.
xmLaw has also managed to allow faceting from RealPractice document types. They are also looking to integrate into WestLaw, RealPractice and other systems.
Rob's approach is integration. He thinks information should be pulled into a central location from the separate information systems.
A new product is an extranet solution. The key is to make it easier to publish documents to the extranet site. He is not poking a hole in the firewall to allow access. [I wholeheartedly agree with this approach. There should be an obvious and deliberate action to push a document to an extranet.]
IAN MILLER , Chief Information Officer of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP
LANCE REA, Director of Information Services at Davis & Gilbert LLP
Jusy put out these propositions:
- 5% of a Law Firm's budget is spent on IT.
- But only 20% of the technology is used.
- Technology is typically the fourth biggest expense at a law firm behind salaries, rent and insurance
Marsha's highest priority project this year is knowledge management (YEAH!!) Knowledge management is on the top of priority list for most attorneys and practices.
Ian thinks knowledge management is the top item. Followed quickly by collaboration. As attorneys are spread out they need better asynchronous tools. Then he is looking at remote access. Attorneys are increasingly on the road and not working in the office.
Lance is focusing on remote access and disaster recovery.
The panel thought it was very important to be responsive. Even if you do not have an answer, at least let them know they are being listened to. Jokingly, Marsha said she made sure the management committee always had the latest blackberry.
You need to focus on the solutions, not just the bottom line. You need to use legal technology to distinguish yourself from other firms. You need to focus on ways to deliver solutions to the clients and to the attorneys.
A question from the audience raised concern about remote access opening access to the firm;s information. Marsha is not opening the systems to the outside. WestKM and the other systems respect access through Citrix. Clients have extranets, but not live information into the firm systems.
Ian took a similar position. They take the view that they are a partnership. You need some ethical walls. But if you stumble across something you shouldn't see, then you close it. They found that they needed to restrict access to administrative documents and bankruptcy documents. Enterprise search made these much more findable. And found that those administrators were not using appropriate document security.
Lance's firm is against extranets. (Strange position.)
Ian pooh-poohed the idea of digital dictation and automated fax delivery. He thinks they are dinosaurs. Dictation is fading away and faxes are fading away as a way to deliver. He would prefer that someone scan the document and email it.
How to gain access to key lawyers and the firm clients?
Marsha finds it hard. As an example she gave a presentation to the attorneys as a background for what their client did.
Ian raised a cardinal rule of not talking to a client without a partner around. He has found that e-discovery has become a common topic of conversation with general counsel at clients. He is also finding that clients are increasingly becoming vendors.
In talking about e-discovery, Ian often has to discuss the meaning of "gone." Is it gone forever, mostly gone, hard to find gone, etc.
Marsha thinks IT should move beyond just keeping the trains running to taking a more strategic view of the technology. She is finding that clients want to know more about the ability of the firm to deliver information.
Ian does not make an appointment to talk about knowledge management. He uses the lure of something sexier, like the attorney's blackberry. Then he turns the conversation.
Marsha is focusing on the productivity benefits of knowledge management.
How do you use technology committees?
Lance uses his technology committee as an advisory group. He did put a document management purchase decision to a vote of the committee. But then he disbanded it.
Ian keeps the committee fresh by adding and deleting people on a regular basis. They are not the geeks of the firm. He wants people to be representative of the attorney user group. He also pointed out that the committee was a factor in making his predecessor become his predecessor.
Marsha similarly has a broad range of members and has added associates and is trying to add staff. She uses them as advisers. They are also good at bringing problems to her attention and bringing information back from other venues.
It was great to hear the knowledge management flag being saluted by the Chief Information Officers.
For the day I am planning to attend:
AT1: Legal Technology Best Practices
KM2: Technology Integration - The New Face of KM
KM2: KM Roundtable -Practical Approaches
Here is the link for all of my postings from LegalTech 08.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Please share any examples in the comments or drop me a private line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am also looking for some more speakers for the panel. Let me know if you are interested.
Simon Chester, Connie Crosby, Ross Fishman and I all pointed out the pros and cons of a law firm adopting a client relationship management program. I think all of us agreed that a CRM system is generally a good thing to have. I think we also all agreed that adopting a CRM system is hard to implement from a technology and a cultural perspective. You need the firm's lawyers and staff to be willing to share their contact information. You also need the technology to make it easy to share.
Friday, February 1, 2008
These are the three sessions I will attending on Tuesday:
KM1: How Knowledge Management Has Grown Up
Knowledge Management arrived as a concept a number of years ago. But it has taken more time for viable commercial systems and approaches to deliver real value. This session explores:
* Why early KM efforts didn't always live up to their promises.
* Why building the internal case for KM is sometimes more difficult than it should be.
* How commercial systems have evolved to provide real benefit.
* What differentiates a successful KM approach from those that have not done as well?
* What new approaches are emerging to provide the next round of innovation?
Vice President and General Manager
Director of Knowledge Management
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
KM2: Technology Integration – The New Face of KM
Early approaches to Knowledge Management tended to take one of two forms:
1. Individual, highly customized systems;
2. Commercial applications providing KM to the mass market.
Some organizations have moved to combine the two approaches in a technology integration that combines the best of both worlds. In this session, you will hear from leading law firms that have embarked on highly customized approaches that still integrate the best of what commercial systems have to offer.
Director of Knowledge Management
Morrison & Foerster LLP
New York, New York
Chief Knowledge Officer
Reed Smith LLP
Los Angeles, California
Global Head of Know-How
Allen & Overy LLP
KM3: KM Roundtable – Practical Approaches
Though Knowledge Management is not a new concept, many organizations struggle to find practical approaches that work for their specific needs. This panel features leading KM experts from large law firms committed to making KM a success. Find out about the particular approaches they've used to make their KM initiatives a success.
Armstrong Teasdale LLP
St. Louis, Missouri
LISA KELLAR GIANAKOS
Senior Practice Consultant
Hunton & Williams
Director of Knowledge Management
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP
Los Angeles, California
Tuesday Night I plan to attend the Law Technology News Awards Dinner. Goodwin Procter is picking up an award for Most Innovative Use of Technology by a Law Firm.
I am not sure about Wednesday. It looks like I qualify for lousy coffee and mediocre danish at the LegalTech bloggers meeting.
Wednesday Night is a cocktail reception hosted by ILTA for the Knowledge Management Peer Group. (I am now on the steering committee.)
Thursday Morning is quiet get together of some legal knowledge management peers.
- Wikis will be a great way to synthesize knowledge
- Blogs will be a great way to make announcements and summarize meetings
- Email needs to be incorporated
- Document management systems can host
- RSS is there to spread the word
- Search to find all of the good stuff
In starting this tread about law firm knowledge management 2.0, I wanted to emphasize that the existing "1.0" technology tools and the growing list of web 2.0 /enterprise 2.0 tools are just giving people better ways to communicate and collaborate. The list of tools will get longer and longer. We need to embrace them and find the best way to deploy them across the enterprise and make sure the content is findable.