Technology is becoming more prevalent within law firms as well as legal departments as the practice of law has become disrupted through the use and advances in technology. As advances in law technology have revolutionized today’s legal landscape, so has the evolution of the role of the legal professional. Technological developments in legal services technology has impacted every aspect of the legal field, from law firm and corporate practice to courtroom operation and document management.
Knowledge Management (KM) is becoming more prevalent within law firms as well as legal departments as the practice of KM matures. The drivers that lead to KM adoption and use within law firms include:
• Cost Pressures: KM can be used to work more efficient to meet client demands and cost effective with the various services being provided.
• Efficiency and Consistency: KM through explicit knowledge capture will produce standard and consistent forms, templates, process and procedures to be more efficient in delivering services to clients.
• Flexibility and Responsiveness: KM (through incorporating expertise locators as an example) will facilitate flexibility and responsiveness to client needs by assigning the “right resources (lawyers) at the right time in the right way” to address the particular need(s) of clients.
AI (in particular machine learning) allows machines to acquire, process and use knowledge to perform tasks and to unlock knowledge that can be delivered to humans to improve the decision-making process. AI technologies are making their way into the practice of law. Ability to reuse internally developed knowledge assets such as precedents, research findings, and case history information is vital to a law firm’s success. With the use of AI systems attorneys will be able to “mine” more accurately and efficiently the large volumes of documents/information located in various repositories to aid in decision making and successful client outcomes.
Knowledge Management (KM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) certainly are making its impact felt throughout the legal community. However, it’s the combination of KM and AI that has the potential to impact the legal community and the way law firms deliver services to their clients, work internally amongst themselves and compete with other law firms big and small. The combination of KM and AI serves as the platform to delivering Knowledge-as-a-Service.
Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) is a framework that is customized to the industry and organization because it centers on the knowledge that needs to be accessed both tacit and explicit. For law firms and law firm management KaaS delivery of knowledge allows for access to tangible knowledge assets such as precedents, legal briefs, best practices, proven workflows, case studies, procedural manuals, plans and templates as well as to the lawyers who are experts about that knowledge.
In my previous post Delivering Knowledge-as-a-Service I indicated that to provide KaaS, the delivery of knowledge must be Dynamic, Accurate and Personal. Dynamic knowledge is constantly updated adhering to your organization’s content (information and knowledge) lifecycle management processes. This also includes the experts who can provide insights about the knowledge. The Dynamic component of knowledge reflects your organization’s brand, tone and evolves over time. The Accurate component of knowledge is identified as the authoritative source and authoritative voice for that subject matter. This knowledge is accepted by your organization as the “source of truth”. The Personalized component of knowledge answers the questions that the users of your knowledge are seeking. Personalized knowledge is tailored to what the individual will need to make a decision and presented in a way that is consumable to answer specific questions. Personalized knowledge that is shared and optimized is at the highest level of many knowledge management maturity models (see article by Stan Garfield)
Incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI plays an important part to KaaS by elevating how the delivery of knowledge occurs to the people who need it. At a time when organizations need to ‘know what they know’ and use that knowledge effectively, the proliferation of knowledge make it especially difficult to locate existing knowledge and get it to where it is needed. Mapping responsibilities, expertise and the explicit knowledge that is used and produced will help gain an understanding of the know-how within the law firm and deliver that know-how to the user(s) that are requesting it. AI is used to scale the volume and effectiveness of knowledge distribution through the incorporation of knowledge maps. More on knowledge maps can be found at an article by Michael Lippay.
AI will enable KaaS in your law firm by providing the ability to:
• Predict trending knowledge areas/topics that your lawyers need
• Identify which targeted knowledge will resonate with your lawyers based on real-time engagement and content consumption
• Auto-curate and personalize knowledge based on individual preferences
• Improve content decisions by leveraging machine learning around the content best suited to address the situation
• AI will make search and its search products more relevant, precise and efficient.
• AI through intents will be able to better know what content your lawyer’s need. Intents will provide a better understanding of what the lawyer is looking for by better understanding the intended use of the content.
• Chatbots (or Law Bots) w/ Natural Language Processing (NLP): Law Bots will provide value for all lawyers in the various practice areas along critical decision-making points with personalization of the delivery of knowledge. Law Bots with NLP will provide cognitive capabilities to understand, interpret and manipulate human language that will enable the law bots to anticipate the needs, attitudes and aspirations of users to aid in decision making and improve outcomes, all geared to achieve substantial business value.
KaaS is a framework that can help your law firm leverage knowledge from anywhere, anytime, and by any user in a distributed computing model. To properly incorporate a KaaS framework your law firm must understand what knowledge means for your organization, where it comes from, and how to use it. The main advantage of deploying a KaaS framework will not only be better management of the knowledge, but also better access to knowledge. This solution will enable the law firm to deliver its services more effectively and efficiently by tapping into the collective knowledge of the firm.
Looking ahead to the International Bar Association Annual Conference in Rome, Italy from October 7 – 12, I will be presenting and moderating a session entitled: “What are the Key Emerging Legal Tech Tools and How will they Disrupt the Law Firm Business Model”. This session will be conducted on Wednesday October 10, 2018 and will provide attendees with valuable insights on how to incorporate and position disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence and blockchain within the law firm. Hope to see you there!