Monday, June 30, 2008

Legal Implications of Enterprise 2.0

The reason I attended this conference was because of an invitation from Paul Lippe of Legal OnRamp. Paul extended the invitation for me to provide audience input on this session. Paul wanted me to be a rapporteur.

Three Goals of the session:
  • How lawyers can use these techniques
  • How to address legal concerns about Enterprise 2.0
  • Tips on getting platforms up cheaply and quickly
Paul focused on the benefits of a system focused around experts and their expertise.  (Like Legal OnRamp.)  He thinks it is much more in line with what a business would want for a social platform than Facebook.  It really is a knowledge platform not a social platform.  Knowledge is inherently social.

Paul turned to Michael Kelleher to lead a project in developing a set of information on the legal issues associated with enterprise 2.0.  They developed a Web 2.0 and The Law wiki inside Legal OnRamp.  Michael largely put forth that enterprise 2.0 does not introduce new issues. Many of the issues of enterprise 2.0 are the same issues and concerns raised when email first came into the enterprise. 

Ownership of IP
One of the benefits of enterprise 2.0 is in the gathering ideas from a broader scope.  Of course with ideas being thrown around more freely, you need to define the boundaries of ownership around the ideas. 

Privacy is a big issue, largely because of the varying laws in different jurisdictions. The European requirement are stricter than the US requirements. Again, email and e-commerce are already dealing with these issues. 

Respondeat Superior
In what way does the company get implicated by the actions of an employee?  This is nothing new for enterprise 2.0. Companies already need to deal with what happens if an employee gets hurt at the company picnic or what the employee is sending out in email.

Employment Regulation
You need to be clear as to whether participating in these tools is part of their job description and whether they are getting paid for it.  Obviously, you cannot make employees blog and not pay them for their time blogging.

The information in enterprise 2.0 platforms is potentially discoverable, just as any other records system is discoverable.  Email discovery can be very costly, largely because the native systems are so poor at searching for content. One advantage of the enterprise 2.0 tools is the increased findability.

Securities Regulation

Enterprise 2.0 tools, at their core, are communications tools.  Like any other communications tool you need to make sure you comply with securities regulations.

Enterprise 2.0 for Law Firms.
There are many features of enterprise 2.0 that fit very nicely with the work of law firms. But there are still some things to figure out with enterprise 2.0.  Can it work for paid, privileged work? Can it be self-organizing or do you need leaders? Is it sustainable? How do you deal with the formalisms of law?

Eating His Own Dogfood.
What better example for legal wiki than an article on wikis and enterprise 2.0?  Paul and the contributors assembled this information using a wiki in Legal OnRamp.

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