Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I enjoyed Ted's take on the synergy (and contrast) between litigators' varying needs for internal information (such as a previous brief arguing for assertion of a federal court's personal jurisdiction over the defendant) and external information (Moore's treatise on civil procedure, including federal courts' treatment of personal jurisdiction). In my firm, KM supplies the former, the library supplies the latter; in each case, the information professional should have awareness of and access to the other type, in case it is a better fit with the attorneys' needs. Where the professional wears both hats, that synergy is easier to work.
I have previously addressed here what distinguishes litigation knowledge management from general law-firm or business law KM.
Ted's post reminds me that I am somewhat embarassed I haven't blogged yet about my presentations at the Chicago Ark conference. Ted himself has blogged about the conference. I'll publish my bit soon, I promise.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Craig Carpenter, VP Legal Solutions and GC, Recommind
Brent E. Kidwell, Chief Knowledge Counsel, Jenner & Block LLP
Stacie Capshaw, Firmwide Records Manager, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Joshua Fireman, Vice-President Development and General Counsel, ii3
Here are a few key points from this panel of experienced KM and Records folks.
KM As Mediators and Glue
One type of “convergence” is the role KM can play in mediating or “glueing” together different administrative and legal groups. In many firms KM has had a role as the “lawyers who talk to IT,” or at least as people whose job it is to facilitate communications between lawyers and IT managers at law firms. By virtue of their expertise with improving knowledge and information handling, KM often has projects with many different administrative groups, and can lead the discussions between the different functional areas. I have certainly found that KM has a broad range of contacts and activities compared to other administrative departments at my firm, particularly as we start to leverage Enterprise 2.0 technologies like wikis and blogs.
KM can serve this role better once it has obtained the trust of other groups through successful programs.
Brent gave the example of office moves. KM can play a role because it can assist in the transition away from paper files.
KM and E-Mail
Email is the most pressing issue in records management, because of the immense volume and significance of the content. Stacie believes that email is a “necessary evil”, like dial tone, but that it also saps lawyers’ productivity. KM should address better email behavior. Joshua said that we need to break down all forms of communication, including email, into streams, and then figure out how can you syndicate the information. How would I like to use this information? How would I like to know about the relationships? The value and utility of email should drive how we are looking at it.
Strategic & Stealth KM
“Stealth KM” was another topic of discussion. Some panel members approached projects without needing to brand or label them as KM projects. One audience member chimed in and bluntly addressed the need to “have a strong partner in your corner when the chips are down” and argued instead for highly visible KM. Such a partner is not likely to be a user of KM tools; they will base their opinions on those of the mid-level and senior associates.
Another excellent strategic point made by another audience member is that KM should be strategically focused on those practice areas that are growing, rather than those where adoption may be easy.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Peter K. Kaomea, Chief Information Officer, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer, Reed Smith, LLP
Stuart Kay, Director, Global Information Systems Projects, Baker & McKenzie
This high-powered panel focused on the possible tensions and synergies that arise between IT and KM departments. My basic takeaway is that there are so many dramatic changes in the competitive environment and technology that KM and IT have to work together. While there may always be some sort of tension between the two, it is KM’s responsibility to engage with IT, and to learn something about it.
Stuart mentioned that in his current position, KM acts as the “public face” of IT, representing its abilities to lawyers and in effect “selling” new systems to the firm. KM can avoid tension with IT by demonstrating its value on a daily basis and talking to them a lot.
Peter suggested that some tension or conflict can be avoided simply by setting the framework in a way that cuts to the responsibilities at issue rather than ownership of a project or piece of information. Break out what aspects of “ownership” you care about. If you ask “who owns” an information security project, you are setting up a turf war. It is easier to ask who wants to be responsible for entering and updating particular pieces of information.
Tom Baldwin comes from an IT rather than a legal background. He believes that KM is very much IT-driven in the U.S.; by contrast, it is more driven by Practice Support Lawyers (i.e., people like me) in the U.K. and Australia where there are many more PSLs. He believes that law firms haven’t been able to treat technology strategically until quite recently, as “ripping and replacing” whole systems is no longer necessary and the basic infrastructure is more stable.
Where there is a successful KM project, there is often a heavy dose of IT. IT does not get kudos for making the “plumbing” work (“Hi, this is the managing partner. I’m so glad my phone is working today. Thank you very much.”) Yet (Stuart suggested) it is much harder to make a business case for a precedent database than an email or phone system, because it is harder to prove an indirect profitability driver than a to establish a direct negative impact.
Some of the more interesting side discussion was about identifying what lawyers want out of IT and KM. Ron’s basic answer—“Ask them.” Peter reported from his previous experience that U.S. Defense Department generals want IT and KM provide them with a way to be more competitive, for instance, by making their decision-making cycle quicker than the other side’s.
This was one panel I wish had had much more time to drill into their topics. They were just getting warmed up when the time was up.
My firm recently went through a similar process. The Cassels Brock KM Strategy built on the firm’s Business Strategy, which conveniently was completed just about the time that John was hired. Cassels Brock has grown significantly through lateral hires in the last five years. As a result there is a relatively large set of younger partners. Their KM strategy focused on this group as they were believed more likely to embrace technological change.
I asked Mark how a strategy that required enhanced profitability justified KM investment, as more efficient work logically reduces the billable time associated with a particular task. He indicated that he often hears partners claim they could get more work in the door if they had more time; KM offered them more time, and hence more opportunity for more business. He also feels that KM provides an opportunity to demonstrate greater value to clients. Tom Baldwin of Reed Smith mentioned at this point that for some clients, predictability of fees is really important, and that the matter and document classification features of many KM approaches can help address that concern, and, again, bring in more business. If KM enables accurate cost prediction, it can also help firms move to a value-based, non-billable hour model. Linking back to KM Strategy, if a KM program can demonstrate enhanced value of work, and enhanced profitability, it will be less likely to be put on hold.
John outlined some specifics of the firm’s KM Strategy. The three primary prongs of their plan were an effective Document Management System (DMS); a way to manage precedents; and good DMS search.
They chose Interwoven for their DMS and adopted a unified “folder structure” as a way of fostering collaboration between practice groups. For their search, they used comments from focus groups and the strategic plan to develop a 100-feature set of requirements, with each of the requirements weighted ranking from 1-5. Despite the extensive quantitative work, the two competitors, Recommind and Interwoven Universal Search (IUS), came out with an identical ranking. They went with IUS because of its tighter integration with Interwoven. John mentioned that Recommind did a better job of expertise identification, but that this feature was less important to them as a one-office shop.
On Monday, Ron Staudt, Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, led off with an interesting overview of his work history. Ron has been a leader in the “KM for Legal Aid” arena, coordinating legal aid internet portals for attorneys, volunteers in every state in the U.S. Following some work at Lexis-Nexis on the HotDocs document generation application, Ron has also helped develop a user-friendly document generation platform, “A2J Author,” that walks members of the public through an internet interview leading ultimately to the generation of a set of papers that can be filed in court. The basic principle of the legal aid work is to treat the 5,000-8,000 lawyers in the main legal service organizations as one firm, the idea being that they are inundated with prospective clients rather than competing for them, and to provide them with the level of IT support one might expect for a firm of that size.
I have a small amount of experience as a temporary legal aid lawyer at Greater Boston Legal Services, and am too familiar with the unmet needs addressed by legal aid organizations. I wish Ron’s continued work on these projects all the best. I also hope that these portals take advantage of social collaborative software to enable even better knowledge and experience sharing, especially between the legal aid lawyers, as they go about their work. I can readily imagine a social network site for legal aid lawyers that could leverage the tremendous intellectual and people power of these attorneys through forums, wikis, blogs, alerts, and document sharing.
Two conference themes Ron proposed were, one, in this time of economic turmoil, KM must be more strategic than ever, and two, KM is evolving to support more aspects of the firm than before, including client service, risk management, and practice support.
* Star Trek reference entirely intentional Josh.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I'll be addressing two related topics.
The first talk is a panel on litigation knowledge management. I'm appearing with two other litigation KM practitioners (a rare treat!), Mary Panetta of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Amy Halvorson of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. We'll be discussing strategies for handling litigation precedent collections and also collecting information about a law firm's litigation experience.
The second talk, titled "Fostering and Nurturing the Research & Development Function at Your Firm" focuses on how to enhance adoption of good KM tools.
I hope to see some of you there!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Enterprise search is all the rage but much of the talk is about search as an “application.” Can search be more than just another entry on the shopping list of applications firms buy? Can it serve as a foundation element in an overall information strategy? Some firms are beginning to talk about creating a kind of “information gravitation” both inside the firm and across the firewall to clients. With such gravitation in place, the right information flows to where it is needed, when it is needed and often without need for discrete searches. Learn the role such information gravitation play in overall information strategy, the impact such a goal has on choices of technology, security and privacy concerns, deployment timeframes and on levels of investment. If that is the vision, how do you enlist the whole firm in it?
Derek Schueren — Recommind
Felicity Badcock — Mallesons Stephen Jaques
Derek of Recommind is one of the more visionary of the vendor representatives out there. And Mallesons is by reputation one of the more innovative firms Down Under, having won the Innovaction award for their PeopleFinder tool. I was looking forward to this session and it did not disappoint.
Derek started with a wonderful quote from Aristotle:
"Suppose that every tool we had could perform its task, either at our bidding or itself perceiving the need…that shuttles in a loom could fly to and fro…and a plucker play a lyre of its own accord.”
(A plucker here is not a person undressing a chicken but presumably the plectrum or "guitar pick" of the ancient world).
Relevancy is the ability to retrieve material that satisfies the need of the user. (I usually think of relevancy in terms of how search result ranking and how well the results compare with the search terms, but this definition appropriately puts meeting business needs over some abstract fitness).
Derek discussed how Google treats relevancy as essentially a popularity contest. The most popular web pages have more incoming links and few outgoing links. This works pretty well on the web, but, because there is no comparable source of relevancy information inside the enterprise, consumers don't have the same experience with search inside the enterprise.
One potential advantage for enterprises, however, is that Google does not take into account who is doing the searching. Search tools might be able to show different types of results for partners, associates, or professional staff.
Derek compared web search and enterprise search.
The Web contains a huge store of simple content. Internet content typically lacks much context beyond what is linked within its pages. All information available is completley public. Who authored the content is generally irrelevant.
Relevancy is based on key word match over layered with popularity score
Enterprises by comparison have small content stores but much complexity. The lack of link structures mean relevancy needs to be computed in a different way. But content in enterprises does relate to other information inside and outside of the information (think for example of matter numbers). The authorship of content really does matter to content validity or utility, (at least to someone like a senior litigation partner looking at a first year associate's research memo).
Enterprise search tools must respect security.
Metadata in the enterprise is much richer. You can provide more context for the document in the enterprise. You can filter down on information post-query, and relevancy can extend beyond the primary object to related content.
Concept searching allows you to find documents that may not have all the key words, but that are correlated (related) to the search terms.
Content linking will be key. You might want to see a lot more than just contact information for a judge, such as pleadings for matters before the judge, people who have appeared before the judge, and so forth. The Document Management System (DMS) has great content but it doesn’t have everything. Matter information isn’t in the DMS. Enterprise search needs to blend content from diverse locations. Search is an information layer rather than just a box that provides results.
An example of search as information layer is providing information about citations. If you filter and add in the statutes cited, and also possibly some other data (such as case validity) from another source, you get a much richer user experience. (see these posts on Lexis' recent work on adding citation information to search results, and this Caselines post from last year on Recommind's work with West KM on that front.)
How does Amazon make it easy for me to find what I want?
Amazon knows what I’ve looked for and also what people like me have looked for and found in the past.
Content linking will really take advantage of the information available in the enterprise.
Felicity Badcock / Mallesons
Felicity, a former practicing lawyer like me, has been working in the legal technology for twelve years, including five at Clifford Chance in London.
She addressed information gravitation in three areas, email, enterprise tagging, and people-finding.
At Mallesons, they try to predicting the needs of the user through Decisiv. This application will make a guess at where the person will want to file the email. The rate of prediction success is quite high.
The search will recommend searches based on the metadata in the email. Do you want to search for emails from the person who sent the email you’re on? Or to the company that received the email?
Social bookmarking can help assess which content is worthwhile. You get the benefit of a large number of people who are also tagging and assessing relevancy.
Malleson’s “Scotty” system, in Beta, will generate tag clouds around content. It will have a firm-based taxonomy, but will also allow user-generated tags and ratings. (Tag clouds show the importance of the content related to the tag by the size of the tag word).
Visualization and People Information
Felicity described "visualization" as a quick way to display vast amounts of quantitative data such as business results. For instance, others have joined news mentions of disease outbreaks with Googlemaps in the disease finder, Health Map.
Malleson’s PeopleFinder (which, although Felicity modestly didn’t mention it, won the Innovaction award this year) pulls together data from a lot of sources.
It starts with a small box in the desktop bar that searches google, or Interaction, or what have you by letter codes like “c” or “g”. A Mallesons people result shows their current availability. The goal was to have fewer external calls go to voicemail. There are twelve different icons indicating the status, anything from "on extended leave" to "on the phone."
People are “available” if they are logged in to PC. Secretaries can use this to identify what to do with calls for an attorney. It saves tremendous amounts of time in not making or receiving calls when they can’t be dealt with. A “Communicator” status can be updated. A right-click can lead to a VOIP phone call, email, or IM. A full-screen view of a person record also shows their week's availability, as per their Outlook calendar. A right-click leads to a while range of options for communicating with the person, from dialing the phone, IM, or calendar appointment, to email. A click on a person's "floor" leads to a floor map highlighting the person's location on the floor.
A scaled-down version of the People-Finder was available through mobile devices. Mallesons is also contemplating making some aspects of PeopleFinder available to clients.
The next version will "push" information on a person's own home page or on their contact record, like the person's current matters, clients, documents, and so forth. This is delivering information, not in response to a user request, but in response to an anticipated need.
"Pushing" information in response to an anticipated (rather than expressly stated) need is one form of information gravitation. So is enabling navigation between types of information on a document search result, such as a link to a person or matter. Another form of information gravitation is accessing all the possible ways to contact someone from their contact record.
Ultimately "cloud" computing, where vast amounts of enterprise software and data are contained on giant server farms (as with Google or Amazon), may enable even more interlinking, pushed contents, and connections than is possible now. Aristotle's vision come to life?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
SharePoint is now widely used by law firms for numerous projects ranging from RM to DM and becoming the defacto standard for collaboration. What exactly does this tool provide and how can it be best utilized for your firm. Take this opportunity to learn what other firms are doing to sharpen their competitive edge using SharePoint.
Michael Williams - Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P.
Sam Shipley - Ulmer & Berne LLP
Chad Ergun - White & Case LLP
Paul Phillips - Nixon Peabody LLP
This excellent session had top technologists at each of the firms frankly laying out the trials, tribulations, and successes of their implementations of Sharepoint for their portals and much more. What was especially interesting is that each of the speakers stressed in their implementation a different aspect of this powerful platform.
Mike focused on Sharepoint's ability to pull in and flexibly display in one place information from a wide range of firm information sources, and to show information that took into account the person who had logged in. It also reflected very well an intranet design principle I've become familiar with; an intranet must account for both people who are members of a particular group or team, and want to use it in the course of their daily work, and those who are simply "visiting" the site and want to learn more about that team or group, or perhaps accomplish something quite specific.
The main "home page" he showed had three key tabs---My Links, My Matters, and My Worklist. Each tab would take up about two-thirds of the total width of the page. The matters tab automatically pulled in information from financial, billing, docketing, and document management systems. Other information on the page, such as some of the navigation and available applications, varied depending on the user's practice area and role.
Mike's firm's practice area pages have lots of links to external resources. Each practice area also has locked-down private area. Might have case result information or other information useful for marketing or internal organization.
Science Advisors (!) have their own portal page (I was amused as I set up a basic page for our science advisors just last week). It included information about what they do, experience, FAQs, “Ask the Scientists.” They also have an internal page, some project management.
Technical and Content Management Approach
They’ve assigned content managers to particular pages. They partnered with Handshake to integrate into their core systems, but also wrote some of it themselves. The IP group and insurance litigation groups have benefited more from the Sharepoint portal so far. He has a staff of two developers.
Nixon Peabody demonstrated an adoption of Sharepoint's MySite "social networking / personal portal" features that, next to Deloitte D-Street's approach, is perhaps the most involved and effective SP social networking of I've seen or heard of in a professional services firm.
They tried Plumtree portal but migrated to Sharepoint, moving in 2005. They are (mostly) in SP 2003. Settled on SPS ’03 medium farm and WSS 2 sites. New sites now use WSS 3, so they have wiki and blog capability. It sounds like growth of those tools has been fairly slow. New sites are created by KM team, which also is the team that handles staff and lawyer demands for new tools.
They’ve brought in third parties in specific areas. They’ve worked with Handshake, and have adopted Recommind. It is delivered only through SP.
They’ve adopted MySite, and push extensive numbers of web parts based on practice area and role. They also have a webpart gallery and allow simple user modification. They’ve removed some modification abilities. “It’s a combination of what we give them and what they can add to it.” Users click on a "change this site" button, and then have to make only one more click to add a web part to their MySite. They have a “top zone” MySite that the user can’t modify. That one includes billables, collections for partners. The gallery of iGoogle-like parts includes Mealey’s reports, “My Collaboration” sites, “NCAA Tourney Links”, “My docket”, and so forth. User MySite content is recorded in an NP specific data table.
Nixon Peabody has adopted a search strategy that indexes all the DM content (as many as 60 million documents?). Since 2005 they’ve had some growth in sites and upgrades.
They don’t use SP search. Recommind respects network security and DMS ethical walls. “Publication” of document in a KM system boosts its relevancy. Users can rate content on a 1-5 checks. KM documents gets a “Gold Star.” Some partners didn’t think that anybody should be rating documents.
They have a financial dashboard with network and internal security. Their dashboard updates at night, and at intervals throughout current day. A “Management Reports” site links to standard reporting. Users only get links to targeted reports. One set of data supports all outputs.
Dashboards shows last three years’ finances, by month. I was especially impressed by the attractive and easy-to-read billing information charts.
Things they did well:
- He challenged any requirement for customization.
- Gladly copied concepts successfully executed elsewhere.
If they did it over
Sam's firm was not as far along in Sharepoint implementation, but had an excellent story about meeting the firm's most important needs (displaying accurate and up-to-the-hour financial information) and doing it well.
They wanted to replace the old intranet and daily newspaper.
They didn’t want a KM solution. They have an annual event where they invite vendors. They weren’t making a connection between the firm’s vision and strategy and their vendors.
The 2005 session led to a call to increase productivity, improve quality of service to clients, and manage growth.
They focused on productivity and the idea of a digital dashboard. It publishes firm performance indicators, at the firm, practice area, and attorney levels, with a “real time” mentality. Show them “how bad they really are.” If you show attorneys that they are at the bottom of a list, they’ll try to get off of it.
Sharepoint is really the delivery vehicle for the financial information.
When Marketing got involved in the design aspects of their intranet, it took some time to educate IT about what Marketing thought was important and educate Marketing about what IT could do.*
They finally decided to stop worrying about that and focused on financial reporting first.
They had a simple dashboard showing YTD, goal for year, amount of last year’s billings. They exposed comparative numbers for practice groups. The practice group leaders could drill into attorney records of billable hours and rates.
Each attorney also could see their targets and actual billables. They built a data warehouse separate from ancient accounting system that had real-time results. Let attorneys affect their ranking in real-time by entering time.
Administrative departments are starting to have their own pages. Goofy content drives people to the site.
What they did well.
- Tied work to management objectives.
- “Just did it.”
- Added goofy/entertaining content (take advantage of someone with a good sense of humor)
- Piloted in one practice group where the practice area leader was really pushing performance.
What they missed
- They haven't gotten major announcements moved out of email.
- Listen to what they want—birthdays! Needed to add it directly to front page. It drives people to the content.
- MySite has some things that aren’t valuable. They use SP “audiences” to target messages. But nobody in the firm understands it.
- He is working on security.
- Wishes firm had a communications plan. Need a standard way to communicate a given type of message. Email is the default.
Although Chad was technically the moderator he couldn't resist a few slides and a few minutes about his firm's sophisticated information display system.
For the "Attorney360" project White & Case built a “data mart” based on Handshake that is updated every 45 minutes. Billings, time entries, matter profile and description information gets pushed to internal RSS feeds. Chad later told me that they are using a combination of the built-in Sharepoint web part reader and some custom-designed RSS feed readers. They built an individual expertise system that assesses your time entry. The intranet shows “top matters.” Their intranet also shows current (online) status of attorneys on a particular matter.
The theory here is that by leveraging the login, you can display information that the attorney is likely to need, at or near the time it is needed. A "push" model instead of a "pull" or "go find it" model.
They did a survey of attorneys and assessed what they do when they aren’t billing. They learned a lot about what is difficult to do and what wastes attorney time.
*Note revised per comment from Sam.
Collaboration technologies help promote information sharing, efficiency, cost reduction and can provide competitive advantages. How does the legal environment deal with the information overload and the security of confidential information escaping the realm of the organization? What aspects of legal information need to be considered to help determine how collaboration tools should be utilized in the legal world (and when they should not)? What policies must be in place to protect the shared information?
Tom Mighell - newly of Fios
Dennis Kennedy - MasterCard Worldwide
Their new collaboration for lawyers blog
There were two nice moments in Dennis’ and Tom’s presentations on collaboration today and yesterday. At the end of both, they had a “contest” to find the person who had most recently joined legal technology. Two people who had been doing legal tech for less than three months were selected, and received a copy of the collaboration book. That was the spirit of ILTA!
Dennis’ main thrust was that, because collaboration is no longer an option, we need practical approaches to addressing collaboration issues. Free internet tools make it easier to collaborate, perhaps without your knowledge.
Much of Tom & Dennis’ talk was at a fairly abstract level. Although they clearly knew their subject well, they didn’t have as many specific examples or choices of collaborative tools that lawyers might make as I would have liked. Perhaps it would have helped to focus on a particular aspect of collaboration technology, whether it be document collaboration management, wikis, social networking, or another smaller part of this large field, or to focus on collaboration at a particular type of firm, be it solo, small, large, or corporate. Even so, they did not address IP issues, discoverability, or contractual implications of collaborative lawyering.
There was a fair amount of interesting audience participation. For instance, they elicited that no one at the presentation had firm-branded blogs that allow comments. 10% or so of the people present had firm IM systems, or allowed external systems in. Tom mentioned that some firms are using IM-style messaging that lives wholly inside browsers.
Web 2.0 has allowed people to move from team collaboration to community collaboration. One example is Yelp. It is a site for food that lets you pose questions and get answers. Another example is delicious.
LinkedIn recommendations are an area of potential concern.
Google Sites lets you display calendars, financial information, and documents in one place “like Sharepoint.”
What can we do to select good collaboration tools? An example of how not to select a tool is “track changes” in Word. Once that cycle gets started, it’s hard to break out. IM methods should be secure. If you survey what people are using, you’ll be surprised at what you use. One can then start to guide people to the right tools to use.
Litigation support has been functioning as project managers for a long time. The new technology makes it easier to keep track of documents and what people are doing. The goal should be to enhance workflow.
We use email too much now as a collaboration tool. The ultimate goal is to have happier, more connected clients.
Loss of control is one common concern. Transactional lawyers are taught to control the draft. Working in Google docs does not provide that same feeling of control.
Tom said that “firms are starting to move to Google apps.” When I asked him about this after the formal session, he indicated that this statement was based on anecdotal evidence about smaller firms. Some attorneys think that having stuff on other people’s computers is more problematic. The reason seems to be that when your own machines fail and your data center goes down, you can do something about it. Personally, I’d rather have Google’s 500+ security engineers and global reputation worrying about my documents than the 2-3 people the firm can afford. Tom indicated that the Google brand makes people feel more comfortable about security.
Going outside the firewall inevitably raises security issues. Even a Service Level Agreement (SLA) will not protect you if the vendor goes out of business. Another issue with new collaborative tools is the process for allowing downloads of new software.
The two main technology use issues addressed by the ABA have been email and metadata. The ABA issued an opinion that email need not be encrypted to maintain attorney-client privilege. At least one state has found that lawyers should have some knowledge that metadata exists, and that lack of knowledge of that fact is a potential violation of their ethical violation. A Canadian opinion stated that attorneys should know the technologies that they are using to serve their client.
Appropriate balance between risks and benefits.
If the telephone was just rolled out today, some firms would consider it too risky. The risks should be compared with other existing risks. How do risks for wikis compare with those for existing documents? IM vs. email?
You have to go with the culture of the firm to some extent.
Cost of "Free" Collaboration Products
Security, backup, lack of guarantees, and hidden costs all make most “free” tools less than free. What additional hardware will be required?
Firms should have a “basket” of collaborative choices. Some can be high-risk, high-reward options. Having an appropriate policy is important. You want to channel appropriate behaviors. Controls might cover things like blogging, use of particular sites, and assessing what programs are running on the firm systems.
Whatever systems firms use must have authentication and security features. Tom feels that there should be a blogging policy. You wouldn’t want to have unmoderated comments on a firm-branded blog. Taking a public position on a policy could lead to problems with a position taken in a future lawsuit.
The SLA with the collaboration vendor must spell out specific guarantees and what happens in the event of a breach or business failure.
Tom feels that the price of gas is one of the factors driving collaboration and videoconferencing.
Tom and Dennis left us with three recommended action steps to further our firms’ handling of collaboration issues.
- assemble whatever firm policies may apply
- look at collaboration tools in use (through a survey?)
- sketch out the main issues in a potential collaboration tools policy
Not surprisingly, the larger the firm, the more likely it is to have a formal project management office (PMO).
For more context about the cost- and results effectiveness of project management, see my post on yesterday's CIO panel.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Litigators think in terms of case citations and common citations to statutes, so it is good to see Lexis and Interwoven "getting it."
Being asked to demonstrate the business value of IT to your firm management? Join an international group of CIOs from three ILTA member firms for an interactive discussion on how IT service value may be evaluated when compared with leading financial performance indicators. Examples and ideas on determining key performance metrics, measuring and tracking trends, working with firm management to develop financial performance indicators, as well as mapping existing technology to key business processes will be explored.
Janet Day - Berwin Leighton Paisner
Peter Bier - Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Brent Snow - Baker & McKenzie
David Cunningham - Managing Director, Baker Robbins & Company
The main lesson of this excellent sesssion, moderated by David Cunningham, was that CIOs can use project management implementation to greatly reduce the amount of time and money that they and their staff spend on infrastructure, basic support, and other "plumbing," and should use the resources thus freed up to concentrate on areas that more directly benefit the firm such as business process improvement and lawyer efficiency. In corporate terms, they should try to move from "keeping the lights on" to "Research & Development."
Model of IT Advancement
David lay out a basic framework, adopted from Carnegie Mellon's Capability Maturity Model Integration (R) or CMMI, of five-stage legal IT development. The slides at the presentation and as attached above were essentially illegible, but the basic idea is that IT can be ranked in the areas of people, programs, technology, and facilities, along a sophistication scale. The lower the rank, the more reactive and less proactive the area is. The higher, the more sophisticated the IT business processes and project management implementation. Law firms typically are not above stage three. Most are at stages 1 or 2 in these four areas.
Baker Robbins has surveyed is that law firms fall into three categories. One-third have a “low-cost, high-risk” approach. Only one person knows how to do things, little project management, and so forth. Low cost would be ~$6,300 per employee, a high cost would be ~$14,000.
A second third spends a lot more but is still high-risk because they spend a lot on operations.
The panel is more in the last third, where as firms get more into Levels 2 and especially 3, the IT costs per employee start to come down. Then IT can start focusing on projects. As technology companies mature, PM and quantitative skills start to be more valuable. Reskilling happens more than dropping total head count. They are fighting fewer fires. IP people start to move from infrastructure skill sets to business analysis or Project Management roles.
Janet's firm has very strong business process management. They have binders and binders full of documentation of their business processes and projects. Project management include rigorous change management and measurement of return on investment. Her bailiwick is a little larger than a typical IT director's, and extends to such functions as facilities, know-how (KM), and copying.
The extensive documentation extends to people. Each IT staff person has a publicly exposed career development framework.
These rigorous processes have led to clear documented savings. One example she gave was an office move from one city to another in a foreign country. Where it might have required several IT staff to be present for a few weeks before, now they only had to be onsite for three days, because everything they needed to do was mapped out in advance. Another documented success was the implementation of time entry through mobile devices, which broke even after "29 days" where she was expecting it to do so after six months. ROI there included the 12 minutes (0.2 hours) each attorney had to spend to learn how to use the new system.
She is assisted in measuring ROI by her staff accountant. She also obtains sign-off for large project's proposed ROI from the finance chief.
Peter ran a professional services firm in the technology space before coming to his current law firm. The IT organization had been focused 95-99% on operations / plumbing. He runs the project management office, which is a separate organization, as well as IT.
He is trying to work at role definitions. The wrong mentality is “I sit at my desk until I get a call.”
He sold the idea of having a chief architect as part of his interview process. He hired one to set up a good process, and develop longer-term vision for IT. His information architect looks at issues like data in more than one place and overlapping functionality. He wanted to make sure that all of the designs were being reviewed by one person. It was harder to sell the position to the rest of the IT team than to get the position approved. It’s a risk management issue for him.
They had data centers in each office, but are centralizing them. People information was scattered in 25 silos, may have been inaccurate in some of them.
They’ve split off some people into a project services team. Some IT staff will be more applications experts, some will become project experts. The project people develop the requirements first and then later get the high-powered tech people involved. People can’t all be involved in all the projects.
He has taken over the intake process on projects. He was able to start pushing back on projects that IT couldn’t do or that didn’t have business value. Some projects are clear & simple to do. It’s better to get out in front of what attorneys are asking for. They have some Microsoft project software. It manages intake, review, approvals, and status reporting after project is complete. They are progressing in IT, but the business side of the firm is moving a little slower.
He’s had to sell the concept that projects are a way of adding value to the organization. People take a long time to get this, and are used to working in the old reactive way.
He thinks that law firms are behind corporate America in incorporating architecture and project planning into their work.
All the managers and directors have been sold on project management skills, and took 5 2-to-3 hour project management classes (10-15 hours).
The Project Management Office is one person. Project Management is embedded in every project. Each “large” project has a dedicated project manager.
The global Baker & McKenzie operations does an audit of each area every few years. They’ve centralized information management on a global basis. It has worked really well.
They are using Sharepoint to develop workflows. Staff intake and departure processes are both getting set up in Sharepoint.
He gave as a sample facilities project their server virtualization project that started in January 2007. (They moved from a level 2 to level 3 on the CMMI scale). They needed to scale up staff to support virtualization, and hired staff with experience in that process and invested up front in lots of training. It was hard to measure time-based ROI because the “virtual” servers are all mingled together on hardware. There were clearly saving financial benefits and attained a 10:1 server ratio, whatever that is.
Another benefit was 83% power savings. They develop data on carbon footprints, but Brent couldn't reveal how the calculations were made.
His office virtualized every server but those for Elite and DMS. They have virtualized their SQL databases.
Brent developed his own office's project management complete with dedicated project coordinators. Project sites set up in Sharepoint. Things are centralized in one place. They’ve sent all management staff to project management training. PM is getting pushed onto IT. One person oversees tracking of all projects, but the project coordinators are responsible for the projects.
This was an outstanding session, with real CIOs talking about real issues they faced and overcame. I called my firm's resident project manager into this session from another one, and he was quite happy that I did so, even though he only caught the last 40 minutes.
The recruiting manager has created a firm FaceBook site. The marketing director is encouraging all the lawyers to join LinkedIn. The firm's general counsel is freaking out over the possible ethic violations and malpractice possibilities. The older lawyers simply aren't sure what to do. The younger lawyers are wondering what all the hoopla is about. We explore social and business networking, the potential problems and rewards and what you can do about it.
Jeffrey Brandt -(yes he's on LinkedIn), brande new CIO / CKO of Crowell & Moring LLP
The real theme of Jeff's talk was not that social networks are a boondoggle but that they are here to stay and that attorneys and law firms had better get used to it and adapt. While Jeff had some good information about some of the possible pitfalls of social networks for lawyers and law firms, and some good statistics about adoption of social networking, he never really answered the question, "Why do people do business social networking?" (The answer I think is that they provide a varied and complex way to share information about one's life, in a way that lets you keep connected with people and learn what "light connections" you might have with people you are already working with).Despite that shortcoming, I very much appreciated Jeff's openness to comments and contributions from the audience, in the spirit of Web 2.0. Some of the content identified below was in fact contributed by various audience members. I'm sorry I can't give audience members specific credit as I don't know their names.
His favorite definition of a social network tool was that it is simply a "phone book or directory."
Jeff tells a story of encouraging attorneys to join LinkedIn, then have the risk management people at a firm he worked at flip out. ILTA has a LinkedIn group, Jeff runs it. He has 918 connections, over 7,000,000 people "three degrees of separation" away from his connections. He only has 18 Friends in Facebook. "So I'm a geeky person with very few friends."
Only 5-6 people in the room were not in LinkedIn.
Jeff identified the leading social networks as LinkedIn, FaceBook, Second Life, MySpace, plaxo, jigsaw, Flickr, and YouTube.
Social Networking is Not Just for Kids
Facebook has 110,000,000+ users. It is the 4th most trafficked web site in the world. Several US law firms have facebook pages, but many employers block access to Facebook.
499 of Fortune 500 companies have director-level profiles and higher on LinkedIn.
Second Life and LinkedIn are Not Fads
SecondLife is a virtual world. You can drive cars, live in a house, buy things, and so forth. Sun Microsystems has world-wide meetings in SecondLife. The rule is, your "avatar" has to resemble a human being at the meeting. Intel held a seminar on software development on Second Life.
KMLegal magazine had an article about attorneys (solo practitioners) setting up virtual offices in SecondLife.
Less than 10% of firms have formal policy on employee participation in social networks. One audience member indicated the basic policy was to allow participation, but restrict it to personal use (no reference to clients). Another said no chat rooms.
A woman mentioned that her firm had tried to shut down access to social networking sites, but they found out that some attorneys were using the systems to get information about their clients on SecondLife and LinkedIn.
Attorney Profiles in Social Networking Sites
Reed Smith has 498 profiles; Jones Day & MoFo each have 520; Crowell & Moring has 249 profiles.
A person from Baker & McKenzie in the audience said that they had 780 in Facebook last year, and by this year it had doubled to 1580.
This directory structured exclusively for attorneys includes an e-commerce component and a large amount of substantive legal content.
Marketing Benefits of LinkedIn and Social Networks
- Raise the personal profile of the lawyer.
- Raise the firm profile through raising the profile of its lawyers.
- Identify additional "who knows who."
- Good information update tool.
Martindale Hubble and Interaction are both hooking into LinkedIn.
Jeff did not get his current job through LinkedIn. But he has heard of changes to vendor representatives before the vendor CEO did, and has heard of people getting jobs through LinkedIn.
Jeff feels that involvement in social networking sites by firms qua firms may be driven by their recruiting needs.
Jeff half-jokingly claimed that the level of perceived risk can be seen by the length of the law firm's disclaimer. Some firms have very long disclaimers.
Client Relationship Creation
Can you inadvertently create a client relationship by linking or answering a question? I think that answering a question posed on LinkedIn in a way that addresses the particular factual situation of the questioner might well (and maybe even should) create an attorney-client relationship. One of the problematic features of LinkedIn and other social networking sites is that they are internet-based, and content never ages out or goes away on the internet.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Title and Session Link: Interwoven Universal Search - Business Drivers and Case Studies
Is your firm taking a look at Interwoven's enterprise search product? Listen to member firms discuss the business drivers that led to their purchase decisions and what they're learning during implementation.
Peter Lamb - CIO, Torys, moderating
John Kuttler - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Robert Guilbert - Knowledge Management Architect, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Chris Bull - COO of Osborne Clarke in the UK.
Finnegan is an IP firm with many offices. "Geek lawyers" tend to appreciate a service like enterprise search.
He saw a demo of IUS at ILTA 07, and thought that it would benefit his attorneys. They've had "Google mini." Unlike Universal Search, it doesn't respect security.
On their intranet, they have drill-down into matter and client systems that pull in information from many different systems including IP Docketing, Records, DMS (Interwoven), Financial Systems, and InterAction.
They've done a pilot test with attorneys, and hope to launch mid-September. First collections included DMS, Intranet, public internet, Exchange public folders, client-matter database (numbers and names only); file shares, and their CPI IP Docketing System.
Attorneys need and like both stemming and highlighting hits in context. It shows number of hits per author.
They customized IUS by only displaying client / matter number, and then a mouse-over shows full name.
They haven't turned it loose on people.
He would like to tune the results based on who is doing the searching (esp. with technical searches).
Wachtell is 275 lawyer firm in New York only. Search was driven by poor email search, it was frustrating to waste time looking for information. "I can search Google and find information across the entire internet in seconds...why can't I search within our own domain like that?"
Can sort by each repository. Can customize each data source, to show doc type from DMS and From and To for email.
They chose IUS for its scalability, open results within native applications, ease of setup, and so forth.
They spent three months on a Proof of Concept. The POC expanded from 20 to 100+ attorneys, and they had little choice but to purchase it.
Some rollout delay occasioned by the use of search to find information that was previously and appropriately obscure.
Content searched includes WorkSite documents, email, Client memo databases, firm presentations database, and through federated search, some legal websites.
They went from ~300 searches a day in the first week to ~500 searches a day in the fourth week. Number of users per day also increased dramatically.
Search has "changed the way our attorneys work." Robert feels it gives them a competitive advantage.
The next steps for them are adding in Interaction, web 2.0 technologies like tagging and voting, and role-based searching.
He was involved as a program director, not a technologist. As COO he is responsible for KM as well as IT, HR, and so forth.
Osborne Clarke has 430 attorneys, 3 offices in the UK, 2 in Germany, 1 (small) office in Palo Alto.
They just launched MOSS in July 2008, and had a major KM systems overhaul. Their KM systems were scattered, and search was slow. They wanted to reduce email overload. Search was a critical part of intranet upgrade. They decided not to go with Sharepoint native search, because of the lack of federated search and the lack of integration with WorkSite.
They didn't do a Proof of Concept, although it probably would have sped up the selection process.
They wanted a single, simple search tool. It makes it look like you have a single database. They have 10 Practice Support Lawyers. Part of what they wanted was to get external knowledge from Lexis or PLC. The People and basic intranet search are powered by IUS.
They stripped out the library system. They added the library catalog in to IUS. People hadn't used the native application.
Ranking is really important. The right search results had to be on the first page.
- WorkSite--includes emails, KM library, and matter workspaces.
- PLC--external know-how database
- Library catalogue
They've had some issues with the amount of older content. They were able to get its rank reduced. Some people had bulk-profiled email, which wasn't coming back well. It really exposes improper profiling of documents.
"When you can filter as well as you can in IUS, you just have to educate people."
Their intranet has nice clean look, branded as "The OC Intranet." The professional KM practitioners don't like the clusters, everyone else likes them.
Each practice area has its own knowledge page. OC exposes a folder on WorkSite, to cater to people who like to browse.
These three had a very positive view of IUS. It sounds like you can tune and weigh different data sources' ranking to get what you need on the first page. These implementations are especially impressive in the IUS had little to no penetration in the legal market last year, and so the IUS team must have had very little experience on which to draw.
When it comes to e-mail management, one size does not fit all. A firm’s size, number of offices and practice area concentration all need to be considered when email management processes and systems are being developed. Our panel of member firms of varying sizes and demographics discuss how they approached development of an effective e-mail management strategy suited to the unique aspects of their firm. Whether your firm is large and spread around the globe or small and in one location, you will learn how different firms have tackled this important issue.
Brie Stampe — Traveling Coaches, Inc.
Nancy Lio — Torkin Manes Cohen Arbus LLP;
Karen Tausher — Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Fritz Sassine (fill-in)-- Hunton & Williams
I'm interested in this one because, once my firm establishes solid Interwoven search, we will be moving to "matter-centricity" or email foldering. MCC entails incorporating email into the Interwoven document management system in matter-specific workspaces.
This was an informal panel discussion; the smallish room was jammed. The speakers were up on high stools on a dias, but connected well with the audience. The sessions was quite informative. Hearing from people at law firms who have been actually implemented email management is really invaluable.
Her firm has 1 location, 175 lawyers. Their biggest challenge was storage capacity, with file stores all over the place. Ended up "visualized."
Policy: Set Outlook mailbox limit of 150 MB, removed "Save As" option, filing is pretty much mandatory. Lawyers don't want to file emails, so assistants have to have rights to file email. The problem is that having the assistants file changes the "author" metadata. Some lawyers bcc their assistant on every email. Have enabled duplicate email notification, but duplicates still go in. They should have done an email retention policy earlier (3 months for Inbox.)
They don't support .pst files.
The entire document store is 1.7 million documents, 1.2 million of which are email. Lawyers don't want to file because they can't get to their stuff as quickly. We need to get them to search more and learn how to search well. (The only loss of functionality on filing is that reminders on emails are lost).
Attorneys have difficult navigating hundreds of shortcuts in matters list. They stored a large volume of stuff in the personal email workspaces (their needs to be an automatic way to drop off matters as they age).
Buy-in was not difficult, because they could point to advantages of centralization. Outlook integration was critical; they needed drag-and-drop capability for email filing. Full-text searching in emails and attachments was also important.
Roll-out entailed a firm-wide party with food and a demo, and an open training session. Had some lunch-and-learns. Administrative staff got hands-on sessions. The small insurance group piloted the DMS, and then they rolled out MCC to the rest of the firm.
Her firm has 505 attorneys, 9 offices, 1 in Shanghai. They rolled out MCC in April-May 2008.
Their biggest challenge was attorneys wanted to have email both searcheable, filed, and easy to use.
In advance of the rollout, they fostered a"best practice" of filing email in Outlook folders.
They've had success in filing emails. After the rollout, they had 3.2 emails per document, now they have 4.7 emails per document. Baker Robbins "Fast Filer" tool addresses assistant-filer-as-author problem.
Attorneys are willing to listen to tools that will help them manage their email. After a setback involving records management and an outdated area-of-law taxonomy, they developed a road map.
Attorneys are searching in DeskSite for emails but want Outlook functionality (they should be using FileSite).
What they would do the same: User preparation was really key; roadmap and getting attorneys to file emails in Outlook folders paid off. Trainers emphasized the benefits of searching attachments, finding things when people leave the firm, etc. Their first pilot group was chosen for political reasons, the second group was technical and provided much more useful feedback.
She wished they had had more time with the Baker Robbins tool before rollout.
They should have focused on "Email Management" (search) training time. The "email only" search is very valuable.
Attorneys wanted "undocked" foldering through Blackberrys. They haven't solved that problem yet.
They haven't been able to get attorneys to file the "right" email.
She would have mandated 1-hour hands-on training for attorneys. She wishes they had increased floor support, not 2 people/floor but at least 4/floor.
She would consolidate their three "sets" of workspaces because people put client information in user or precedent workspaces. "My Matters" list grow to 200-300, way too many. Opening up Outlook takes 7-10 minutes.
Karen is piloting Express Search / Data Miner (based on Vivisimo's Velocity engine).
H & W finished MCC rollout in April 2008, except in Asia where 8.5 will provide language support.
Biggest email challenge: Attorneys want to file email. There's no way to mass import emails in older system without Outlook locking up. Dealing with large email boxes is a big issue. Email policy needs to be addressed as part of email management.
They are moving to 30-day email deletion. They will assign email coaches to individuals with giant email files.
Three practices (labor, trademark, transactional) are filing most of their email.
The general counsel of firm wanted to have everything related to a matter in one place. They videotaped them talking about the benefits of matter management. If they needed to remove something, they needed to be able to get it all at once.
Attorneys designed their own workspaces. If they had told attorneys what folders to store them in, they might not have gotten the buy-in.
For their roll-out, they posted FAQs, Camtasias, did "WOW" sessions, and kick-the-tire sessions. Set up on-line game. If there is a prize at the end, attorneys will challenge each other. Tracked all activities, to catch up to people who didn't attend. Attorneys did not turn out for "mandatory" sessions, so they had a lot of 1:1 sessions. The day of the rollout had a "survival guide" showing 5 basic things they needed to know. Also had people walking the floor. They are doing more team sessions because teams work in different ways.
He wishes they had gotten top-down support for mandatory email training sessions. They didn't understand how email storage works with Interwoven. E.g., one pain point was transactional attorneys who had to open up each of 50 workspaces on a "drag-and-drop."
Fritz and Karen both said that the Blackberry client is used principally for opening documents from workspaces, not for filing or searching.
Thanks to the panelist for their presentation and to the audience for some good questions, reflected in the information above.
Description and Session Link:
A request frequently made of KM or IS professionals in law firms is to implement a way to efficiently track and report the experience of individual attorneys. Doing this can help both sell work and deliver work. However, experience management has proven surprisingly difficult. Just defining the type of work to be tracked can pose a stumbling block, as it can be tough to find the "just right" level of detail between the "too broad" and "too narrow." This panel explores ways to manage law firm experience through case studies from firms who have made good progress. Each panelist will discuss the business challenge they faced, the tool they built or adapted to address it, the processes they deployed to ensure good tracking and reporting and the results realized.
Kathrine Cain - Winston & Strawn LLP
Stan Wasylyk - Michael Farrell Group
Douglas Cornelius--Goodwin Procter
Kate is on the Practice Support team at Winston. She has a project management background and she gave her talk a fairly rigid structure, focusing on the process she used to craft an experience taxonomy. She provided no information about how the taxonomy was applied or searched, which was somewhat disappointing.
Experience management requires integrating information from different systems.
What questions can't you answer now? What are the business needs of the practice? What do your clients need that you can't provide? Who is being asked for reports? Conflicts? Accounting? Business Development? Who is asking, and what is actually being used? How is it being used?
Are clients asking for the information in RFPs? Are they using it to restructure their practices?
Defining the business needs should be the core driver of the initiative. With any experience search based on a taxonomy, you have to balance a desire for detail with the needs and capacity of practicing lawyers.
Their first trade showed that different facets of their work were exposed. Practice divisions, type of work, type of party were all represented in different levels of the practice description. Similar terms should be standardized or consolidated (i.e., Corporate IP / Trademark Litigation vs. Litigation / Trademark).
The experience identifications should be independent of the organizational or political structure.
Any experience taxonomy needs to be validated against people's expectations and reactions.
A question pulled out that Kate is using a SQL database on the back end. The "capturing information" is a custom asp.net application, not available for public display.
Winston has a corporate archive of matters. They have an internal and external descriptions for matters.
One goal was to staff people regardless of organizational or geographical boundaries. They wanted to improve productivity by balancing pro bono and billable work. They also wanted to aid the firm's diversity efforts.
Information was scattered between and maintained by different organizational units, but there was no information about forward-looking attorney "utilization."
The three main components were a data model based in Maven PSA, a forecasting tool, and a search /presentation tool. They piloted in the fall of 2007 with an 81-attorney practice area.
The GUI presents a tabbed view of all the information about the attorney, based on the source (such HR, education, hours). They also had a tracking system where the practice group leadership ranked attorney's experience on a scale of 1-3, 1 = some, 2=proficient, 3=expert. A matrix lets practice area leaders check marketplace needs compared with what your attorneys have.
The forecasting tool uses regression analysis to guess at lawyer availability based on a years' worth of billing records.
His sample query is "who has argued trial motions, has worked in biotechnology, and speaks French?" The hidden questions are "When are they available?" and, if you get two people "How do their skills compare?", i.e., "Who is better?"
The search displays multiple fields at once, like an August 2008 Interwoven DMS search. Search results has an "availability" assessment over 6 weeks. Another shows relative skills.
It's hard to teach lawyers to do new things. Senior management sponsorship helped this project significantly. Associates wanted to make themselves more visible. The "operating layer" of partners who actually were going to call the associates did not ultimately buy in, however, and the project has been put on hold.
At many firms some associates get too much work, some get too little, and staffing is chaotic. At Goodwin Procter, there is an intermediate level of staffing managers that acts as a shield and buffer between the people who need to get the work done and the people who will do it (associates).
Goodwin's iStaff application lets associates submit their own workload reports, indicating how busy they expect to be next week, and their availability for short and long term work.
The "requestors" don't fill out the details on the request. Rather, the staffing managers who do this.
The iStaff attorney profiles shows biographies, hours YTD, and self-reported availability. Hours reports for an individual shows when and how much attorneys have billed, and also shows ratio of billable to pro bono work.
The application has been succesful. Managers have a much easier job. Associates feel they get better work. Partners are happy with the associates they are getting too.
Goodwin Procter also has an experience search that combines the firm biographies with matter descriptions. It works well for uncommon terms ("Puerto Rico real estate") but much less well for common terms like "real estate."
Mary Panetta spoke up and indicated that at her firm Akin Gump they keep a running tally of what percentage attorneys work in a given industry or matter type, over the last two years.
Following a question about marketing information, I gave a shameless but quick plug for my session tomorrow, which will address in some detail Goodwin's approach to capturing matter experience for marketing and many other purposes.
*Doug and I both work in the KM Department at Goodwin Procter.
As your entry point, your portal integrates data from disparate systems. We will demonstrate how InterAction information can be displayed in your portal and even combined with other firm intelligence to provide a comprehensive view of firm contacts.
Ayelette Robinson - Morrison & Foerster LLP and U of M.
Matt Dixon - Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis
Tim Jones - Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
This session is of great interest to me because Interaction is my firm's Contact (or Client) Relationship Management Software, and is one of the main sources of information for matter management. We have spent and will spend a lot of time figuring out the best way to break information out of Interaction's own notoriously unfriendly user interface.
I enjoyed Ayelette Robinson’s presentation on how Morrison & Foester has taken advantage of Interaction to make contact information searcheable and in context with information from other firm systems, through the firm’s AnswerBase search. (AnswerBase is powered by Recommind’s MindServe search technology, one of the cutting-edge enterprise search tools in the legal industry.)
She covered “why” integrate Interaction into portals, but also showed pictures of AnswerBase’s Contacts search. She showed a closeup of a puppy and asked, “Who is the cute puglike dog in the picture? “ We might guess its breed, and we might know the dog’s name. Knowing that Rufus is George Clooney’s dog gives us a lot more Rufusy context.
Contact information grows and expands every day. Where contact information is spread across different systems like email and Contacts, it gets harder and harder to find. Users want contact information to be reliable, accessible in one place, and build in as much related context as possible for the contact. Context like your firm’s background with the client, who at your firm knows the client, cultural information like education and social networks, and so forth. HR information may help contextualize the information about an employee’s relationship with an outside contact, by providing your employees’ title. Documents and email, as well as billing or marketing information, also provide context for the relationship and the next contact.
How are you going to get the data?
Automated maintenance is critical. Syncing up with Outlook is one way. Relationship discovery through email analysis (i.e., as through Contact Networks) is another way. A third way is to draw out entities from documents, or leverage existing information in Interaction to get to the company’s web site.
Where you can, integrate with attorney workflow. Get emails into matter- or client-related projects. MoFo has a window that suggests a client/matter for the email on sending. Or, require attorneys to identify contact information in connection with expense reimbursements.
AnswerBase has 4 categories of searches, Documents, Personnel, Contacts, and Matters (Projects), as they found that people were usually looking for one of these. This presentation is about the Contacts search.
You can refine “Contact” as either “MoFo Contact” or “Related Contact.” The full company profile hides the Interaction GUI profile. A client record shows MoFo contacts, ranked by number of stars (out of 5); the basis of rank is emails (perhaps vetted through Contact Networks?) with particular people over a given date range. The record also shows the type of law addressed in the emails, as determined by the emails between MoFo and outside contacts that have been tagged to a given type of matter (e.g., patent).
She also showed a sample Cal. state court contact record, with related documents and employees.
You can have a ranking of strength of contact so long as the attorneys can also drill down into the reason for the ranking. At the outset Ayelette recommends having specific goals like “% increase attendance at marketing events” or “% increase business with existing client”-type goals.
The thrust of her talk is that the key to successful portal display of Interaction contact information is providing as much additional context to the contacts as possible. Just as MoFo was out front among law firms in rolling out enterprise search, they are once again leading the way in terms of providing user-friendly access to rich contextual information about firm contacts.
Tim Jones has published a White Paper on the content of his presentation, on Integrating LexisNexis InterAction with Portals in August 2008. Download Tim’s White Paper at www.Simplyaprogrammer.com.
In a portal, you can show context because contacts and other informaiton are related in some way.
Interaction has room for additional fields that could include information like floor, floor map information, matter numbers, or client numbers. Tim discussed the different technical approaches to getting information out of Interaction and into a portal.
He encouraged us to write our own Sharepoint webparts because the built-in ones don’t do everything you need. Much of his talk was quite technical, which seemed to suit the rest of the audience quite well but went some distance over my head.
Unfortunately I had to leave before I could hear Matt Dixon’s presentation, which also was to address integrating Microsoft Sharepoint with Interaction.