Knowledge Management (KM) in law firms has taken off in recent years. Where it’s not only a requirement to have KM experience, a KM Certification (or formal Degree), most law firms are requiring that the candidate also have a JD. The requirement for a JD may not be as stringent at corporations that are looking for KM resources within their legal departments; they usually look for candidates with KM and/or a Library Sciences background. All of this is fueled by the fact that KM enables Legal Organizations to respond quickly, efficiently and effectively when it comes to servicing its customers.

As discussed in a previous blog post Knowledge Management in Law Firms, “Law firms focus centers around client relationships and understanding the clients’ legal needs. These needs can range from but 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 and provide outstanding services and increase revenue of the firm”.

Some of the benefits KM has for legal professionals and firms are:

  • The ability through expertise locators to quickly build teams to address cases and client situations
  • The ability through Search Engine Optimization techniques (taxonomies, ontology’s and associated Information Architectures for legal information and knowledge objects) to improve retrieval of case history, enable associations of related cases and rulings, as well as locate knowledge resources (SMEs) based on knowledge objects that are retrieved
  • Share, Collaborate, and Store communication around intellectual capital
  • Mentor and cross train new, associate, and experienced lawyers
  • Manage and expand the talent and experiences of lawyers at the firm

A couple of good resource to look at about KM in Law are, Legal Research and Writing and Knowledge Management in Legal Departments. I am interested to hear from lawyers, law firms, and other legal entities about how you are utilizing KM and/or if you feel KM is/will be a benefit for you!

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