Knowledge Management for Law Firms
Process, People, Technology and Information
Written by Knowledge Team, posted on March 11, 2019.
Why we need KM in law firms and how Knowledge Managers and Librarians can effectively implement a cultural change without facing resistance among users. Do KM initiatives have any tangible benefits
Knowledge Management in Law Firms
Knowledge Management is the approach of making the best use of knowledge gathered over time, within the law firm to efficiently utilize it for fulfilling the Organizational objectives. It involves strategically handling knowledge that is useful for some purpose and which creates value for the law firm. Knowledge Management System captures the collective wisdom of lawyers and reuses them. It is the processes of identifying, saving, disseminating and use prior work and accumulated expertise to solve legal and business problems.
WKnowledge – an asset for the Law Firms
Knowledge is any organization’s greatest asset. These assets may include law firm’s databases, documents, policies, procedures, contracts and the expertise and experience in attorneys. It is important for law firms to incorporate initiatives, processes, strategies and systems that will help to retain and enhance the value, saving, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.
Steps in Knowledge Management
- For a law firm, the first step in KM is to identify from where and in what forms, knowledge exists. Tangible sources might be legal document management system which can be converted to precedents.
- The next step is to promote a culture among the law firm for learning, sharing the knowledge and to make the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time.
- Store this knowledge and make it readily available for the right people.
- The available knowledge should be reused and must be tried to generate or acquire new relevant knowledge.
- Continuously assess, apply the new knowledge created and refine the organizational knowledge.
- The law firm has to first consider the purpose and objectives they wish to fulfill and how the organization will adopt strategic goals to follow the best practices for managing its knowledge assets long term.
Tools for Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management must provide or create the right tools for enhanced learning.
- Documents can be easiest source of KM for any law firms. Documents created for Matter management can be categorized, tagged, and key words attached as meta data. General documents can be specifically designed for regular reference and reuse. These can include legal research documents, templates of litigation filings, model transaction documents and checklists. This process aids in storing, publishing, indexing and retrieving knowledge in the form of information. The sheer volume of documents that an organization maintains speaks a lot about the focus on the legal Knowledge Management system in the law firm.
- An effective Legal DMS as part of matter management system will be starting of legal kms solution. The system must suggest the documents like precedents, or court documents to Attorneys based on case type.
Search Tools for Knowledge Management
- An important aspect about knowledge management is the ability to share and retrieve knowledge and information that one is looking for. The more data, information, and knowledge that is stored in the law firm databases or in Office 365 cloud features, the number of steps to retrieve the information increases and users might not use the KM solution.
Techniques used in knowledge management is aimed at better searching through knowledge and information repositories. Retrieval process can be made easy with tools for indexing, advanced algorithms for query formulating and searching and selecting the end results.
Technology & Artifical Intelligence
Technology paves way for automation and enables knowledge management. It helps to improve quality, consistency, focus and efficiency at work. AI systems help to boost knowledge management and provide the intelligence required for the law firm to operate more efficiently. AI helps to overcome the past problems of dealing with huge amounts of data in law firms which were once very difficult to maintain. Machine learning process will train the KM system based on law practice and document suggestion will be precise based on case type.
Assessing the Profit/Loss Reports
Once the transactions are entered in the ledger and financial reports prepared, the law firm can assess the financial status and health of law firm’s business. The primary rule is that every debit must have an equal credit and all the accounts must get balanced. With all the gathered data on income and expenses of law firms, analysis should be carried out that actually shows what profit/loss the law firm has gained.
Implementing Knowledge Management
To implement Knowledge management, law firms should employ a well-planned strategy. The objective is to manage, share, and create relevant knowledge assets that will help meet tactical and strategic requirements.
Law Firm Culture
The law firm culture determines the way people in the law firm interact, the context within which knowledge is created, the readiness to embrace change and ultimately the way they share knowledge.
Law Firm Processes
The right processes and systems to establish the best practices for Knowledge Management needs to be implemented in the law firm. Governance committee can be formed to setup SME (subject matter expert), guide the taxonomy management, review of KM information, identifying precedents to be made available in the library and workflow to update legal research collected into KM repository.
The members of the law firm decide how to cultivate a knowledge-sharing, knowledge-driven culture and to influence others with their knowledge.