Monday, November 26, 2007

What's The Big Deal? Stylistic Revisions to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of December 1, 2007

As law professor bloggers have noted over the summer and more recently, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure--essentially, the procedural manual for high-stakes litigation in the United States--is undergoing a significant stylistic revision, effective December 1. For the first time since their implementation, the language of each rule, 1-86, is changing. The full text of the new rules, along with changes to other types of federal rules, is available at .

West / Thomson, publishers of the standard "Guide to Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure" book that sits on most litigators' desks, has even argued through the people in this video that this is a "dramatic" change that will catch many practitioners by surprise.

(I wonder then why Thomson has wasted a good deal of goodwill by not promptly providing an update for the same price as its usual book, Federal Civil Judicial Procedures & Rules, that includes the new rules. Instead the only West hard copy publication available from December 2007 to March 2008 is its Federal Civil Rules Handbook, which includes Thomson attorneys' glosses on the rules instead of "just" the text of the rules and the rules committee commentary, as is in the aforementioned guide. And of course the Handbook is not cheap.)

The reason why there has not been greater outcry and little awareness of these changes, in my opinion, is that almost all of them explicitly make absolutely no substantive change in the required procedure (the exception are the rules requiring attorneys to add email addresses to signature blocks, doubtless burdening firms' spam blockers, but occasioning little other harm or change.) It might be a little embarrasing to cite to the old language, but if there's no substantive change, at least it isn't malpractice.

At my firm we ended up providing a notice of the rule change by hard copy memo (and email of course). The tricky part was updating the .pdfs of the new rules--the document as found on the federal court's web site had no index or bookmarks, and did not even indicate on a given page what rule was being addressed (more of an issue than you might think since due to the ultra-expanded format, some rules spanned tens of pages).

As a side note, Adobe Professional has some very nice indexing and navigating tools, definitely superior to the last version I was exposed to. When properly laid out, the new pdfs as a read document are clearly superior to Microsoft Word in their simplicity and similarity to Web navigation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vivisimo hits the bullseye--Rebecca Thompson on Velocity 6.0

I'm attending a presentation at the Omni-Parker Hotel on Vivisimo's new enterprise search tool that promises to bring enterprise 2.0 to search. Rebecca is the VP of Marketing at Vivisimo. I attended a reception afterwords, but did not partake of the "Terminal Velocity" tequila drink.

Organon --"Where enterprise search is today."

Rebecca showed a sample search screen from pharmaceutical company Organon. As she rightly pointed out, most companies do not have a search this effective. Their enterprise search has content from a variety of domains (types of sources) including people bios / intranet / internent / sharepoint/ documentum / network. Like other Vivisimo GUIs I've seen, it has multiple sets of clustered results, one based on its semantic navigation, and two others by criteria (or metadata) specific to pharma, one by "therapeutic area" metadata and another by "brand name" metadata.

Next Steps--Enterprise Search 2.0

Web 2.0 is changing user expectations. People now want to interact with the information in a simplified way. If they have to take a training class, it's not going to happen. People go home to web 2.0. they use delicious, facebook, digg it, and share information (my informal surveys of our youngest associates suggest that these tools have not quite penetrated as far as Rebecca suggests). The new generation's method of communicating has been facebook--there is no need to send email when they can post. (This is certainly true--see my colleague Doug Cornelius' post on summer associates' use of web 2.0 technology). The sites are so easy to use that people won't suffer through training. Their common complaint is, "Why can't we have a corporate facebook."? They want "a better way to communicate and collaborate."

Enterprise search is a natural fit with collaborative software because the search goes across content domains and pulls in content from different sources.

Social search gives people power and control over their search, also leads to buy-in through their investment and participation in the process.

Three aspects of social search in Velocity 6.0

· Social Tagging
· Collaboration
· Social Networking

Social Tagging

There are three types of social tagging in Velocity 6.0 ("6.0").

The first and simplest option is "voting" on usefulness of results by clicking on a green "thumbs up," or a red "thumbs down." Votes can affect relevancy, or not, as you choose. There can also be some "super-raters" whose votes have more weight or who are the only people whose votes count. The system knows who you are, so you can change your vote (and can't vote multiple times on one document).

A second kind of tagging is "rating." One to five stars, and average rating is also displayed. Rating has the same set of controls on whether relevancy is affected. The engine can sort results by ratings.

The third way is adding keywords (I'd call this real "tagging"). The keywords become metadata bound to the search result and add context to the documents that you and others can see. The firm can control the available vocabulary for tagging--auto fill or drop-down list. Permissions to tag are controlled in the same fashion as voting and rating. Tags will not reveal documents otherwise marked as secure and documents are not revealed to a walled-off person just because they search on that tag. The engine will start to show similarly-spelled tags as you type. The 6.0 engine displays and finds tags by clusters on your search result.


Users can also annotate search results with their own thoughts and commentary. People's comments on documents remain as a type of institutional knowledge. This can turn into a view of people's work and experience.

Every user has a profile and can be alerted if there is a change in a search result or a given tag. This is a "reader-like" feature that can lead to more collaboration as users can see others that are working on similar issues or documents.

Virtual Folders

6.0 has "virtual folders" where search results can be stored. Folders can be public or private, although I did not see the "private" feature in the GUI of the demo. Individual search returns, that is, pieces of content, are dragged into that folder.

Virtual folders are shared on a group or public level.

One client of theirs, a "major NY-based media company", has a fixed group of KM / library researchers who set up folders on particular topics, and then grant project teams have read-only access.

Virtual folders appear only when relevant to your particular search.

One limitation, elicited by a questioner, is that you can't tag or annotate an external URL. Binding search results to documents rather than URLs allowed faceted guided navigation.

Social Networking

Search for personnel shows the tags that they've used. A search for content can also switch to a view of the people who have authored or tagged the content.

Clustering on employee results--after running a search for a particular key word, 6.0 can further cluster semantically on the employee information. This approach appears to be a great way to find particular types of employees with particular expertise.


As an administrative and KM tool, 6.0 has a set of tagging dashboards. They show top keyword tags, top taggers, by time frame. It helps manager see what employees are doing and demonstrate ROI.

The next step will be to give people more control over what they see in the results.

Other Thoughts

Rebecca recommended to treat search as an ongoing, living project. Don't set it up and walk away. Keep an eye on user behavior and on how content is changing.

Velocity 6.0 can be configured to ignore or stop clustering on certain terms, or to relate one "theme" to another, if, for instance, a company name was also an acronym.

Looking Back At What I Wanted

Last week I posted on the 6.0 announcement. There were a couple of features I was looking for:
  1. Pivoting on other users' tags and favorites;
  2. Pivoting around others' tags;
  3. Ranking or segregating people's tags on documents based on their role within an organization;
  4. Controlled sets of tags (as an option);
  5. Predicting and displaying others' tags based on what you have started typing;

The short answer is, the demo I saw absolutely had features 1, 2, 4, and 5. It also had the ability to rank the tagging based on a person's role in the organization, which is close to what I was looking at in feature 3 (you can have "super taggers").


Vivisimo has really hit the Enterprise 2.0 target here. The four different ways that 6.0 brings in social collaboration into search have the potential to provide a rich, intuitive search experience inside the firewall, without much training required. Both tagging and virtual folders have tremendous potential to enhance collaboration and findability of content and people. And it's already associated with a really strong enterprise search engine.

The lawyerly skeptic in me wonders if lawyers will start contributing by rating, ranking or tagging, when a social collaboration tool like this is turned on. I think, however, that because a tool such as tagging has immediate personal benefit (i.e., it will help you find what you've previously found), without requiring significant investment of time, it will likely catch on. Tagging has even more benefit the more and more broadly it is used.

Taking advantage of the annotation feature will be more complicated and may require significantly more structure and institutional investment such as organization by practice areas, since lawyers by training can be quick to criticize and are proportionally more concerned about others' criticism of their comments.

Lynda Moulton on Social Search

It feels like there has been a tremendous crunch on my time since roughly mid-November. With the holidays approaching I am finally getting around to revving up some posts on this blog again, and clearing out some discussions that I have been saving up for a while.

I attended (in person) Lynda Moulton's talk introducing business motivators for social search , part of Vivisimo's Velocity 6.0 Boston event in Boston that I posted about earlier. Lynda's talk was quite dense but provided a "knowledge management" take on this collaborative technology; that is, she explained in terms familiar to knowledge practitioners the reasons why social search provides such an advantage over search without social context.

Lynda posted on the session as well.

Why does social search help?

Under the knowledge management concepts of "trust and validation," people will use most and seek to find content (such as a prior brief of a litigation expert) that has been validated by someone they trust. The extent of someone's trust in content is based on the content's expertise, authority, and affiliation as well the seeker's professional and personal relationships with the source or "voucher" of the content.

Seeking the company of others with similar business challenges is an existing, sound KM model for "bringing more to your work." Meeting in a trusting spirit and participating in sharing is known as a great way to get more out of content and your business.

How Does Social Search Help?

There are several different styles or methods of knowledge sharing.

  • Informing--reflected by commentary and analysis

  • Visualizing--done by dashboards, clustering

  • Demonstrating--reflected in clustering and federating

  • Expository--done by annotating and tagging

Together these tools play to our inclination to be self-sufficient with our technologies (and these tools work together in a social search enterprise tool). The human touch has much to offer clarity of knowledge. People are willing to engage in knowledge sharing when in fits in their workflow. You have to have early adopters, enthusaistic self-starters, and sharers. Once they demonstrate to others, it becomes contagious. Being able to see how others view a set of content, without having to ask them, is a new way of looking. We expect social search to play a strong role in organizing activities and work, at many levels.

              • for communities of practice--organize people
              • for domains--organize content repositories
              • for content--organize search targets, be they documents, video, web pages, or people's expertise
              • for clusters--organize content groupings
              • for tags--social tagging has no controlled vocabulary, metatagging is controlled.

              Can social search "transform behaviors into business wins"?

              Social search has the potential to elevate search discoveries into teaching moments:

              • it can leverage lost assets
              • it can save others time by placing discoveries in view with notations
              • nuggets of information can place content in context.
              (This is really important because context is the bane of the legal work product searcher's existence--you need to know what how the document's litigation / deal / transaction context differs from yours in evaluating whether to use a sample or form).

              Because of people's demand for trust, who was associated with a document can be just as important as what it is. (to provide an example, the brief on an evidentiary point authored by a partner noted for his learning on the subject is infinitely more valued than the one-off memo of the summer associate).

              Leveraging your network can save you time--annotating what you learn as you learn it increases your own understanding and that of others as well.

              Clustering has the effect of revealing relevant content no matter how you search for it.

              Tagging can prevent the "second fire drill."

              Benefits of these social behaviors accrue over time.

              Social Search Adapts Content To The Culture Of Organization

              Social search moves the content into an organization that members of a common culture understand.

              For instance, the pharmaceuticals industry is highly technical, with strong demand for efficiency, and its teams are made up of professionals with advanced degrees (I think Lynda suggested that taggers and annotations in this culture can afford to be quite technical and not intelligible to those without a Ph.D in biology.)

              In media, content is multi-media, poorly labeled. Teams are highly collaborative, and need in-depth and accurate fact-finding.

              Financial services pushes tens of thousands of products and funds out to its millions of customers. Customers have a wide variety of sophistication. Customers are also trading partners.

              Perhaps more collaboration and knowledge sharing in the defense industry would have led to a lower priced toilet seat.

              Recommendations For Social Search Projects

              Lynda recommended that a social search project needed to start with some questions about an organization's content:

              What are our most important knowledge assets?

              Could we benefit from collaboration?

              Why would content sharing get to better business processes?

              Lynda had several recommendations for implementation of any social search.

              • Build a map of who works and what content they use (I don't see how this is any kind of prerequisite for implementation of social search. Part of the idea is to let people build thier own maps of the content they use and see how they fit with others' maps).
              • Find teams with early adopter attitudes and with serious information gathering challenges;
              • Get a vision, a target that will give an edge;
              • Get a bunch of wins;
              • Communicate the outcomes and plan for the next; and,
              • Don't expect technology to solve the problem.
              You will need people who understand content and content architecture, especially on teams that might otherwise be skeptical.


              A woman in the audience asked if metrics for proving success are different with social search? Lynda suggested that the best metrics are stories. Search logs can also be a good source of success proof. You can set up a system where the expectation of how it is supposed to work is conveyed up front.

              ( I don't find this satisfactory--can't you look at amount of content, ranking, annotations contributed, to develop metrics and establish a return on investment? Another way to establish success would be to conduct pre-and post-rollout surveys of people's satisfaction with their ability to find stuff. The hazard there would be conducting the survey too soon since the value of this type of search would increase dramatically after people had been contributing content for a while).

              Friday, October 12, 2007

              Major enterprise search development--Vivisimo & social search

              Enterprise search vendor Vivisimo announced this week that they will be including a social collaborative component with the next version ("6.0") of their software. Lynda Moulton blogged about it; she is presenting next week at both a Vivisimo-sponsored webinar and also a more private event that I will be attending (disclosure: I may get a free lunch out of the deal). I have heard Lynda speak in the past and have generally been impressed with her depth of knowledge about search.

              Accessing Group Smarts Through Tagging and Ranking

              Providing some social context, through user tagging, shared user search result ranking, and exposure of other's favorites, has great potential to enhance findability and context inside the firewall, and I think 6.0 is a major development. I have previously posted an introduction to tagging, pivoting in, and on CommonCraft's "howtoon" video introduction to social tagging.

              The leading example of leveraging mass opinion to enhance findability that I know of outside the firewall is Amazon. Amazon uses not just these three methods of social collaboration, but also now has designated key reviewers, user blogs, and much more, such as listing "what do customers ultimately buy after viewing this item?" But the key remains other people's reviews, which let you know if what you are considering buying is any good, and other people's tags, which help you find the products. It is no accident that other major evendors such as Tiger and even brick-and-mortar powerhouses like Sears have jumped on the customer review/ranking bandwagon. It simply works, for the users and the companies.

              I've been reading legal scholar Cass Sunstein's Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge, which provides a clear explanation for the effect of "group wisdom" on decision making. He is quite hopeful, though not Pollyannish, on our ability to pool information. If people on average are more than 50% likely to rank and tag accurately (substitute "answer a question right" or "make a decision" as needed), then with a large group, ranking will tend to dramatically enhance accuracy, that is, the group will almost always identify "the right answer" or the most relevant page or document for the particular search. The outlier case is the converse; if users are not likely to be accurate (as when asked to guess the distance to the moon, or who will win the next Federal Circuit decision on obviousness leading to patent invalidity), then a large group will be even less likely than an individual to be accurate.

              The more people and the more content you throw at it, the better group intelligence will do. By contrast, interpersonal collaboration and intrafirm internal communication becomes much harder the larger (and more geographically scattered) the enterprise gets. Tagging, like other enterprise 2.0 tools, has a way of making the enterprise feel smaller.

              Other Social Software Inside The Firewall Vendors

              There was some fairly insightful coverage of Vivisimo's announcement in eWeek comparing Vivisimo's offering with a social collaboration module introduced by guided navigation pioneer Endeca. From a professional services perspective, I think it compares more closely with Connectbeam. Connectbeam provides social collaboration inside the firewall, organized around private, group, and company "topics," but does not itself have a search component; their publicity materials indicate, however, that they have connectors and have integrated with "major enterprise search engines" (by which they seem to mean Google and Fast.) Honeywell apparently implemented Connectbeam with Google Enterprise in March 2007.

              There was also coverage of 6.0 in Information Week.

              Another enterprise social software vendor, this one purely on the "tagging" side, is Cogenz. They have an excellent demo that serves as a good introduction to tagging (see also my previous post on, a free web tagging service that can be integrated with Cogenz' product) I especially liked their promotion of tagging as the way to "tap into the collective intelligence of an organization by collecting, sharing and connecting around unstructured information."

              One question is whether these tools have a connector or can readily be integrated with Microsoft's Sharepoint 2007 intranet / DMS search. Many firms already have it, it's free, and some firms (like Sheppard Mullin) have used it as the basis for intranet searches.

              Features of 6.0?

              I'll be curious to see if, like Connectbeam, "6.0" will allow users to pivot on other users' tags and favorites, as well as pivot around others' tags. Will it be possible to rank or segregate people's tags on documents based on their role within an organization? A litigation partner might only want to look at sample complaints or settlement agreements that have been used or endorsed by another such person.

              I will also look for how 6.0 manages the tension between the organization wanting control over what the tags might be (and perhaps to drive them to certain content and away from other content) and the necessity to free up people to make up tags that make sense to them. I've noticed with my Delicious tags that it is all too easy to add a comma or use a slightly different word and thereby miss much of the context that tagging can provide. Cogenz handles this tension by predicting and displaying others' tags based on what you have started typing. I'm curious if more popular tags will be displayed first.

              Wednesday, October 10, 2007

              Someone Else's Live Blogging--Business Innovation Factory

              Through Erica Driver's interesting article on the limits and frustrations of starting up in Second Life, I learned about the ongoing Business Innovation Factory summit, October 10-11, which has as one component a set of intelligent blog entries at .

              While a little far from the field of litigation, many of the posts are quite thought-provoking, such as Jason Fried's post on 37Signals, a software-as-service (SAS) company that allegedly, because it is not driven to do lots of fancy updates that customers will have to buy every year, can focus on keeping the software simple to use and effective. Hooray for that.

              I bet that there will be a lot more interesting reading coming out of BIF's summit.

              Friday, September 28, 2007

              Perilous tedium; the downside of not being face-to-face

              Irony struck during a webinar earlier week. Shortly after posting on the benefits of face-to-face communication, I was subject to an hour-long lecture from a senior sales person at a vendor, who both shall remain nameless. The pitch of his voice did not vary more than a half step or so. (Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?) The sad part was, despite the awful presentation, the product is one of the tops in its area, and looks really effective. If this person had been with us in the room, he could have seen some us coming close to nodding off and definitely would have been able to see a lot of non-verbal cues to speed things along and be more lively. If the sales person is this flat, I'd rather hear from a technical-side person who might use a little jargon, but would show some genuine passion about the product.

              There were two other problems. One was the failure to "teach the problem" at the outset of the talk (this is a basic technique of change management, but also valuable in this context.) In other words, show us why we and our clients need this product (the answer is simple--all are overwhelmed by email and the other news sources, and there is too much pushed out without a way for to turn off the spigot). The other was the fairly slow pace of images. Staring at one slide for the first 15 minutes was not a great way to start.

              So that's three lessons in one hour. Just not the ones the vendor wanted to impart.

              Monday, September 24, 2007

              Entity Extraction & Enterprise Search

              Earlier in September, Ron Friedmann posted, with permission, some Oz Benamram comments from an ILTA conversation on enterprise search.

              Ron opined that the ability to zero in on the best results through finding documents with a particular business or legal context, achievable in Recommind's MindServer Enterprise Search, is derived from entity extraction.

              Certainly entity extraction is what Oz' firm uses and is a feature that legal enterprise search products are starting to achieve. The long time leader in the legal space is Real Practice. I am sure that other vendors are also developing entity extraction toolkits if they do not have them already (see, for instance, page 24 of this April 2007 presentation by Thomson West VP / manager of West KM George May).

              But I do not believe that context has to be provided solely through entity extraction. In a professional services firm, context can also be provided through bringing in information from other systems about the matter in which the document was generated. For instance, at a law firm, a matter opening a code could be provided that indicates the "matter industry" (shorthand for the underlying business context of the matter, rather than the legal context). This information could also be imported into a matters database at the time a deal is closed, a litigation case is publicly reported, or some other triggering event. An enterprise search engine can take advantage of a "facet" like industry because both the matter and the document have a matter number that links these pieces of information. This way, the better job a firm does in capturing information about its matters, the better and more focused search it can have.

              I suspect that Ron is also missing a key point about relevancy. The faceted navigation provided by Recommind and, by now, the other major enterprise search vendors such as Vivisimo*, allows the user to select the facets (such as a particular industry like shoe manufacturing) that are relevant to them, instead of presenting the user with an undifferentiated list or "wall" of results. The engine does not have to predetermine the higher relevancy of a particular author or industry because the user can drill down into what interests her. (Endeca is the firm that actually pioneered what they call "guided navigation", and they have dominated the e-commerce enterprise search market as a result.)

              Of course, it isn't just the facets that matter. I understand that MindServe both provides facets for guided navigation and takes advantage of the metadata to pull up the most relevant documents (in addition to the document content). Good relevancy makes the search worthwhile but is not the only criteria since guided navigation also greatly enhances the lawyer's search experience.

              Tuesday, September 18, 2007

              Enterprise 2.0 and face-to-face interaction

              These days, knowledge management practitioners work on computer technologies day-in and day-out. I think it is fair to say that without the power of technologies, starting with email and moving on up to collaborative technologies like blogs, wikis, and Sharepoint lists, many of us might not have jobs.

              These technologies are so powerful in part because they enable communication in multiple ways. At the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference, a presenter opined that communication technologies could be broken down by the number of communicants on each side of the transmission:

              • One person to one person: telephone, IM, email.
              • One person to many people: intranets, (email), blogs.
              • Many people to one person/company: RSS, message boards, suggestion boxes.
              • Many people to many people (web 2.0): video teleconference, face book, wikis,, blogs with actual comments.

              (I wish I could identify who said this, but I wasn’t doing live blogging then.)

              I think these technologies are amazing and would reject any suggestion that I am a Luddite, ready to toss my laptop. Yet much suggests that the most effective communications occurs face-to-face (a/k/a F2F, F/F) and not through any of these methods.

              For instance, LucasFilm has moved its special effects, animation, and computer gaming groups under one roof at the Presidio in San Francisco—even these technologically savvy people say in Business Week that with their projects requiring high-level collaboration, “there's no substitute for face-to-face interaction for their team-oriented projects.” (“The Empire Strikes at Silos”, August 20, 2007).

              Looking back over my fairly brief time in the field, I have found that face-to-face training and approach has been a critical part of most KM successes I have had. Once I build trust with attorneys through face-to-face interactions, I can be much more effective in transmitting skills and information to them.

              Why is face-to-face so much more effective? There are lessons from the science and KM literatures, art, and the law.

              One of the most recent scientific or business literature articles to address the uniqueness of face-to-face was an article in the August 2007 issue of “Scientific American Mind” (free preview, but registration required) which suggested that a different set of neurons is activated when we think we are face to face and responding to another person. Carol Kinsey Goman in the May/June 2007 KM Review (article not available on-line) also opined that a “in face-to-face meetings, our brains process a continual cascade of nonverbal cues that we use as the basis for building trust and professional intimacy—both of which are critical to high-level collaboration, negotiation, and communication.” (I especially like her phrase “professional intimacy”, which seems contradictory at first but comes to make sense as you think about it).
              More broadly, there is a perception, backed by some studies, that people are best at learning through not just one but a broad range of methods. In addition to the obvious preferences for visual or audio, some people have to do it to learn it (“experiential learners”) while others prefer abstract or theoretical approaches. Working face-to-face may provide each of the different kinds of learners with the type of learning experience that they need; in fact, a good teacher may well consciously or unconsciously be able to adapt the approach to the audience, based on live feedback.

              My experience as a long-time classical music performer provides another answer. While a high-level audiophile might disagree, there is no question in my mind that the immediacy and raw power of the sound a live performer makes, working his magic (or not) directly in front of you, cannot be matched by a recording, no matter the depth of the sound. That is true as well for any decent speaker as well.

              Another lesson from my musical background is that drama and excitement arise merely from seeing the person sweat (and possibly fail) in the performance—whether a literal high wire act, or violinistic pyrotechnics, or anything that is live and difficult. The listener identifies with the performer and thrills as the performer vanquishes the difficult run in the concerto (or, more pessimistically, feels schadenfreude or sympathy should the fingers slip). There is usually no such gripping drama in any electronic medium—while we know that theoretically there is a possibility of failure through such communications, experience has taught us that by their nature these are carefully vetted and approved well before they are displayed to the world. An exception that proves the rule are the highly promoted product demos, such as Steve Jobs’ spectacular iPhone demo or Bill Gates’ Windows 98 implosion.

              There is another lesson from art and theatre. By coming to the event, the audience has already demonstrated a communal commitment to the message or the event. They are no longer passive recipients of a message. In a very real sense, even if (like all internal company events) it is “free”, they have paid for the message, through investing their time and energy in attendance, and they are wanting something back.

              My background in law is in litigation. In most cases, people or their representatives actually get a chance to stand up in court in front of a decision maker (such as a judge or arbitrator) who, by law and tradition, is neutral in the dispute. Making the plea in person, or perhaps even better yet, paying someone more eloquent than you to stand up in court, provides this opportunity. We also feel that we can better assess credibility in person, through our assessment of the veracity and likeability of the witness. The face-to-face “plea” satisfies the litigant that at least their voice has been heard. A comparatively anonymous written submission might not.

              So what can the practitioner draw from the significance of face-to-face?

              One point, ironically, is to keep an eye out for technologies that replicate some of the key aspects of face-to-face, like Cisco’s Telepresence (disclaimer: Cisco is a client of Goodwin Procter.) While I have not seen a demo, Telepresence comes closer to in-person communications by allowing much of the same type of interactions, such as non-verbal cues. The video is high-definition, and replicates the direction of a speaker’s voice; it is also at face level, not up on a TV-like screen. Another (more limited) F2F technology is the Lotus Webconferencing System that via a web connection shows a picture of all participants on an audio conference and indicates via a visual cue who is speaking and who is moderating. And trainings, even stored presentations, should include as many aspects of in-person communication as possible, whether that is video or audio.

              A second point is to keep traveling. Integration across offices is a major challenge for all sorts of firms, and all of this makes plain that real integration requires cross-office travel by all sorts of people, in order to build the necessary “professional intimacy” at different operational levels. KM professionals should try to meet as many people as possible in their travels, not just those that they have appointments with, to broaden their personal network and effectiveness.

              A third point, a professional development remark, is that KM practitioners should do everything they can to become more effective speakers. A small amount of study in effective speaking can provide a remarkable degree of improvement. The best communication teachers are those who make their living through the voice; actors, directors, and singers. I will always remember the effective coaching I received during a certain transitional period from Michael Allosso, a stage director in the Boston area. I know it helped me tremendously in several job interviews (admittedly a very specialized type of F2F), and I've also sent friends to him, also with good results.

              Finally, as noted in the LucasFilm article and in a June 2007 post from my colleague Doug Cornelius, firms can enhance a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration by creating a flexible set of spaces within the workplace where people can meet face-to-face. While my current firm has wonderfully large and naturally-lit conference rooms, for more formal business interactions, I have noticed a deficiency (compared to previous firms I have worked) in informal spaces equivalent to coffee shops, eating places with banquettes, or markets. Some ideas for spaces like this would be: extend existing coffee / kitchen space by addition of tables & chairs, have more employee “lounge”-type areas, add a firm cafeteria as these Boston firms did. Even a firm apparel shop (selling branded clothing, mugs, and so forth) could be another such space.

              Monday, August 27, 2007

              New CommonCraft Video--Social bookmarking

              CommonCraft Video has the best training materials I've seen on social collaboration tools. See for instance Doug Cornelius' KM Space posts on Wikis and also on RSS feeds, "RSS in Plain English."

              Their next video educates about the power of social bookmarking:

              Last month in Pivoting In Delicious I dug down a little bit more into the social collaborative aspect of the tagging than Lee Lefever does here. In particular, I explained how you can examine others' Delicious tags for a particular URL, and, how useful that social context can be.

              Sunday, August 26, 2007

              ILTA Extra--Extracurricular Activities--the "ILTones"

              One of the more enjoyable sideline activities I participated in this year at ILTA was the choir/chorus, perhaps unfortunately called the "ILTones" (that's the top of my shiny head in the back row). Really, we didn't sound that bad.

              The main performance was at ILTA's annual meeting, during lunch on Thursday. I heard that some of the people in the back of the room--OK, perhaps anyone who wasn't in the front row--had a hard time hearing the new lyrics written to the tune of "Fly me to the Moon," so, I'm recreating them here, as best as I can recall:

              Take me home too soon, let met stay with ILTA's stars
              Education, recreation, how we've raised the bar
              In other words, I'm inspired
              In other words, love that choir.

              As we end this song, there's only one last thing to say
              Time to start the planning for our thirty-first soiree
              In other words, guess the place
              In just a tune... (segue into theme song of a Texas-based 80's drama)

              I really enjoyed singing with this group of people. Joining your voice with others, especially in live performance, is a great way to get and stay connected. These folks struck a nice balance between having fun and working hard enough to get the job done. Plus, the director was none other than the charismatic Joy Heath Rush of Sidley Austin, the incoming President of ILTA.

              Thursday, August 23, 2007

              Last ILTA Session: Sharepoint 2007 at Sheppard Mullin

              Tom Baldwin, ILTA Regional VP, Chief Knowledge Officer at Sheppard Mullin, and blogger.

              Sheppard Mullin has 500 lawyers and 1,000 users. They have 10 offices (including Shanghai).

              Microsoft's Office Sharepoint Server 2007 (I use "Sharepoint" and "MOSS 2007" interchangeably to refer to this software) includes six pieces; workflow, business intelligence, collaboration, portal, content management, and search. Sheppard Mullin is "eating most of the pie" except for business intelligence.

              Sheppard Mullin gets more use out of search than any other features. Microsoft has invested a huge amount in search.

              Sharepoint acts as the initiator and host of workflow processes, but Sharepoint is just the front end of that (you'll need something else at the back end).

              By contrast, the collaboration tools in MOSS 2007 are limited. In particular, Tom mentioned that the built-in RSS feed only has the capacity to capture one fee, and that it was not easy to customize the blogs. At Sheppard Mullin they used the "discussion thread" aspect of MOSS 2007 instead. Blogging is limited as only three blog posts fit on one page. SM lawyers had some practice area requirements, like the ability to post a document to a blog, that didn't work out of the box. An attendee cautioned that Sharepoint wikis and blogs use a completely different set of master pages, so branding has to be recreated.

              MOSS 2007 led to savings in maintenance, enterprise search, and workflow at Sheppard Mullin.

              Lessons Learned

              They almost had too tight a conception of what they wanted. Sharepoint 2007 is very different from 2003. It can take a developer a few months to get up to speed on sharepoint 2007.

              Tom suggested starting with search. It's easier to get buy-in.

              Try to figure out how to consume data from as many different data as possible. Rollout of a new application might mean simply adding a new tab to a user's home page.

              Microsoft may not have understood the massive scope of Sharepoint 2007 adoption across the business world. Getting support can take a while.

              What Sharepoint Does For You

              They wanted to provide some level of personalization for the lawyers. The portal looks at practice group, office, and title to dynamically dictate content.

              A "My $" tab has partner's WIP, A/R and so forth.

              There is a "My Library" list that shows research sites most relevant to that practice.


              The default view on the result list is by relevancy. The other option is by date. In collaboration with XMLaw, Sheppard Mullin enhanced document search results with links to relevant metadata like matter, client, and author. Sheppard Mullin's search requires licensing from XMlaw.

              They have adopted matter centricity for email with Interwoven. Each matter space has documents, including emails from the matter workspace. Search may be driving import of emails into workspaces some.

              The seach crawls Ceridian (HR/firm directory), accounting, and the DM.

              Financial Information

              They have drill-down into matter financial information through Aderant. Partners can get to pdf copies of the bills from the finance.

              Knowledge Management / Expertise Location

              They have a self-sourced attorney information data in a directory in Sharepoint. This was a highly-customized aspect, drawing data from 3 sources. The screen shot shows a mug shot, contact into, education, language, and bar admissions, and can be refined in faceted fashion by attorney type and practice area.

              Extend Sharepoint

              The standard firm home web page shows news and events are tailored to the individual--from their office and practice group. There were too many "attaboy" announcement. They now have a "vanity page" that lets the marketing department filter events. Two or three of the announcements cycle with forward/back and pause. Each office page has 10 tabs including Hotels, Restaurants (with reviews), Floor Maps, Cars, Directions; the office manager's secretary usually is the publisher.

              The rollout of Compulaw will lead to the addition of a "My Docket" tab, targeted to the practice area (i.e., a transactional lawyer wouldn't see it). Tom has abandoned classroom training. Firms are adding applications at an alarming rate.

              Partners have a "CFO Reports" tab that has the most current version of financial information for them.

              Another "Contacts Network" application is mining email to show who at the firm knows who, with a particular focus on outside contacts. A comparison between that product and the firm's more traditional contact management software showed roughly a three-fold increase in the number of relationships exposed.

              Tom has one full-time developer and there is one more in IT who deals with workflow. Apparently, in selecting developers, ".net" and Sharepoint knowledge are not good enough; Sharepoint 2007 developers also need XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language).

              Usage Tracking

              Tom looks at who is and who isn't running searches. He bought a separate reporting module from Microsoft (for not a lot of money). Most people providing add-ons are quite inexpensive.

              West KM

              It is a challenge is getting lawyers to use any separate search. Sheppard Mullin wanted to integrate West KM into their advanced search. They have been working with Thompson to get some of the functionality of West KM into their document search results.

              By way of background, West KM uses some of Thompson West's well-known search technology, first to vet, and then to search a firm's internal work product.

              Sheppard Mullin will be adding a tab to the results that targets "premium" content from the separate West KM document repository; documents found through this tab have a "KM Preview" option. (Tom mentioned aftewards that they might also decide to have the KM Preview be the default search tab). The "KM Preview" shows an HTML representation of the document, complete with the West KM treatment of case citations. This means:

              1. a live check of a KeyCite flag (indicating whether or not a case remains good law, per Westlaw's databases);
              2. a hyperlink to the full KeyCite, from Westlaw;
              3. a separate hyperlink to the case authority itself; and,
              4. a "km" icon to link you to all other internal firm workproduct that cites to that case authority.

              [West KM is a key piece of knowledge management software for litigators at my firm. I'm impressed with Thompson's willingness to open up and work with Sheppard Mullin to integrate West KM functionality with Sharepoint search, without having the West KM logos all over the place. Of course, it is in their interest to have the West KM technology spread as far as possible, since it tends to drive people to use Westlaw research tools. They were smart to do this with MOSS 2007 since, per the general impression I received at ILTA, it looks like it will eventually be the dominant platform in the legal market.]

              Session 3 of last day of ILTA: Training for Matter Centricity / Taming The "What's In It For Me" Beast

              There were two substantive speakers at this session containing many tips and a fair amount of interesting discussion on training and change management issues relating to matter centricity (MCC) adoption in the Interwoven platform

              Gina Buser, President of Traveling Coaches, Inc. (moderator).
              Patty Stover, Manager of Technology Training at King & Spalding LLP.
              Jeff Ward, Director of Application Support at Fulbright & Jaworski.

              Fulbright & Jaworski

              Documents from matters were being saved to multiple location. MCC works best when all documents from a matter are in the same workspace.

              They structured the database based on the year the matter was started. The year is embedded in the matter numbers.

              If they had left out MCC from the introduction of Interwoven "it would have been like ripping off the bandaid all over again."

              FJ worked with Baker Robbins & Traveling Coaches to assess and implement change management needs. They had focus groups for 20% of the users over 2 1/2 weeks, video conferenced, and had an e-learning and training program. Attorneys won't go through the difficulty of dealing with a new system and workflow unless they understand the big picture. They did play-acting with lawyers and the staff. Jeff played a corporate attorney with an email problem and his colleague played another one with 4 tasks. They lined up the office administrators and partners in charge of each office behind the road show and had decent lawyer participation and very high admininstrative participation.

              Partners were interested because of the email management problem. Other drivers included not having to do redundant printing.

              They went with Filesite because they got mixed up between Interwoven and Interaction. "You can't flash-cut over humans." They had target goals for the first week:

              Day 1: find documents
              Day 2: file documents
              Day 3: start with matter list

              Lessons Learned

              Rolling out new software can be a difficult test. Prepare users. Rolling out new software can be a difficult test. Prepare users.

              Call it "Interwoven in Outlook" or "electronic file wrapper," not MCC.

              King & Spalding

              Practice support is not office-specific. They have six trainers plus a manager on their training staff. They started in August 2005 and finished rollout in January 2006. They did a staggered rollout, not just one office at a time but started with one as they finished with another.

              The strategy was determined by the need to finish the switch before the move to a new office.

              They supplemented training with 4 additional trainers--2 in classroom and 2 on floors. They could receive an on-line program customized to the different products (30 went through this way) and the rest got classroom training.

              Lessons Learned

              They made it too complicated. The words "matter centricity" scares them. Call it foldering or "workspaces." Foldering will help them in a flexible fashion according to how they do their work. People in her firm stored email in Outlook folders already. Foldering is an extension of that idea. Foldering is part of getting them organized and sharing their documents with their peers. It lets them share Outlook folders.

              Partner with the records, the library, and practice groups.

              They developed an online training capacity that allowed preintroduction and post-testing.

              Success was measured by the number of attorneys using the folders. One program was called "the trainer is in." They spent 1/2 a day on the floor and tried to find out what people needed. Sat on the floor with paralegals and secretaries and learned about the "unarchive" problem." Has tips of the week for attorneys, and for two months everything was about workspaces.

              In-house people trained the attorneys, others trained by vendors. Staff could receive follow-up classes the next week.

              She did not expect people to go back and move documents from their matters. "As you open or reference a document, file it."

              Another person mentioned that they used "orphan document" filing problems to identify file needs.

              Patty said K & S encouraged "to be filed" folders, especially for attorneys who weren't comfortable with filing themselves. Jeff said FJ did not allow "to be filed" and cautioned that there will be people who dump-file into the wrong matter, and you have to look out for them. A commentator mentioned that her firm forced people to file new documents into a matter workspace and did not allow them to file documents through filling out profiles.

              They have workspaces set up for nonbillable administrative work.

              I asked Patty what King & Spalding is calling the DMS. She thought that you need to call it "Interwoven" even though some people call it "iManage" (they have not moved to FileSite yet). Another commentator said they started calling it "the DMS."

              You have to market the benefits. She creates special introductions to what she is doing. "This will teach you how to..." Give them an introduction to better profiling or organization by doing a webinar as they eat lunch at their desks.


              A commentator (with a British accent) from a major international law firm mentioned that they haven't had problems getting documents into matter workspaces and that they have "personal" and "pending" folders. The biggest pushback has been on email.

              Patty said that they have a policy that all documents have to be electronically filed. Filing could be in an Outlook folder. They didn't want to advise people to copy emails into workspace folder. They also established that 2 months after the matter is closed, the emails have to be out of Outlook.

              Session 2 of last day of ILTA, August 23, 2007; Interwoven Corporate Update

              [This post is from a session devoted solely to a presentation by a vendor. The session was jammed. This session included a discussion of Interwoven's new search features, which I addressed in a previous post along with a disclaimer about the benefits I've received from Interwoven. This is a good place for Interwoven's press release about its ILTA appearances and related news.]

              Neil Araujo provided an overview of Interwoven's business.

              Their core focus is in three business areas: professional services; capital markets (e.g., derivatives handling), and web content management.


              Legal services is the biggest business of Interwoven (professional services is 40% of their business). They crossed $200 million mark in revenue in 2006, with 14% revenue growth (their growth is double that rate in the legal market). They have 3900 customers (including 1200 law firms) and 780 employees in 6 countries. The ECM industry grew at 6%. Worksite is 50% of their total business.

              68 of the "Global 100" are Worksite customers.
              66 of Amlaw 100 (subscription required).
              50 of top UK 100 firms.

              They want to move beyond document management to email and records management, including compliance.

              User Support

              Kevin Hicks is doing a "Field Update" for 2007. He leads the field services organization (maintenance and support).

              They are sharing a lot of information with ILTA; there are monthly review meetings and a two-way feedback loop (ILTA staff go to Interwoven on issues that bubble up on the listserves and they will develop FAQs or solutions ). They are also doing technical webinars. They want to establish best practices for DMS implementation, a step beyond just addressing technical issues.

              The field organization is in three groups, Technical Support, Customer Care (which could help users with MCC), and Field Enablement Services.

              The Enablement group will review a client firm's proposed design (as with MCC setups) to validate or to check for yellow or red flags.

              Interwoven has a Matter Centric Best Practice Guide, as well as a similar best practice guide around IRM, and are planning to develop Universal Search and Offsite best practice guides. They have a toolkit to aid help desks in helping figure out "check-in document" problems. They'll also have an enhanced performance checklist and a "Worksite Health Check Methodology."

              They are investing in better on-line support, including a web support interface list of defects, listing when they have been released, forthcoming, or in planning, an integrated enhancement database, and customer-specific notifications. They will be sending out their short term and long term goals weekly or biweekly.

              They will be implementing Universal Search internally on their support website.

              Interwoven is considering adding blogging and issues-based content. (If they want to create an interactive atmosphere they might consider setting up a wiki or something more like Cisco's contract system rather than a blog.)

              They are investigating online access to support cases. This turns out to be trickier than they expected. They are also developing personalized web support experience, tracked with login.

              [Collaborative Software Break---It looks like there are a lot of places that customers have to go to find out what's new coming out of Interwoven. Are there existing message boards on Interwoven? I am glad they are investing wikis and blogs; perhaps Interwoven should also set up an inside-the-firewall locked-down feed reader that brings in RSS feeds from the different Interwoven support web sites and resources that customers have access to. They should work with the customers to customize the feeds based on the products and versions that customer has. ]

              The focus in user support used to be on new content and making it perfect. But they now say that people are more interested in troubleshooting simple issues.

              Business Drivers At Law Firms

              Neil said that three issues have repeatedly come up in his discussions with firm management and CIOs.

              Battle for talent

              The number one reason associates leave is work flexibility. How can an associate be effective working in part from home or on the train? How do you meet users expectations that are now shaped by their experience on the Web?

              Client expectations

              Clients want global service teams.

              Risk management

              How can you implement a legal hold? How can you enforce a commitment to a client to retain records for a certain period of time? Ediscovery is expensive because our information is all over the place.

              New Search

              Interwoven partnered with Freshfields to select a new search engine. They tested engines side-by-side with Freshfields documents. Freshfields used to take 7 weeks to index 7 million documents. It took a little more than 2 days, using "good beefy hardware."

              The new search will not hit the DMS' SQL database for search; it will go after the full-text index instead. It will have a mirroring capacity. They enabled quick access to Worksite search through a double press of the "Control" key.

              There are many different ways people save and store email. The utopian goal is as close to one-click filing as possible. Should it know where to file it? The new method has a "send and file" email button as well as a simple "send" button. Sent emails have a new piece of metadata in the subject line that suggests without requiring where an email needs to be filed. Return emails are flagged but it does not alert the user that an email with that MCC folder has come in.

              Interwoven also has a new blackberry mobility client.

              Session 1 of last day of ILTA---Thursday morning August 23, 2007: Where are the Matter-Centric Pioneers Now?

              By way of background, "matter centricity" is the concept of storing all or some portion of a firm's documents, notably including email, in matter-specific folders within a DMS or other comparable environment. The folders are tagged with matter profile information, and there are various ways of storing and retrieving documents and the associated folders (also known as "workspaces"). This session focused on firms who have attempted to implement matter centricity in the context of the Interwoven document management system.

              According to an ILTA 2006 survey, over half of firms surveyed are going to a matter-centric collaborative (MCC) environment. There was a refreshing degree of honesty from this panel of senior IT folks who have (apparently succesfully) implemented MCC about the challenges they faced and how they might have done things differently.


              Thomas Gaines, CIO, King & Spalding, based in Atlanta.
              Peter Lamb, Director of IS at Torys LLP, Toronto & NY.
              Andy Rudall, IT Operations & Programme Manager, Wragge & Co. LLP, Birmingham, England.
              Bob Dolinsky, Director, eSentio Technologies, moderator.

              King & Spalding

              Thomas Gaines is known for saying that Matter centricity is easy to grasp intellectually, but hard to make operational. King and Spalding has 2000+ users, with eight offices in places as far-flung as Atlanta, London, and Dubai. Their DMS "libraries" (which in the Interwoven DMS is a particular designation for a set of documents that can be easily searched and linked to a set of specific folders) are defined geographically (so presumably they have 8).

              The King & Spalding MCC project took place at the same time as an upgrade to the whole desksite and the "back end" as well. They used Interwoven Worksite 8.0, email management, Office 2003. Thomas advised ignorinig the other stuff and focusing on MCC.

              Business drivers included risk management, and the firm management's focus on the necessity to manage, organize, and dispose of matter email.

              The project was organized by a risk management committee consisting of partners, other lawyers, and staff. The RMC was both a pilot group and a broad base of people who could disseminate the benefits of MCC. Outside consultant eSentio also helped provide a broader perspective.

              The biggest challenge was getting the lawyers to understand how MCC worked and to understand that it works the way that they think already. His biggest key to success was getting lawyers involved early on. He said that you want lawyers involved in the design process, especially the template structure for workspaces. People are all over the waterfront in terms of how they organize their own stuff.

              He had thought that they would let users create workspaces. In the pilot, however, lawyers created workspaces that meant something to them but nothing to anyone else. Their workspace creation is manually driven by matter creation process. K & S allowed a "to be filed" folder.

              They pulled in preexisting iManage/Interwoven folders into a public space. They did not try to convert them.

              The project took 2 1/2 years from discussion to implementation. They had large demonstrations and put the product online well before rollout, as well as 1 1/2 hour classroom training. In retrospect, Thomas would have preferred to have 3 hours of training, to let lawyers adjust to how MCC might work within their existing processes. The challenge is that their "save" screen is different.

              They had a specific project map / timetables and the RMC received regular reports of progress.

              They measured project success by email. They have 5-digit number of workspaces. More than 50% of documents in workspaces are email. That's the case even though their attorneys don't have portable access to Interwoven documents (portable access is one of the currently unsolved challenges of MCC, and one of the few advantages Outlook folders currently have over MCC for email storage).

              Wragge & Co. LLP

              By way of introduction to his firm's home town, Andy Rudall amusingly described famous discoveries (like "oxygen") and people (J.R.R. Tolkein, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ozzie Osbourne) from Birmingham, England.

              Wragge & Co. is on Worksite 8.2, use 2003 Office products, and SQL 2000. One Interwoven "library" serves all offices.

              Business drivers included delays in a Hummingbird MCC solution; they therefore switched to Interwoven after a proof of concept test in their lab. Other drivers were that lawyers wanted to be work in a matter centric fashion and wanted access to the DMS through Outlook.

              They also used a consultant and engaged with the business units to spread the word.

              A big challenge for him was the switch to MCC over a single holiday weekend. They didn't want to have separate conversations with practice areas over how they wanted to workspaces configured, and so established a single template for the whole firm. They have allowed some separate styles of workspaces since the rollout.

              The key to success of the rollout was communications and selling into the business. They had a "Star-Wars" theme with wallpapers and posters--"DocWars"--"A long time ago we had..." In retrospect, they should have tried more ways to encourage lawyers to attend trainings.

              They have a tool, called E-filing Wizard, that allows automatic filing into a workspace on sending [I have seen a demonstration of a comparable tool developed by Baker Robbins, and also believe that the most recent version of Interwoven's MCC implementation also has this functionality]. The same tool allows filing of return email with the insertion of some code. This wizard was really important for adoption of MCC at Wragge & Co.

              Torys LLP

              Torys has 280 lawyers across 2 offices (Toronto and NY). They also have a centralized computing environment with only one library [my firm currently has six].

              Torys is using 8.2 Interaction, Office 2003, one SQL server in Toronto, with caching in NY. For DMS security, they have "IndApp WallBase" after trying Baker Robbins' security tool.

              Business drivers included risk management and the development of a "document retention policy" where email and documents were in the same system and there could be an electronic copy of the entire file. They also wanted a standard DM platform across offices (they had had DocsOpen in NY and no DMS at all in Toronto).

              In a 2007 survey, a vendor [anyone out there know who?] claimed that between 75 and 80% of all matter information resided in email.

              The inside champion was the KM Partner "Bob" who worked closely with the lawyers to develop the workspace schema. Torys also had a full-time project manager for MCC.

              The biggest challenge was getting participation from the attorneys. They are interested so long as it doesn't take any time. His advice was to start with the perspective that Interwoven did not invent matter centricity; lawyers are already working in a matter centric fashion; this is not a change in how they think, it's a change in how the technology works. Training lawyers was difficult because they actually had to be changed. It was critical to get lawyers to understand how MCC works.

              The key to success in implementing MCC is understanding that this is not a technology project, it is a process change. It has to be run through focus groups of lawyers in advance. Assume that most lawyers are working in organized ways. Reflect those systems instead of telling them what to do.

              One effective "trick" was to populate the attorney's worklists on changeover, even without a previous document management system.

              In retrospect, they should have spent more time involving the assistants. KM Lawyers don't have the same input as practicing lawyers in terms of organization. Start off with defined processes. No one told them when email is supposed to get into the workspace. They should also have done more on the why and where of email saving. There has been very little practice support information about how and when to do that. Best practices and processes should be developed at the same time as rollout.

              The most succesful training for partners by far is 1:1 in their offices. Although they did face-to-face training almost exclusively, they should have offered some group sessions for lawyers.

              Now they have more email in the system than documents. Torys saw declining growth what their Exchange email servers had to handle. They did not communicate to lawyers that a goal was to reduce the burden on the Exchange server, but that did happen.

              Wednesday, August 22, 2007

              ILTA Session Report, Day 3: Current Awareness: Critical Information Management Tools


              Doug Hoover, Thompson West
              Dennis Kennedy,
              Meredith Williams, Director of Knowledge Management at Baker Donelson

              The goal of this session was to get enough background to make an informed decision about current awareness technologies. The speakers were well informed and current and this was a useful session. The information about collaborative information technologies was far from comprehensive, however, and omitted discussions of wikis, blogs and tags.

              Dennis Kennedy started. There used to be a sense that the cyberspace was separate and apart from us; now it feels more that we are part of the cyberspace.

              We might have a surfeit of information generally, we don't necessarily have the information we need when we need it. We are overloaded, have to wade through too much spam, and generally have information overload.

              We suffer from "continuous partial attention" (also defined as the look on a person's face the second time their Blackberry has vibrated (or beeped) while they are talking to you.)

              How can we bring information to us in a way that lets us get to the stuff we actually want to take action on? Dennis proposed an evolution:

              • Search;
              • Email newsletters or alerts; then,
              • RSS feeds; then,
              • The "Daily Me"; then,
              • Actionable intelligence.
              "News that comes to you." "Newsreaders let you triage and manage information and bring you information you can act upon."

              Dennis introduced RSS as "Really Simple Syndication" and with the wikipedia definition; technically speaking, it is a format specified using xml. RSS separates the content from the manner it is displayed, so people can choose the way they want the information displayed. An RSS feed is consumed by an email application or by a reader. It is put out by a blog or news.

              "Outgoing" RSS feeds allows people to push out content.

              Google Reader, which I use, is now the classic or accepted way to start getting sets of RSS feeds. The default view within Google Reader is the most recent posts--called the "river of news." You can *star* entries and also set up a feed on sets of shared items. Techies can even import an "OPML" file to obtain sets of RSS feeds. A law firm could develop sets of feeds for its clients, or a vendor could develop sets of RSS feeds from different sets of internal training or support resources.

              Feedreader gives you better control of views of the feeds, but doesn't automatically refresh. It lets you can download everything at one time so you can work off-line. It is more powerful, but costs $29.

              Shared feeds give a social context to RSS. You can have documents such as a podcast fed into a feed.

              Dennis believes that RSS can greatly enhance the quality of information that attorneys receive. RSS can bring you information in a form that you can use it right away.

              Ready, Willing and Able; Client Awareness in US Law Firms
              Doug Hoover, Thompson West

              Doug's background is in business or competitive intelligence. While Dennis is very comfortable using feeds to triage information, attorneys don't want to do that themselves. They want to know what other firms, attorneys, and practice areas are doing. Most importantly, attorneys want to know what is happening with their key clients.

              West's "Firm 360" product is one attempt to get this set of information ready for attorneys.

              The typical business intelligence process is depicted as a "wheel" of information collection, starting with data collection, and moving on to information analysis, knowledge assessment, intelligence, decision, and finally, hopefully, results.

              Usually primary data collection is done by the marketing department (as with client surveys) and the library (who accesses primary information). Finance and business management is outside this circle.

              You can get attorneys' attention by delivering them timely significant information about their clients.

              Who is responsible for client awareness and market intelligence? Thompson ran surveys, broken down by the size of the firm, that suggested that the responsibility does not lie in just one department (often split between marketing and the library). Some of the "mid-size" (150-500 attorneys) firms have some of the best competitive intelligence practices. Once a firm has a full time employee dedicated to this job, the demand increases sharply, and more than one employee is hired.

              The most sophisticated firms or "reactive analyzers" are constantly proactively gathering information about clients and competitors. Does the firm know which are its most frequently contacted clients?

              The most popular use of current awareness was helping attorneys prepare for client meetings. The next most popular was helping the firm prepare RFP responses.

              Doug showed a map (not with his slides for proprietary reasons) that showed sources, identified responsible people, and analyzed a firm's collective intelligence processes, with particular output and recipients established. They calculated how long it would take to collect, digest, and analyze the necessary information for the necessary number of practice areas or attorneys. It did not escape this attendee's notice that this sort of process could easily be used to justify a certain level of current awareness or competitive intelligence staffing.

              Meredith Williams then addressed competitive intelligence iniatives at her firm, Baker Donelson.

              KM is involved in competitive information because their job is to make the attorneys more efficient. KM helps the bottom line by providing the key decision makers the information they need when they need it.

              Meredith demonstrated BakerNet, their LawPort set of matter pages, containing financial information and so forth. It integrates information on the number of proposals sent a particular client.

              The Firm 360 product pulls publicly available information from Westlaw. Graphs help attorneys identify if the type of work they do is increasing or decreasing. You can drill down to see who else is representing the client on what types of matters. It also links to case dockets. A client site also searches publication mention history, lawsuit filing.

              Partners can subscribe to an RSS feed that will provide an email if the client site changes. No monitoring is required once set up. They can also set up "target client" sites.

              Practice group sites have Lexis feeds of relevant news, practice guides, dockets, and so forth. Attorneys are relying on the information to serve their clients. They have another page on ediscovery with live feeds.

              Lessons Learned:

              • Make everything seamless, with no passwords required.
              • Keep it simple.
              • Keep it low maintenance for your team.
              • Make it a part of their daily practice (as with pinging email.)

              ILTA Vendor Announcement--Interwoven and Velocity / Vivisimo

              Interwoven, which has come in recent years to be the leading if not quite the dominant leader in the provision of document management systems for legal services, announced yesterday and at another ILTA session today that they are partnering with enterprise search company Vivisimo.

              My colleague Doug Cornelius has already described in detail the proposed set of search tools that will be released. One capability he didn't mention is the Interwoven Universal Search's identification of attorney expertise using a combination of biographical, matters, and billing underlying data, as I suggested here.

              Vivisimo is known to be a leader in enterprise search in the corporate world, highlighted this April by KM World magazine. Vivisimo clearly understands the specific security concerns that law firms have (registration required for download).

              I believe that this is an excellent move by Interwoven and has the potential to improve search dramatically within firms that have not already adopted an enterprise search engine.

              The pricing model for Interwoven Universal Search is based on two pieces, a client access license price (per user) and on the volume of documents indexed, in 3 million, 5 million or 50 million "packs." Documents in WorkSite are not counted towards this pack limit.

              [Disclaimer--Goodwin Procter uses Interwoven Worksite products, and, like Mr. Cornelius, I attended a very pleasant event sponsored by Interwoven at the Epcot Center last night, and may attend another event they will have sponsored.]

              ILTA Conference Report, Day 2: Innovative Use of Technology in the Law Department

              This session was ably moderated by David Rohde of Baker Robbins (he got the heck out of the way.). Each of the three case studes was interesting and effectively presented. More like this ILTA!!

              Speakers were:

              • Peter Vissicchio, Business Technology Senior Manager at Pfizer.
              • Risa Schwartz, head of Knowledge Management at Cisco Systems.
              • Mike Russell, Strategic Legal Technologist at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

              David introduced with a discussion of the drivers of innovative technology, including:

              • need for cost savings,
              • decline and obsolescense of legacy systems,
              • new business needs,
              • new regulatory needs such as the FRCP,
              • risk management,
              • usability improvements, and
              • drive to continually improve business processes (Six Sigma etc.)
              Pfizer case study: A robust legal data warehouse for advanced analytical reporting.

              Pfizer has 1000 outside counsel in many countries, spends $500 million in legal fees per year. They use a matter management system, TimeConnect, Hyperion Planning for budgeting, and also IP Master for patent / trademark management. They were having a hard time getting reports out from each system and a harder time reporting across different system; it was taking days to get one report out.

              A data warehouse keeps information from a set of transactions and allows for quick reporting. You will need to spend the time to develop a good up-front plan as to how the data will tie together.

              The application was developed by Oracle, and Pfizer also used Informatica for most Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) routines and Business Objects for report, dashboard, and ad-hoc development. Oracle "leverages a typical star schema with a small number of fact tables linked to various hierarchical dimension tables to support drill down via dimensions such as date/time, department, geography, patent family, matter, etc."


              The system they developed allows for monthly or quarterly canned reports going across multiple systems. They initially promised to create any report that was needed, but after more than 200 reports were developed in the first month, they learned to keep the number of available reports down to a couple of dozen that people will want to use.

              The executives wanted the ability to see graphic dashboards that would identify problems and allow them to drill down into the data behind problem areas. Ad hoc reporting has been used because the reporting tool is simple to use. People have been using the new reporting system rather than the underlying source systems because the reports are easier to generate there. Paralegals, administrative staff, and some attorneys use the system.

              Liberty Mutual

              Mike's group handles 1600 law firms that are sending e-billings, but they still received 10,000 page bills, and up to 6,000 paper invoices per month. They wanted to automate the paper billing process, which they did by setting up a business process that converts the paper to image and manages the workflow of the billing, exception, and payment process.

              The new system was built using internal IT resources, following a six-sigma review of pain points in the billing process.

              The technology used Documentum WebTop to capture key metadata or attributes of the invoices and Adobe Acrobat Standard (6.0 Professional) to comment and otherwise handle the invoices.

              The business process entials 3 steps, intake, scanning and review / pay. The firm scans in all invoices into pdfs and imports them into Documentum. People are using dual and triple monitors for better switching between pdfs and Excel tracking sheets.

              Documentum view breaks out key data about bills. It cannot generate checks due to SOX issues.

              The paper invoices are shipped to their pdf vendor with a bar-coded cover sheet that is supposed to indicate what is in each box. The vendor destroys the invoices after 90 days so Liberty Mutual doesn't have to store it. LM also gained a lot of floor space from eliminating office paper shelves.

              The new system includes a help-desk style contact or reporting system that identifies the chain of events on a particular bill including logging calls from firms about bills.

              The system also includes a help-desk style contact or reporting system that identifies the chain of events on a particular bill including logging calls from firms about bills.

              The goal was to automate the workflow as much as possible. While they didn't invent any new technology, they twisted their document management system to treat bills as documents.

              Lessons Learned

              Thorough process-mapping is necessary and effective. Focus on the staff's pain points.


              Mark Chandler is a real proponent of using technology innovatively. Cisco has 230 legal staff in 72 countries. They have 130 lawyers in the Silicon valley area.

              They use DealBuilder, and have also developed a home-grown contract management system. This system has 26 guides for major contract types, formerly in paper binders.

              The Cisco attorneys needed to talk to each other. They were in so many different time zones that phone calls didn't work, and email traffic wasn't getting into the resource.

              Cisco is seeking to move to a more collaborative, less command-and-control system.

              The solution to the issue was to build a collaborative system akin to a bulletin board that allowed comments and questions. They moved the information into a "Legal Exchange Collaborative" bulletin board system. Users can post questions in the particular section and choose to email one or more groups. Conflicts between comments are allowed. Incorrect comments can be removed.

              Use has been high, particularly in the sales group where the VP mandated its use.

              Unfortunately the emails do not currently contain the question or the subject, just a link. This has posed difficulty with off-line or airplane use. They want to have email comments flow right into the bulletin board. They are considering using wikis for this purpose.

              Risa does not believe that wikis can handle back-and-forth conversation very well. [She should also be aware of Vic Nishi's Orchestra product for this purpose.]. She does not know if the new approach will work. She will be happy to have an ILTA webinar on legal wikis. Some of the wikis developed at Cisco look like highly functional web pages. Wikis have also helped people develop flexible and quickly updated agendas for international meetings.

              Risa's success in KM projects has come from recognizing how attorneys are currently working and adapting any changes to conform with those existing methods.

              Attorneys can have a hard time publicly posing questions because "they are shy" (and don't want to appear uninformed). Risa tried to raise awareness of the 20-50 questions per month via a newsletter for KM that included indexed links to the newest questions and answers. Cisco has learned that attorneys have enhanced their reputation in the organization through learned responses to questions.

              Risa mentioned that she had developed a dedicated referrals database at Wilson Sonsini. [We have something comparable at Goodwin Procter for real estate local counsel, local counsel, litigation experts, translators, and other outside resources.]

              Lessons Learned

              "If you build it, they will come" does not work for attorneys. Bring the right attorneys to the table at the outset and ask them, "tell me use-case scenarios" [what you need and how you would use it]. Attorneys and administrative staff need to be sitting near IT people even with KM people around to translate. Secretaries have great suggestions and are great prosletyzers.

              Tuesday, August 21, 2007

              ILTA Conference Report, Day 2, Session 3: Improving Operations Through Matter Life Cycle Management

              Dan Safran, Project Leadership Associates, Inc.

              PLAI is the largest group of legal-focused technology and business consultants in the U.S.

              "Matter lifecycle" is a paradigm that helps us understand how lawyers work.

              There are four aspects to the cycle:

              Matter Creation (prospecting, opening files, receipt of client records);
              Matter Management (the bulk of time: manage client, matter relationships);
              Matter Closure (declare, catalog records, Q & A etc.); and,
              Matter Archival (safe destruction on expiration, monitoring dates).

              Each of these areas ties to and is driven by records management, document management, knowledge management, litigation responsiveness, and litigation prepardness.

              Question for the session is, "How do we add value through technology?" Dan provided a hypothetical framework for identifying and implementing improvements to the matter lifecycle business processes. Unfortunately, his presentation was fairly short on specifics (I understand that a firm partner who was going to present on actual changes made was going to be the co-presenter, but had canceled.).

              Dan claimed that the potential business benefits of matter management include:
              • Improve profits;
              • Acquire / retain clients;
              • Reduce risk;
              • Improve quality of life;
              • Boost speed;
              • Improve efficiency;
              • Improve quality of life;
              • Enhance legal skills; and,
              • Reduce costs.
              To work on matter management:

              • Gather requirements;
              • Look at pain points;
              • Develop hypotheses; and,
              • Test them.
              Identify requirements through learning the business side of how your lawyers work. Not enough technology professionals really try to understand the business of the firm. Evaluate practice group operations, identify time-intensive activities, and establish what the client demands are. Evaluators should know which practices or groups generate the most revenues and profits. Document project requirements.

              To find pain points, figure out who owns different aspects of the matter lifecycle.

              What do people hate doing? What wastes lawyer time? What makes lawyers work after hours?Which processes are only partially automated, which technologies are disliked by lawyers or staff, which technologies does the firm not have.

              Next identify issues and propose solutions. For instance, every function should have an "owner,"; or, lawyers haven't received enough training in a certain type of activity. Start with statistics or metrics to show the problem, because you'll need to identify how to fix it and how much it will cost.

              What kinds of projects are practical opportunities to improve matter lifecycle management?

              Practice-by-practice: securities document support, litigation docket, litigation support alignment, client / matter practice dashboards.
              Enterprise-wide: matter centricity, DMS, Records Management, email, litigation preparedness.
              Both: docket or schedule management; enterprise search; case management.

              Lawyers are living in email. Firms need to control email and the documents lawyers work on. Large or medium firms should build resources that are focused on and support practice groups.

              IT people can add a lot of value by evaluating business strategy and understanding business processes in the firm. Benchmark time, cost, value, quality, or risk, measure at the beginning, and then measure at the back end to see the improvement. Get a lot of feedback.

              I asked for some examples of changes to the intake process. Dan said that big firms might want to set financial limits, practice areas, or target certain types of clients to improve profitability. An efficiency sell might draw on a metric for how fast a matter is opened. There also may be risk mitigation opportunities in the matter opening process (a business or credit check).

              Sell efficiency generally through framing as a quality of life issue. You can also sell efficiency through discussion of reducing the nonbillable portion of the work, as by leveraging the administrative staff better.