“Knowledge Management and Technology: Finding a Balance”

So, have you gotten into KM yet? Is yours one of the ‘progressive firms’ discussed in this article?

"An increasing number of law firms have invested in knowledge management (KM) programs, which they define as including "know-how" (aka, precedents and form banks), professional development, current awareness (keeping legal professionals current on changes in the law), finding experts inside and outside the firm, and research and reference services.

"To support these services, many firms have established varying degrees of infrastructure, including formal KM organization and staff, processes for content creation and management, a portfolio of KM-enabling technologies and leadership support.

"So what are the next frontiers for firms that have embraced these KM basics? Let’s look at areas of KM expansion that some progressive firms are pursuing.


"What is the right role for a KM organization? In a law firm, as a knowledge-intensive business, KM should remain the decentralized responsibility of every lawyer, practice group and administrative department in the firm. Centralizing knowledge work in a single KM department sends a potentially fatal signal that KM can and should be done by someone else, the KM department, rather than by every individual and group."

BTW, the Legal Assistant Today article (Jan-Feb 2005 issue) linked in the first sentence of this post has a great quote:

"Paralegals are in a unique position to assist in and even direct the development and implementation of a formal KM program. Because paralegals have an understanding of legal principles and practices, as well as the extraordinary organizational skills necessary to handle the logistics of a massive document production, they often are the best staff members to launch and sustain a successful KM initiative."