Friday, August 29, 2008

ILTA Conference Wrap Up

The International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference was loaded with educational programs. I have lots of posts with my notes.

From the early days of this blog, I have kept my notes from educational conferences in this blog.  But I was not alone doing this at the ILTA conference. There were a few other people live blogging as well.  Here are the summaries of sessions that I have tracked down:

Collaboration Tools:Email Management
Enterprise Content Management:
Enterprise Search:
Experience Management:
Firm Management:
How to Start a KM Program:

    Law Departments:
    Matter Management

    Project Management:
    Social Networking:
      Web 2.0
      Wikis in Law Firms:

      Let me know if there are any that I missed. Also, feel free to post any others in the comments.

      There were also a few other attendees who were Twittering from the Conference. Once place you can see the Twitter stream is using the for ilta08.

      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.

      Building Bridges to Practices

      Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . . .
      How many times have you heard that technology projects "need buy-in from the top" or that IT needs to "connect with the practice?" Many projects, and sometimes whole IT departments, find it hard to establish this connection, leaving them little recourse than to buy what others buy, follow the herd and hope for success. We explore "structural" ways to connect IT strategy with business strategy. It is not enough simply to acknowledge the need to connect. You need to have a plan to do so and take specific steps to carry out that plan. We discuss organizational structures, communication methodologies and other techniques designed to help you make the connection.

      Speaker: Sally Gonzalez - Senior Director, Knowledge Management at EXENET LLC

      My Notes:

      Sally started off with some examples of being "connected" to the organization and being "disconnected." It is important to focus on what the technology "does," not what the technology "is."  You need to characterize IT as an investment, not as a cost center.  Don't be an order taker. Be innovative, find what the attorneys needs and anticipate what a lawyer needs.

      You need to understand the business. You need to understand the economics, trends, services, competitors and clients of the firm.

      IT can look for ways to bind the clients to the law firm. You can create extranets and external applications for the client.

      Look for ways that IT can help in the war in talent. You need to deliver the best tools to the lawyers to help them do their job.  

      To create a connected strategy, you need to understand the current state. You should focus on the "information," not the "technology."  Then you need to form the vision and figure out what you want to be and where you want to go.  Then develop the plant to go from you are today to where you want to be. Communication is key.

      Focus on the "field of gains" first. Those projects that are easy to implement and deliver a lot of value.  Create programs with links to business and a program description.  Outline the benefits, risks and costs of the program. Sally recommends that you also create a program for ongoing operations.

      Sally thinks setting up practice service team are a great way to connect the lawyers to the technical people. You designate specific contacts for practice groups, identify liaisons and foster tight working relationships.  Think about embedding IT in client teams.

      Don't hide your light under a barrel. Show your success. Communicate like a business leader.

      This was a great presentation from Sally.  The audience seemed to rally catch onto these ideas and looked ready to go back and change (or at least give some thought to making a change) with the way they operate their groups at their firms.

      Resources to help learn about the legal market:
      • David Maister’s books on managing professional service firms
      • Business Press (WSJ, Managing Partner Magazine, The Lawyer, Law Firm Inc, American Lawyer Publications)
      • Your firm’s website and intranet
      • Hildebrandt Headlines and Publications
      • Adam Smith Esquire
      • Roll on Friday
      • Internet search alert for your firm's name
      • In person: seminars and conferences
      Download the session materials.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Making the Move to WorkSite 8.3 and Laying the Groundwork for 8.5

      Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . . .

      This was a sparsely attended session (it was during lunch time) from Chris RuBert, Director Customer Care of Interwoven giving a Worksite 8.3 Field Update and Shawn on preparing for Worksite 8.5.

      Technote 62008-2619 provides planning guidelines. For every 5 million documents in Worksite, you need a 4 CPU/Core server with 8-16 GB RAM. Within the guidelines, you want to be able to process 1 search per CPU/Core per second with an average search response times of 3 to 5 seconds. Investing in hardware will yield a return. More processors get you faster indexing and more searches per second. More RAM gets you faster searches. 64 bit is the recommended platform, with better performance and greater stability.  The Indexer should not be on a virtual machine. The concern is the IO bottleneck on VM platforms when under load. It is a resource intensive application.

      The 8.3 upgrade is a little easier than past upgrades.  Get your hardware and point it at the production data.  You can identify potential content issues in the test and test real user searches against a live index since you are setting up a parallel system. You hit the switch to move from verity to velocity.

      Indexing performance tuning guide is available on the Interwoven Support Site (72008-2659). You do need to get the virus and backup software out of the way of the Indexer.

      Wildcard searching has changed. A custom dictionary is recommended. Wildcard searching requires 3 characters. Searches with dashes is a problem, but can be configured in syntax. Leading wildcards should only be used when needed. (We have noticed this to a be a problem. This is a big change in functionality.) The old setting automatically inserted leading and ending wildcards. With the velocity search engine, you want to disable the leading wildcard. The trailing wildcard is addressed with stemming. This is why you need to build the dictionary.

      The current problem is that the indexer either indexes all versions or just the latest version. If you index all versions, then all versions come back in the search results (This is terrible see: Interwoven Express Search and Worksite 8.3 Update - Back to Wow!! ) The service pack will just show the lateste version that meets the search criteria.

      Version 8.5 is trying to enhance the offline experience, email management, searching, MCC and multi-language support.

      They are looking to have seamless online/offline switching. They want to handle a network failure allowing wired to wireless switch. They also want to have better synchronization and have it in the background. You can pause, see the progress and manually stop it (if you have a bad connection). Of course they want better performance. They are using a new SQL express client database and event driven architecture.

      When you deploy Offsite, there may be a big initial synchronization which will put a big load on the server. You want to phase the rollout.

      Offsite is going to be tied into email management.  You can continue filing email when you are not on the network.

      Version 8.5 will allow multi-byte languages (like the Asian languages) in description, comments, to, from, cc and bcc.  Version 9 will be fully unicode.

      Version 8.5 will also index workspaces, including the metadata and descriptions. It will enforce filing locations so that documents must be in a folder in a workspace. It will introduce a search for workspace in the save document window, giving the workspace in the window. It also will not show the contents of the folder anymore. Showing the documents takes time to render. There is a button to show the documents. Seeing the documents helps you to see if you are saving the document in the correct place. Since version 8.5 will be indexing workspace, you need to make sure you have the recommended hardware.

      Version 8.5 will allow server-side email filing. This will result in a big time saving. Currently any email filing takes at least a second per email. This is because the filing is happening on the machine. (It is fast on outlook/exchange because it is happening on the server.) Now the email movement will be a server-based transaction. The heavy lifting happens on the Interwoven Communication Server. They will using the email icon in Outlook to indicate that the email has been sent for filing and then again when it is actually filed.

      There is also a new filing toolbar. When you highlight the email, it will offer a list of suggested workspaces. (Just like the Blackberry file email suggestion.) There is also an option to (i) file, (ii) file and delete from Outlook and (iii) file, print and delete from Outlook. The toolbar has an button to save the attachment into Worksite.

      There is also an Outlook folder sync function. You can set up a link from your email folder to a Worksite folder. The user can focus on the organization and not have to focus on finding and filing. It will also work from any email access: Outlook Web access or Blackberry. A benefit of using a convenience copy in Outlook/Exchange is you can still use flags and follow up indicators.

      You can also do delegate filing. If the secretary is filing the email, author will be the attorney not the secretary.

      One issue is the physical location of the Exchange servers and DM servers. Since you do have server filing, you can put a load on the WAN.

      The upgrade from 8.3 to 8.5 will require a re-indexing of the document collection.

      Law Firm Economics

      Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . . .
      This session builds on last year's session by Bruce MacEwen and John Alber. They will review the basic economics of law firms - what makes them similar to other businesses and what differentiates them - and then explore particular applications of these principles with special emphasis on deciding where best to make technology investments. Included in this session will be some exposure to statistical analysis techniques that help you understand which practices can benefit from additional investments - including technology investments - and which cannot.

      • John Alber - Bryan Cave, LLP
      • Bruce MacEwen - Adam Smith, Esq.
      My Notes:

      The market conditions today:
      • clients are unhappy with the level of service
      • clients are reducing the number of firms that service them
      • purchasing agents are key players in law firm selection
      • clients are driving change like Legal OnRamp
      • extraordinary price and budget pressure
      • clients are banding together to band together on issues like associate compensation, diversity, etc.
      What are law firms doing in response:
      • A lot of business as usual
      • Some growth in fixed fee engagements, risk sharing proposals
      • Some creative technology responses
      • Some increased use of business analytic tools to refine pricing, staffing models (see Redwood Dashboard)
      Interview with Jeremy Hand
      Chairman of British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
      Quoted in LegalWeek June 19, 2008 on the failings of law firm management
      “Very often the managing or the senior partner does not actually control, run and manage the firm in a way that other professionally run organizations would expect to see. In fact, making quick, effective, efficient, and in some cases bold commercial decisions to take advantage of opportunities like the Legal Services Act is simply beyond the capabilities of the partnership group as a whole to make. I do not necessarily think that the best outcomes are going to be delivered by lawyers who happen to have been promoted into senior management roles.”

      Someone has to propagate knowledge of business fundamentals into the decision-making process on pricing, staffing and growth decisions. A starting point on the decision-making process is to understand law firm economics.

      The income statement of the "P and L" has three variables:
      • Rates
      • Hours
      • Realization
      All three of these variables have a ceiling. They are not unlimited. You can only at so high a rate, work so many hours and only reach 100% realization.

      The expense side consists of:
      • people (65%)
      • rent (26%)
      • everything else (9%), including IT which ranges from 1% to 7%
      The percentages are rough averages.

      Law firms cannot compromise on talent (people) or being in Class A downtown space in financial capitals. Law firms should be able to budget their expenses very accurately.

      Profit Margins. The AmLaw 100 averaged a profit margin of 36%. The downside is that a 10% discount on rates leads to a 28% drop in profits. The expense side is very fixed.

      What does an equity partner cost? They have the cost as a worker. You have to pay them what an equally talented non-equity partner would be paid. They are managers. You have to pay them what you would have to pay a professional manager to do the job. They are owners and have a residual claim on profits after everyone else gets paid. The "Profits Per Partner" figure combines all three costs into one.

      Where does IT fit in? Every penny spent on IT comes out of the partners pocket. If you are going to make an investment decision, you need a compelling case that it will pay for itself in full or better this year. There is not concept of "retained earnings." Law firms strip cash out and distribute to the partners.

      Every professional services firm (including law firms) has a mix of revenue creating groups and expense creating groups. The working lawyers create expense and rainmakers create cash. That is comparing hours billed to fees billed.  This is a touchy issue inside law firms. Lots of lawyers do not like to talk about profitability.

      In looking at profitability, you need to analyze the relationship between revenue and expense. It is not always linear. If they are linear, the opportunities for profits to increase are limited. If they are non-linear, with revenue increases not tied to expenses, then profits can rapidly increase.

      You can break the linear relationship by not being tied to hourly billing. That has a built-in cap on profitability.

      There are also three time-tested ways to influence the relationship between revenue and expense:
      • Brand - For example, wall street firms. Can you be the go to firm and charge a premium
      • Lifetime client value - Not thinking matter by matter, but as a flow of revenue and experience
      • Transactional costs
      IT, Finance and other law firm business functions can strongly influence the relationship between revenue and expense by creating a kind of “information gravitation” that makes decision-making information transparent and accessible.

      Transparency questions that can help be answered with technology:
      • Am I making money now? 
      • Where is the break-even point?
      • How can I disassociate income from expense?
      • How can I increase lifetime client value?
      • Are my service levels appropriate to my price model?
      • What supply/demand conditions are we operating in?
      Make this information is the key to getting better decision-making inside the firm.

      Law firm matters/transactions/cases are essentially projects with resources, tasks to be accomplished and a critical path to the desired end.

      One way to show transparency is to show the margin per partner per hour. 

      Download the session materials.

      My ILTA Schedule

      MCC Design Awards from Interwoven

      Interwoven announced the winners of their MCC design contest at International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference.

      Congratulations to Lisa Gianakos of Reed Smith LLP for getting First Place!

      Wednesday, August 27, 2008

      Law Firm Adoption of Web 2.0

      Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . .  As Web2.0 tools mature, there is an increased number of adoptions by Fortune 500 companies. We explore and learn if Web 2.0 solutions already being adapted by Fortune 500 companies would be accepted by the lawyers in your firm.

      Speaker: Bruce MacEwen of

      Bruce is cautious optimist about the adoption of the these tools. He sees the most important change from Web 1.,0 when you surfed, to Web 1.5, when you searched, and to Web 2.0 when you share.

      He thinks they have a real place as a management tools in professional services firm. They have so many advantages over email [See Luis Suarez's approach on]. Of course there are rules of the road.  He pointed to IBM's Social Computing Guidelines. He recognizes that HR and PR will be concerned about the loss of control and approval.

      An audience member focused on the comment function.  Bruce has seen it. But he thinks it is a defensive position. On his own site, Bruce gets 10 personal emails for every comment. I pointed out that legal blogs are not that interesting and do not get that many comments.

      Bruce went through DOs and DON'Ts for blogging. (You can see them in the session materials.) Bruce views blogs as a way to prove expertise. You can say you are an expert. But you need to prove it. He also sees blogs as a great tool for knowledge management.

      Bruce also sees a strength for a blog to be in project management. The reverse chronological nature of blog lends itself nicely to project management. You are typically interested in the latest piece of information. A blog displays the most recent post at the top.

      Bruce moved on to wikis. A wiki is just a blog with lots of authors.  Wikipedia does not work in theory, it only works in practice. Vandalism fears are unfounded. Are your people going to vandalize your reception area? No, so why would they vandalize a firm wiki.

      He cited the case of Dresdner where the introduction of wikis reduced email traffic by 75%.

      He cited another case study (You can see them in the session materials.) The company rolled out six internal group blogs with 150 contributors. It worked because it is very intuitive. They are much like the way people think. People do not think in structured information like databases. They think unstructured like wikis and blogs.  You also have the update features, the categorization and easy searches.

      Bruce moved on to mashups. He focused first on companies use of Google Maps.He showed an example of locating key clients on a Google Map. So if you are out of the office with some free time, the attorney could quickly see if there are any key clients nearby.

      He calls Web 2.0 not "Hi-Tech," but "Appropriate Tech." The tools are easy to use tools that allow you to easily share information.

      Bruce is more cautious than optimistic on social networks. He thinks they have intriguing opportunities. He thinks MySpace is appalling.  He sees LinkedIn as still being scattered.

      He thinks if anything is going to work in the legal field it is Legal OnRamp. He has a concerns that it is getting too big. He cited the natural connection limit of 150 people. It is hard to know more than 150 people. He also did not like the presence feature on  Legal OnRamp. He found it creepy.  

      Bruce is still striving to find success stories. He sees much more proven success inside law firms than the deployment outside firms. The McKinsey report on Web 2.0 showed much success in the corporate world.

      The power of the tools is to form and strengthen networks.  But it does require the business side to engage with IT on development and for IT to look over the horizon. 

      To end, he played this video, Information R/evolution by Michael Wesch:

      A great presentation and insight from Bruce.

      Download the session materials.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Fire the Technology Committee

      Continuing my live-blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. . . .

      Let's see, what qualifies someone for membership on a firm's technology committee? Desire for an Apple iPhone? Having assembled an Altair computer in 1975? Having a son-in-law in the computer business? Technology committees are notorious for their ineffectiveness. We'll do our best to find out the proper way to govern technology investment and strategy inside law firms; the goals of governance and who should set them; the attributes of a good technology committee; and other governance structures that work (and ones that never work) in this lively and entertaining panel discussion.

      • Michael Mills - Davis Polk & Wardwell
      • John Tredennick - Law Practice Today
      • Chris Bull - Osborne Clarke
      I missed most of the session, but slipped in for the final few minutes.

      Government structure is important and you need to think about the relationship with the technology committee. It is important to give the committee tasks and to keep them busy. View the committee as working for you. For example, if you are thinking about moving to Office 2007, ask the technology committee to ask their clients what they are doing.

      You also need to address the difference between responsibility and authority.

      Download the session materials.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Interwoven Matter-Centricity for Non-Conformists

      Continuing my live blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference, I sat in the session from Interwoven and MicroStrategies on using their Matter Centric approach to their document management system.

      MicroStrategies and Todd from Lownestein Sandler presented their view on how Lownestein Sandler use Matter Centricity.

      Specialized practice groups operate differently. Managing partners and other heavy hitters who operate on their own. Administrative departments also have a different way of dealing with documents. They do not work on matters.

      You need to dealt with complaints that matter workspaces are organized by matter numbers. Attorney do not remember attorney numbers. They remember client and matter names. Lownestein had half of the firm wanted it organized by client name and the other half wanted client number.

      They used shortcuts to see matters in a different way. Lowenstein organized matter workspaces named Client#, Matter#, Client name and matter name (in that order). They used a shortcut with a new name Client name, matter name, client#, matter#. They use a tool from Microstrategies that automatically creates the shortcuts.

      The firm had a client with hundreds of matters with several opening per day. They really needed a way to organize the matter workspaces. It also caused a huge screen real estate problem. The solution was to build out a tree structure of the matter workspaces for that client using shortcuts for a fictional user account. The tool automatically adds newly opened workspaces into the client's shortcut tree.

      One user wanted to just fill out the document profile and not have to find the matter workspace and folder. They created a script that finds the documents and moves them into document folders. It also required a setting on the computer to keep the classic view and not the matter workspace view when saving documents and finding documents.

      Then next problem is cross-disciplinary matters, where you multiple practices involved. For example, when you have tax, labor or another group working on a securities matter. They created an email address that will create a new folder, with the name of the folder in the subject line. You use the "file and send" function and file the email in the matter workspace. This allows the user to create a new folder without the elevated rights that would allow them to edit the workspace.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Legal Aspects of Collaboration Tools (Blogs, Wikis, MashUps, IM, Text Messages, Social Networks and More)

      More live blogging from the ILTA Conference. . .
      Collaboration technologies help promote information sharing, efficiency, cost reduction and can provide competitive advantages. How does the legal environment deal with the information overload and the security of confidential information escaping the realm of the organization? What aspects of legal information need to be considered to help determine how collaboration tools should be utilized in the legal world (and when they should not)? What policies must be in place to protect the shared information?.

      • Tom Mighell - Fios
      • Dennis Kennedy - MasterCard Worldwide
      My Notes:

      The internet changes everything.  Collaboration is no longer optional. What are you doing?

      Mapping the Current Collaboration Landscape:
      • News and Communication
      • Working Together
      • Social Networking and Web 2.0
      • Key: How Are We Moving Beyond Email as a Platform? [See Luis Suarez -]
      Collaboration is about working together. Lawyers need to share documents inside the firm.

      A fair amount of the session was on the basics of collaboration tools and social networking tools. (Tom claimed that LinkedIn is more robust than Facebook as a social networking tool. I do not agree. LinkedIn may be more widely used by lawyers, but is has much less functionality.)

      They moved on to active versus passive collaboration tools and enhanced workflow. Tom thinks we are moving toward more project management.

      Loss of Control, Security and Ethics are the three big legal issues with collaboration tools.  Attorneys are taught to control the document drafting. Wikis and Google Docs take a away drafting control. (Personally, I do not think anyone should be thinking about collaboratively drafting documents with adverse parties.)

      Tom shared some horror stories about cloud computing. I countered that firms have just as much downtime and network problems. (If not more!) You do need to focus and have policy for dealing with document retention and discovery issues.

      Collaboration tools do pose security issues. Dennis ran through a few issues.

      Tom turned to ethical issues and the lack of opinions and law on the ethical implications of collaboration tools and web 2.0. There was an ABA many years ruling that email can be confidential client communication.  The other rulings are on document metadata. At least one state has ruled that lawyers need to be aware that documents have metadata and that the accidental release of information in document metadata will have ethical implications.

      They moved on to striking the balance between risks and benefits. Dennis opined that if telephones came out today, most firms would ban them. (People would waste their time on the phone, they would talk to friends and family. . . )

      IT departments need to allow innovation. The ways we work and communication have evolved and will continue to evolve.

      You do need to define and implement appropriate policies. Doing nothing is a bad option. You need to channel appropriate behaviors. Attorneys will find work-arounds to avoid the technology policies. Attorneys want to get their work done. 

      Looking into the future, Tom sees two things impacting these tools. One is the high price of gas.  Maybe there will be more video conferencing and collaboration because it is too expensive to travel. The second is using the internet as a platform.  Dennis thinks clients may start driving the use of these collaboration tools.

      Download the session materials.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Tuesday, August 26, 2008

      Wikis in Law Firms - Video Preview

      The folks at did a video interview of me just prior to the start of my Wikis in Law Firms presentation at  International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference. You can see it at the Westblog: Using Wikis in Law Firms,

      or just watch it here below:

      My ILTA Schedule

      Social Networking - Marketing Boon, Malpractice Nightmare or Simple Boondoggle

      The recruiting manager has created a firm FaceBook site. The marketing director is encouraging all the lawyers to join LinkedIn. The firm's general counsel is freaking out over the possible ethic violations and malpractice possibilities. The older lawyers simply aren't sure what to do. The younger lawyers are wondering what all the hoopla is about. We explore social and business networking, the potential problems and rewards and what you can do about it.

      Speaker: Jeffrey Brandt, Chief Information Officer and Chief Knowledge Officer at Crowell + Moring LLP

      My Notes:

      Jeff started off with definitions of social networking and a long list of web 2.0 sites.

      He got focused on this areas because of overly exuberant people at his prior firm. Nobody talked to the risk management people to talk about the ethical and bar regulations that apply to lawyers.

      Jeff is a big fan of LinkedIn (His profile: Jeffrey Brandt).  He also uses Plaxo (although much less so), Twitter (but he is not sure what it is all about),  and Facebook (but is seriously lacking friends).

      Facebook and MySpace are for kids. Except that there are 100 million + user of Facebook and it is the fourth most trafficked site on the internet. All of them cannot be kids

      LinkedIn is a fad.  Of the Fortune 500 companies, 499 have director-level profiles in LinkedIn. Barack Obama used it to extend his campaign.  In looking at LinkedIn, for many law firms, the number of profiles has doubled over the last year. If it is fad, it is a powerful one.

      Second Life. Sun and Intel hold meetings in Second Life. Companies have set up storefonts in Second Life.

      Less than 10% of people on the ILTA listserv have a formal or informal policy on social networks.

      Jeff noticed that there were problems with some of the profile information for attorneys in LinkedIn. Marketing had pushed it to raise the personal profile of the attorney and to raise the profile of the firm. It also works as a "who knows who." It is a great way to address alumni networking and classmate networking.  It is a great information update tool.

      Facebook has a lot of potential for recruiting. The recent college graduate crowd uses Facebook a lot.

      Malpractice Nightmare?

      You can inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship? Absolutely! LinkedIn Answers is particularly problematic. The big problem is that these web-based answers last forever. So there is a permanent record of the legal advice that you give. It is okay to say give me a call.

      Social network profiles need to be in compliance with local bar rules and ethical requirements. Recommendations and specialties can be particularly problematic. Of course they must also be truthful.

      The problem is that firms are not addressing the use of these sites. Blocking them is useless. Your employees will still access the sites outside of the workplace. If they say they work at the firm, the conduct of that person on the internet will get attributed to the company.

      Law firm management need to wake up and pay attention to these issues. Social networks are here to stay and are to be avoided at the firm's risk. Well established procedures and policies can help manage and reduce risk.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Enterprise Content Management

      Enterprise Content Management combines hardware, software, infrastructure and process enabling an organization to store, manage and access information generated throughout the organization, without regard to its form or source. How do intranets, portals and SharePoint aid in these efforts? Learn strategies firms can use to enhance relevance and usability of these tools so attorneys and other timekeepers develop trust in the information produced, and how firms can use these tools to get the right information to the right people at the right time for better business decisions and more effective client service.

      My Notes:

      Enterprise content management is focused on the process of publishing information into a public space. It involves the creation, editing, publishing and updating of content inside the law firm. A huge part of knowledge management is about the collecting organizing and disseminating explicit knowledge. The technology is the piece in disseminating that explicit knowledge.

      But why is enterprise content management becoming a hot topic? There are better front-end channels pushing information. People are expecting a better delivery of information.

      One issue is self-publishing. You need to find a way to get lawyers to create and publish content.

      Shy started off the session with interviews of several people related to the topics and issues of enterprise content management.

      Catherine presented a case study with their use of SharePoint.  Catherine defines ECM as collecting information, organizing information and publishing it in a way that makes sense to consumer of that information.  ECM=Knowledge Management + Information management.  The focus is on efficiency.

      You want to reduce redundant data entry, end-user search time, and confusion is selecting different sources of information .

      ECM is about software. But is also about knowing the workflow of your people, where the information is being stored and how people are using the information.

      One key to success is how to get the attorneys to trust the system.  Jim mapped out some key elements to developing trust in the system.
      • Relevancy - information on the page is relevant to me
      • Usability - laziness, we need to get to information quickly and easily
      • Timeliness
      • Accuracy
      • Reliability
      They rolled out practice specific pages for practice groups. They have gatekeepers for content being published into the Sharepoint intranet.

      They have client centricity on the intranet. This largely done using Handshake webparts. They also have matter centricity, that is also largely done through Handshake webparts.

      They are looking to industry focused pages. This would be focused around awareness and news feeds on the relevant topics.

      The firm has rolled out a personalization of the intranet. They push out a selection of suggested sites, based on their practice, such as practice area sites and external sites. They pull relevant information out of subsites and push it to the person's home page.

      They are using the MySite as the firm directory. They have shut off the customization, but they are using webparts to pull information from other systems onto the MySite for the person.

      They broke the navigation from the firm structure. They use a flat list of departments and practices rather than a hierarchical structure. Users found the hierarchical view too hard to navigate.

      Next, Ellen spoke about her and her firm's experience. She started with a view of the lawyer's task starting with a client question and moving on to how a lawyer gathers the information the lawyer needs to answer the question. One key is trying to get internal and external information tied together. There is an incentive for lawyers to publish to the internal collection, which then gets pushed out to the external site. This is a particularly effective approach for marketing oriented lawyers.

      My Take: My problem with the panelists' approach is that I am focused more opening up the publishing process. I do not want anyone to have to to KM or IT to publish information on our intranet. These are just barriers to contribution. I have been advocating to open out intranet even more. Of course the key to this is being able to monitor the content as it is added and changes. Since our intranet is based on Sharepoint 2007, the blogs, wikis, lists and other collections have an alert feature associated with them.

      I am trying to shift the firm from "ask for permission" to "ask for forgiveness." At the same time, moving it from a "need to know culture" to a "need to share culture." I do not think that enterprise content management fits into my approach of collecting my firm's knowledge.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Web 2.0 - What is Means to Law Firms

      Join the G100 CIO Advisory Board as they provide a recap of the G100 CIO event held on Monday, August 25 in conjunction with ILTA '08.  The focus is “Web 2.0 - What It Means to Law Firms,” including a summary of what Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager for Google Apps shared with the group around the phenomenon of Web 2.0 in general.

      • Peter Lesser - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher + Flom, LLP
      • David Rigali - Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP
      • Karen Levy - Debevoise + Plimpton LLP
      • Peter Attwood - Simmons + Simmons
      • Jeff Brandt - Crowell and Moring
      My Notes:

      G100 is a forum for the CIOs from the 100 biggest law firms in the world. This year, the topic was Web 2.0.  Some of the things they heard were speakers from an Australian law firm, Microsoft and Google.

      The panel started off with a definition of Web 2.0, then moved on to Enterprise 2.0. They wonder if there will really be an impact on corporate information systems.

      One panelist noted that it changes their way of looking at information and whether it needs to be as structured as it currently is structured inside their firms.

      They were surprised to find out that more of the content being added is coming form partners and not junior associates.  (We have the same experience. We are getting much more contribution from partners than associates.)

      Two big factors they noticed. One is that the content gets in very quickly. Second, you need very little IT control or input after the initial set up.

      It is very cheap to fail with these tools.  There is very little incremental cost for each additional wiki page.

      The panel although impressed with web 2.0 are not sold on them. Most of panel was not ready to start adoption of wikis. 

      They had the same view on blogs.  One panelist stated that they have a ban on external blogs. But just the same, they had one internal blog that is highly viewed.

      The panel moved on to Google apps. They were very impressed with a presentation from Google on Google apps.  They were very impressed with cloud computing and the ability to quickly push out updates to the programs. (I hate to rain on their parade, and Google does not use the term, but Google Docs is a wiki system.) They are intrigued with moving from an integrated desktop to a virtual desktop.

      My view. I think the CIOs need to get out more often. They are missing the change that is coming.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Lexis Search Advantage and Interwoven Universal Search

      At the ILTA conference, Lexis and Interwoven announced that they have teamed together to provide some integration. (This is the big announcement I mentioned earlier:  Interwoven - Big Announcement at ILTA.)

      Lexis Search Advantage is a new product from Lexis Nexis. It links to case law, statutes and regulations, with real time Shepard's indicators for cited cases.  It also works with transaction documents by creating a virtual table of contents, a search for reusable clauses and links to companies and people.

      The key to Lexis Search Advantage is that in integrates into Interwoven Universal Search.  Lexis is adding value to firm's existing content and not creating a separate silo of information.  This collapses searches of internal content, Lexis content and updating cases into one platform and one step.  Internal content is combined with Lexis sources.

      According to Doug Stansfield of Lexis, they partnered with Interwoven Universal Search because they thought it was the best enterprise search product in the marketplace for law firms. 

      In the search results, there is a "research preview" button. This brings up a HTML preview of the document with live links to the cases cited in the document and Shepard's signals to the treatment of those cases. Clicking the Lexis content triggers the Lexis charges. The charges are based on your firm's subscription model. You also have highlighting that shows the search terms in the document. The Shepard's signals are updated when the document is opened and rendered. Not when the document is indexed.

      Lexis also allows a search of web content to be another place that you search with Universal Search.  I noticed the search they used also included content on JD Supra and some blogs. (Yet another reason lawyers should be blogging and posting documents to JD Supra.

      For transactional documents, the document has a link to information on people and companies. If the document has IBM as a party, you have a live link to the Lexis Dossier on IBM.  You can also pull up the SEC filings for public companies. The links are configurable, so you could link to Interaction information or other internal sources of information instead.

      Search Advantage also offers some auto-profiling of documents.  It can be matched to a firm's taxonomy or a Lexis taxonomy.

      There are three big advantages to the mashup:
      • Improves ‘Findability’ of content in Interwoven repositories by enriching documents with external meta-data at index time. During indexing, Search Advantage scans the contents of all documents and e-mail.  When it finds a citation to legal authority (court case, statute, etc.), it can add the court or the judge to the searchable metadata of the document. This allows you to find, for example, all documents that cite a particular case or that were filed in a particular court.
      • It eliminates several manual steps previously required to assess current legal validity of precedents and previous firm documents via ‘real-time’ Shepard’s signals. When a user previews a document the document will be shepardized in real time.
      • Makes it easier to navigate from a internal document to case-law on Citations to previous cases, statutes, etc. are automatically hyperlinked to the corresponding source document on when previewed from Interwoven Universal Search.
      Universal Search is already an impressive product. This integration makes it that much more powerful.

      There is public demo of the product on Wednesday in Texas Ballroom 5.

      Press Release: Interwoven and LexisNexis Team Up to Introduce Integrated Solution

      Live Blogging from ILTA

      I am not alone in live blogging from International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference.

      David Hobbie of Caselines is broadcasting his notes:
      LawyerKm is broadcasting his notes:
      Mark Reichenbach of On the Mark


      The official ILTA Conference Blog

      Is anyone else blogging at the conference?

      My ILTA Schedule

      Monday, August 25, 2008

      Wikis in Law Firms

      Wikipedia has over 2,000,000 articles created and edited by users. Can you have a wikipedia for the knowledge inside your law firm? Wikis provide an easy to use platform for capturing content and facilitating collaboration. This session will discuss some of the technical, cultural and procedural issues you need to address in setting up wikis for your law firm.

      In the true wiki spirit, the panel has established a wiki in connection with the session. Feel free to logon to the wiki, explore and edit:
      The invite key is: ilta08

      • Doug Cornelius, Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Procter LLP
      • Michael Mills, Director of Professional Services at Davis Polk & Wardwell
      • Ayelette Robinson, Practice Resources Attorney at Morrison & Foerster LLP

      My Notes:
      Since I was one of the speakers, I did not take notes. But I did not have to. Everything the panel spoke about and more is on the wiki site we set up for the panel:  Feel free to explore the wiki.

      Thanks to PBwiki for giving us the wiki upgrade for the panel.

      PBwiki is the world's largest provider of hosted business and educational wikis. We host over 500,000 wikis, serve millions of users per month, and 96% of our business users would recommend PBwiki to a friend.

      Leading companies from AT&T to Wal-Mart, including 1/3 of the Fortune 500, choose PBwiki to help them with knowledge management, collaboration, project management, and a host of other business processes and workflows.

      My ILTA Schedule

      Enterprise Search - Impact on How We Do Business

      Knowledge workers spend approximately a quarter of their time searching for information, but how successful are they at locating what they are looking for? Our panel members have had enterprise search engines implemented at their respective firms for over a year and discuss the changes they have encountered with enterprise search.

      • Robert Guilbert - Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen + Katz
      • Jeff Rovner - O'Melveny + Meyers LLP
      • Rachelle DeGregory - Sheppard, Mullin, Richter + Hampton LLP
      • Chad Ergun - White + Case LLP
      My Notes:

      Recommind at O'Melveny + Meyers LLP

      Jeff was heavily influenced by the Long Tail (as explained in the The Long Tail by Chris Anderson). Their analysis of enterprise search tools was based, in part, by what was coming out of the consumer internet. The firm chose Recommind. Their search solution imputes lots of of information about a document based on the client/matter designation assigned to the documents. They pull information form the financial system, the matter tracking system, etc. and add it to the metadata for the document.

      They started the Recommind proof of concept in November 2006, finished this June 2007 and launched it in September of 2007. They started with Recommind as a stand alone application. They used flickr as model for the the visual landing page. They also modeled the search training on searching for products on internet shopping sites. If you could shop online at Macy's, you could use Recommind.

      Their second stage of Recommind was integrating it into the intranet. For example, the people search uses the Recommind people search tool. You can filter the search results or used an advanced search to find very specific skills.

      Autonomy for White + Case

      Chad's experience was similar to Jeff's experience. they put together a very long list of features and comparison of four vendors. They picked autonomy. A big issue for them is that they have 38 office with many different language.

      They did a quiet roll out of the product. Their IT systems are very decentralized. Each office had their own document managment system. It would take hours for an attorney to hook into all of the different offices and conduct the search across all 38 systems.

      They have Autonomy index each of the systems and create a united search. They get blazing speed. (Especially compared to the searching each of the separate document management systems.)

      Autonomy also has a desktop application to go along with the web-based search. This was really fast. It also can be incorporated into MS Word. As you type in a document it show you other relevant information in the firm's resources.

      They will also have a search for voicemail.

      . . . .


      The panel thought the tagging features in the next versions of Universal Search and Recommind will be very useful.

      Other thoughts:

      My ILTA Schedule

      UPDATE: slight revision to protect the innocent

      Experience Management - Case Studies in Tackling a Difficult Challenge

      A request frequently made of KM or IS professionals in law firms is to implement a way to efficiently track and report the experience of individual attorneys.  Doing this can help both sell work and deliver work.  However, experience management has proven surprisingly difficult.  Just defining the type of work to be tracked can pose a stumbling block, as it can be tough to find the "just right" level of detail between the "too broad" and "too narrow."  This panel explores ways to manage law firm experience through case studies from firms who have made good progress. Each panelist will discuss the business challenge they faced, the tool they built or adapted to address it, the processes they deployed to ensure good tracking and reporting and the results realized.

      • Kathrine Cain, Winston & Strawn
      • Stan Wasylyk, Michael Farrell Group, Ltd.
      • Doug Cornelius, Goodwin Procter LLP
      My Notes:

      Since I am speaking, my notes are sparse.  It looks like David Hobbie of Caselines and LawyerKM are in the audience and hopefully taking notes they will share.

      To start the project, a small knowledge audit is in order. You need to assess where the information lives and what information is missing. You also need to figure out who controls the information and who need the information. Then you also need to figure out how the information is being used and how people want to use the information.

      Kate spent a fair amount of her time establishing a taxonomy and vocabulary to identify expertise.  To pull this off, they were organizationally agnostic and separate from compensation analysis.

      Stan focused on his experience establishing a platform for Foley & Lardner.  There focus was initially on staffing. They wanted a better way to get associates staffed on matters.  They wanted to avoid partners controlling a stable of associates, they wanted to improve associated development.

      One problem was that the needed information was held in separate silos, often controlled by different groups in the firm.

      They started with an off the shelf product called Maven PSA.

      The end result looks very similar in substance and approach to Goodwin Procter's iStaff application that I am speaking about after Stan.

      One of the challenges of experience management is identifying expertise.  With most systems that we have seen with self-rating expertise, experts tend to say they don't know anything and those with the least skill tend to say that they are experts at everything. 

      Download the session materials.


      My ILTA Schedule

      How to Start a Knowledge Management Program

      International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference presentation on how to start a knowledge management program.

      • Cherylyn Briggs
         Director, Knowledge Management, Dickstein Shapiro LLP 
      • Mara Nickerson
         Director, Professional Development, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
      • Elizabeth Ellis
         Partner, Torys LLP
      • Nola Vanhoy
         Director of Practice Innovation, Alston & Bird LLP
      My Notes:

      This is the first session for me at the ILTA conference

      Organization and Leadership

      Who should lead a knowledge management initiative?  There were professional service organizations that were doing KM long before law firms got on board. There is no right answer or wrong answer. It depends on the culture of the firm and the leadership of the firm.  Inevitably, you are going to be stepping on someone's toes.  KM tends to stick its fingers in lots of different areas, both legal and administrative.  That means you may be intruding into an existing area.

      It may work having KM under the CIO/IT dept. (You can do KM with technology, but it just makes it harder.) 

      There is a generally a good synergy with the Library. They hold lots of substantive information and are used to finding and organizing substantive knowledge.

      Most important is finding a champion. Who in the organization really understands KM and wants KM to succeed? It is easier to start off as part of an existing sphere of influence.

      The Stealth Approach

      Don't label it as KM.  Start small and create success, then build on these. It may be easier to get resources dedicated once you can show the value.

      Identifying and Prioritizing the Need.

      Start by making sure that KM is aligned with the firm's business plan.  If the firm is planning to expand, find ways for KM to add value in the expansion. As a firm gets bigger, you need better tools to find resources and expertise.  Look for piles of documents and information on shared drives or disparate locations.  Look for silos of information that could benefit the firm by being more open and accessible.

      Cherylyn shared two stories from Dickstein Shapiro, they cataloged a hard copy collection of information and published it to the firm's intranet. The second step was an early implementation of WestKM.

      It also important to highlight that KM is not about purchasing a single technology program. There are technology tools that are useful for KM, but there is no single application that will solve all of the KM goals.

      How do you pick the first KM project?  Research first. Find out what other firms have done and how successful they have been.  Then find the pain points inside your firm.  It is better to find an existing pain point to create early value, instead of a high level, conceptual or expensive project. Look for existing activity that is KM, but does not have a KM label.  Lawyers are always doing knowledge management, just not intentionally. (Let's face it. Lawyers sell knowledge. They collect their own knowledge resources. Knowledge management is really about knowledge sharing.

      Getting Management Buy-In

      Be realistic when you start. Management sees KM=cost.  You need to show value. It is hard to show ROI, but you can gather success stories to show value. Tangible examples can sway management. Pictures and real-life examples work best for showing the benefits.

      Knowledge management is all about context.  It is about substance, not technology. Lawyers deal better with other lawyers. It is better to appeal to the lawyers and get them to understand the need and the problems that need to get solved. If you are in KM, you need to talk with the lawyers.

      Knowledge management needs to be institutionalized.  We need to keep people from building silos.  KM is about integrating information and making it accessible, wherever it may be.

      Download the presentation, reading list, and speaker bios

      My ILTA Schedule

      Friday, August 22, 2008

      Interwoven - Big Announcement at ILTA

      I just got a preview from Interwoven of a new product they are getting ready to launch. Interwoven is announcing the product at the International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference on Wednesday, August 27 at 1pm in the Interwoven demo room (Texas Ballroom 5).

      It should be a great tool, adding a great deal of functionality to law firm users of Interwoven's Universal Search. I will share more after I am authorized to go public.

      My ILTA Schedule

      The Paperless Practice Toolkit: Taming the technology tiger

      I will be presenting on collaborative tools and knowledge management on October 1 in Boston as part of a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program.

      The Paperless Practice Toolkit: Taming the Technology Tiger

      Despite the widespread availability of paperless technologies, many attorneys continue to use paper documents to conduct and manage their practices. Every time a document is printed or photocopied, potential efficiencies are lost and unnecessary costs may be incurred. Paper documents are not searchable or sortable. They can become easily disorganized. They require physical storage space in binders, boxes, and cabinets. They are expensive to ship and to archive. Every duplicate set costs as much to copy as the first set, and every time documents are disassembled for copying their condition is degraded.
      There are many cost-effective alternatives to a traditional paper-based practice. For litigation attorneys, these can include electronic discovery (whether of existing electronic files or by scanning existing paper files) and the electronic presentation of evidence at trial. For transactional attorneys, this can include searchable electronic transaction binders and deal rooms rather than hardcopy collections. For all attorneys, this can include the use of electronic document management tools, organizational tools, and search and retrieval tools. Many of these tools are inexpensive and intuitive to use and can be incorporated smoothly into a traditional paper practice.
      This program provides you with all the tools you need to make your practice completely paperless.

      You will learn...
      • The economic benefits of using scanning rather than copying
      • Simple business practices to organize your cases electronically
      • Cost-effective alternatives to paper discovery and production
      • The use of electronic closing binders for organizing transactional documents
      • How to use knowledge-management systems to mine your firm's work-product
      • The use of inexpensive search tools
      • How to conduct a simple but effective paperless trial
      Agenda and electronic written materials
      • Key Steps to Going Paperless
      • A Practical Guide to the Latest Technology
      • Demonstrations of the Newest Tools
      • "Ask the Experts" Q&A Session

      Thursday, August 21, 2008

      Download Materials for the ILTA Conference

      ILTA has posted most of the materials for sessions at International Legal Technology Association's Annual Conference on the Download page on the Conference website. It is a great way to help you pick which sessions you want to attend.
      For instance, you can view the materials for the Wikis in Law Firms session (.pdf) and see that we put our information in a wiki. (What better way to show how to use a wiki than to use a wiki for the presentation materials.)

      I can also check out what my colleague David Hobbie (also the author of the Caselines blog) is going to say on his session: Beyond Matter-Centricity - Full Matter Life Cycle Management and see his materials.

      Wednesday, August 20, 2008

      Twitter and the ILTA Conference

      Twitter is getting many adopters in law firms.  There appear to be at least a few of us headed to the International Legal Technology Association's Conference in Dallas next week. 
      You can follow the ILTA conference on Twitter:
      For those of you using Twitter at the conference we are using the #ilta08 as the hashtag. I am @dougcornelius. For those of you wondering what Twitter is all about, take a look at one of my old posts on Lawyers and Twitter.