Having worked in Knowledge Management (KM) for a year now, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. Current KM techniques have little chance of success in law firms, especially if they are the first projects undertaken.For example, iManage is only as useful as the naming conventions applied to the document and therefore cannot work as a standalone KM solution. How is it that we still cannot Ctrl F on a scanned document?….i digress. If IBM can come up with Watson or Dan Roth with Discovery Cracker, then we are on the verge of seeing KM becoming increasingly automated and not just for the Save, Search and Retrieve model, but in discrete, well-considered projects that can be scaled up and rolled out throughout a firm with high chances of success.
Further, targeted, incremental approaches that work within the existing knowledge flow of the firm are being preferred. Examples of areas that should be given careful consideration are:
A. Litigation. Take the software CaseMap ( www.casesoft.com ). CaseMap allows you to pull information that otherwise might be hidden in legal pads, bankers’ boxes, or in the memories of individual lawyers into a format that allows lawyers to gather and analyze facts in a helpful manner. Through a simple method of tagging information, lawyers can use CaseMap to find answers to questions previously difficult to obtain. .
CaseMap creates a method for looking at the information involved in the case in a variety of ways and preparing and testing strategies as well as determining where additional work may be required on a case. In addition, a lawyer can determine the strengths and weaknesses of a case and the role that individual witnesses will play in developing a case.
B. Client Relationship Management. A highly important area in KM and Business Development is client relationship management (“CRM”). CRM is a method of gathering, associating and using in an efficient manner information that you have about customers. The holy grail of CRM in law firms is to promote the cross-selling of business to existing clients. This area is an especially fertile one for potential knowledge management and artificial intelligence projects.
C. Conflict Checking/Chinese walls. Conflict checking is an area of difficulty for many law firms, especially as the number of clients increases and as companies enter into more joint ventures and combinations. While traditional databases can be of great assistance, often potential conflicts can only be seen by lawyers who are personally familiar with the relationships between a variety of companies and people. While CRM efforts will have a spillover effect in the area of conflict checking, the application of artificial intelligence specifically to conflict checking holds a great deal of promise. check (www.dolphinsearch.com )