Over the last several weeks I’ve been discussing knowledge management specifically in the areas of healthcare, telecommunications, government (military) and mergers/acquisition.
During these conversations a colleague of mine mentioned law firms and whether KM can provide viable assistance for lawyers and other legal personnel.
The conversation went quickly to KM tools such as those provided by Lexis Nexis (www.lexisnexis.com). I cautioned however that KM is not about IT. Technology is an enabler for KM initiatives. You must first understand the business of the law firm and the lawyers who operate in it (every firm and lawyer has different knowledge needs). So, I suggested you start with crafting a KM Strategy to understand how KM will be leveraged by the firm.
Law firms’ focus centers around client relationships and understanding the clients’ legal needs. These needs can range from, but are not limited to, litigation, intellectual property, criminal, divorce, and bankruptcy. In understanding what a client needs the law firm partner has to determine who would be the best (lawyer/lawyers) to address specific needs of the client and how can they effectively and efficiently handle these needs. Therefore knowledge around servicing the client would be a good start for the KM Strategy to focus.
The KM Strategy should address the knowledge needs, processes, initiatives and tools that will increase the performance of the staff, provide outstanding services and increase revenue of the firm.
I look forward to your comments.