Friday, December 14, 2012

Litigation Knowledge Management Sample Filing & Retrieval

A question was posed on the semi-private ILTA listserve this week that asked the KM peer group for assistance with folder structures that litigators have "actually used" for filing KM sample materials, presumably in folders or by document types in a document management system.  With the submitter's permission, I'm addressing that question here as well.

I can't say I've had too many positive experiences with expecting / asking lawyers to file or folder materials for KM purposes in any folder structure. This type of activity is outside their workflow, and inevitably the materials you get are very limited, quickly go stale, and / or are not referred to later.  Attorneys simply have too little motivation to routinely and successfully carry out this activity, in normal circumstances. My opinion is, if you had a detailed enough taxonomy of papers to be helpful in finding or browsing work product, it would inevitably be too complex and difficult to use from a filing perspective. In other words, it's generally not worth it and won't work (not to be too negative!)

I've taken two approaches to the "sample litigation papers" need. The one most comparable to what you are thinking of took all of the pleadings from a half-dozen cases, and grouped them in case timeline order by the most commonly used types of papers, at the following level of detail:

A. Initial Pleadings
  1. Complaints (link)
  2. Answers (link)
  3. Replies (i.e., in response to counterclaim, not a reply brief)
B. Response to Complaint
  1. Preliminary Injunction--Motion
  2. Preliminary Injunction--Memorandum in Support or Opposition
  3. etc. etc.
The documents were organized and displayed on our SharePoint portal via a SharePoint list. The purpose of this system is not to provide the "best" samples of particular types of papers, but to provide less experienced practitioners (such associates and paralegals) with a basic understanding of what the types of papers contain and look like.

For more substantive drafting and legal research purposes, we use document search and retrieval tool West KM, which has the huge advantages of A) automatically drawing on all of the litigation documents saved to the document management system and B) having its own automated document categorization engine. It also supplies case validation signals, and lets attorneys locate firm work product based on case and statutory authority cited in that material, which is a huge time-saver. The major effort required once it's set up is on user training and adoption.

If you don't have West KM or a comparable product such as Lexis Search Advantage, another approach you might want to consider is setting up "canned" searches of your document management system. iManage actually has fairly sophisticated capabilities in this regard, although they aren't as user-friendly as one might hope. Modern enterprise search tools also typically provide canned search capability, which can also obviate the need for lawyer filing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Asking the Right Questions: The Challenge of Big Data

I'm continuing liveblogging / note providing at the Ark conference.  This was a good session about a new topic for law firms (if not for their clients).

Maura Grossman at Wachtell is counsel at Wachtell Lipton.  Chad Ergun is Director of Global Practice Services & Business Intelligence at Gibson Dunn.  Mary Abraham is counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Size matters. By renaming information overload as "big data" we imply that we actually can cope with it (Jeremy Bently).

Big Data has three widely accepted attributes; volume, velocity, variety.  Volume reaches well beyond gigabytes and terabytes to petabytes and beyond.  We're dealing with more stuff coming at us with greater speed and variety than any existing tools can handle.  The panelists added attributes of veracity and value.  Can you actually rely on large vats of data.  If you can't, do they have any value?

Maura asks if the risk of keeping this stuff around is greater than the benefit.

We've been able to manage information in excel cells.  The type of information being produced is mostly unstructured.

Unstructured information is of many types, ranging from audio and video to texts, documents, and email.  Metadata and tags can't really cope with this type of information.

Rod Smith suggests that big data is about new uses and insights into information, not new amounts.

Law firms may not be addressing big data very much at this point, but our clients certainly are.  Big data might be used, for instance, to mine help desk calls and support requests.

Productivity increases more than 5% at organizations that have implemented big data analytics.

One example of big data usage is real-time computer monitoring of live video feeds, for instance, to alert law enforcement on unusual occurances.  Another is grocery store monitoring of customers looking for food.

There is a dark side of big data, such as NSA monitoring of international calls combined with email monitoring.

Industries inquiring about big data include banking and finance companies, the service sector, government, and manufacturing.

Big data may be itself a new form of value.

Common purposes for big data in law firm include competitive intelligence related to an RFP, lateral hiring, or business development.

Ergun--you're not ready for big data if you're tracking your matter information in Excel or in Access databases.

What would happen if you could mine your matters without tracking or coding, using current technology to extract key metadata?  You could likely find related matters, types of matters, staffing models, and the like.  Through an interface you could shift through different aspects like hours / fees  / rates / leverage.

Hours breakdowns by client / industry / type of acquisition.  All information would be touchable / drillable.  

Rand Corporation indicates that eDiscovery data costs around $0.20 per GB per day to store and $18,000 per GB per day.

The question is, what decisions could we make if we had all the information we need?

When you can bring two completely separate data sources together, you can create something beautiful (like Google flu queries and CDC population data.)

Mary polled the audience for some questions or topics that could benefit from big data mashups.

Some ideas were:

  • Cost per document version
  • Matter management & pricing
  • Trends in words in email exchanges
  • Government economic data and IPO list price
  • Attributes of pitches and success rates
  • Attributes of pleadings and trials and litigation success rates
  • Bankruptcy trends and client payments

We have to think without our usual constraints.  If we had our dream data sets, which of our usual business problems could we solve?

 The movement of big data is increasing.  Clients are starting to make price adjustments based on competitor's prices.  Within two to five years there will be a lot more big data work.

One big data story (allegedly) true is that of a father who went to the drug store to complain about his daughter receiving emails and coupons related to pregnancy.  He thought it would inappropriately influence her.  A week later he called to apologize---the drug store (actually its centralized data center) had correctly figured out from the teen's purchases that she was pregnant and targeted her for things she was likely to buy.

The Truth Behind Lawyer Personalities and KM Adoption

These are my notes from an interesting presentation by KM guru (now SNR Denton US CIO) Sally Gonzalez.

Knowledge management in law firms should be easy. The law is a knowledge-intensive industry, and lawyers must be doing some knowledge management every day.  Yet we struggle with km adoption and talk of "pushing the rock up the hill" is common.

Much of what we struggle with may have to do with the personalities of the people we work with.  These personalities won't change, so we need creative ways to deal with these personalities. (I've blogged about Mark Sirkin's presentation on lawyer personalities on the ILTA KM blog).

How will these barriers manifest themselves as KM moves into new areas of effort such as fee arrangements, process improvements, and project management?

Early KM was very inward-focused.  It was intended to help lawyers be more productive earlier in the career, be better technical lawyers.  In the UK risk mitigation was a major expressed concern.  In the US efficiency was more prominent.  Early KM also integrated with professional development, through encouraging training or through mining training materials.  Incidentally some of the KM material was shared with clients.

We struggled with getting lawyers to share know-how, contributing content, getting agreement on standards, forms, precedents.   We also struggled with getting lawyers to spend time on KM.  Lastly some people did not use KM resources very often when they were developed.

We thought that barriers included knowledge hoarding, the billable hour, client willingness to pay for firms to reinvent the wheel, and no funding for dedicated practice support lawyers.

More subtly, barriers included unwillingness to expose less than perfect materials.  challenges around achieving consensus, and fear of exhibiting less than perfect knowledge.

What is unique about lawyer personalities?

She worked with several Hildebrandt consultants who were trained psychologists.  They distributed "Caliper" profiles to 4500 lawyers and compared to more 2 million college-educated subjects.

Lawyers vary from the norm in eight areas.

Lawyers prize autonomy at a score of 89 out of 100 compared to the general public at 50. They also prize skepticism (90 / 100).  This makes them not trust other's work.  (It also makes them good lawyers.)  They are very good at abstract reasoning (89/100).  Their resilience (sensitivity to criticism) is much lower (30/100).   Urgency is at 71/100.  This leads to impatience and a need to get things done.  Lawyers are at 12/100 in sociability, leading to challenges in building relationships with clients, mentoring, or other such activities.

Given those traits, what really works?

In early KM work,  a few approaches worked pretty well.

1.  Know-how by committees, or by highly respected sources.  Committees provide a chance for people to express opinions and validate their autonomy.
2.  Current awareness also has to come from an authoritative source
3.  PSLs who are highly respected can also provide acceptable updates and information.
4.  Submission of "know-how" -level content by others has worked.
5.  Promoting "good enough" precedents worked better.

Rainmakers and firm leadership are typically higher in resilience than other lawyers.  Firms might consider spotting future rainmakers and leaders through tests of this attribute and avoid driving them out early.

There are many challenges to building a team of lawyers, which is what you need project management and process improvement.  Lawyers are skeptical, autonomous, and antisocial.  The compensation system does not reward teamwork, and their higher tolerance of adversity keeps them from fully forming effective groups.

Lawyers' personalities do not make them natural project managers.  

Raising self-awareness is one way to mitigate the impact of negative lawyer personality traits.

Lawyers with more sympathy and sociability end up doing mentoring and so forth, and may end up leaving the firm because of lower hours.

We should measure and reward positive personality traits.

Personality traits inform the constituency that we are dealing with.  Attorneys want to talk to attorneys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Structuring For Innovation--Ark Conference

John Alber covered his firm Bryan Cave's journey into innovation in greater detail than I heard before.

Innovation is not accidental.  There are steps you can do and thought changes you
can undergo yourself to foster innovation.

Innovation is the bedrock of what clients like Boeing and Google do.  Innovation for them covers business processes as well as technology and product development.

John Alber pointed to his spiffy albeit conservative Brooks Brothers jacket and tie ensemble as a metaphor for the conservative state of legal innovation.

There are many opportunities to help clients reduce legal spend.  Not just fees, but also insurance, eDiscovery costs, settlement payments, and the like.

IT as Source of Innovation

IT has been the source of some innovation, but innovation is not driven by technology, and IT is inherently conservative.  As with Finance, "one person's innovation is another person's disruption" (Rosabeth Moss Kanter of HBS).

You may have to restructure organizations--(though leading legal tech innovator when at Mallesons Gerard Neiditsch would argue that you can keep existing structures and innovate within that. )

Bryan Cave set up three groups to foster innovation.  Each named around a benefit.

Client Technology Group 

This was a sanctioned and uncontrolled "skunk works" with web developers, business analysts, graphic artists, etc.  They are charged with business process mapping and automation.  They are more change-focused than IT.

They have created decision support systems ("Trade Zone"); a socially enabled intranet; and more.

Practice Economics Group

This was spun out of CTG; goal was to focus on a different mission, more on managing for profitability & success with engagements.  People on the team include web developers, financial analysts, and now attorney project managers.

Goal is to create processes, and then manage them.

They have tools for pricing new engagements; tracking & monitoring engagements; and comparing engagements.  They also created a tool to extract task codes from billing entry before LSA.  Reporting includes intranet and extranet reporting to clients.  

Providing right information in a timely way has measurably increased profitability.  Chris Emerson is its director and is very active in sharing best practices through ILTA and other groups.

They've had high success of uptake with partners of their monitoring systems.  It's taken a long time.   88% of partners have looked at it over the past year at various degrees of intensity. It's a function of focused attention from management committee and has propagated throughout.

Accelerated Review Team

The ART (!) covers e-discovery, due diligence, and the like.

Every partner retreat, practice group meeting hears about success stories.  Separate visibility and naming helps.  Because it's broken out, it is easier to give it credit than to say "this part of the IT group" was responsible for a given success.

In 2004 uptake of dashboard was around 10%.

Key to uptake is getting people at many many levels to buy in. Everyone has to feel they have a stake.

Spectrum sales is one area where these groups have applied their efforts.

They analyzed work flow and tracking, and then extracted rules of decision for these complicated sales from the most experienced attorneys.  They used checklists and decision branches (what happens if you find X problem...).

"Data collectors" become guides for first-level lawyers.  The goal is to let a low-level lawyer do the day-to-day work at a very high level of quality.  Other tools manage the work at a higher level (as with eDiscovery management tools), looking at who is productive, quality of work, and the like.

They started with a few lawyers working very slowly under tight supervision, and then were able to scale it up and get a lot more people.  

The program has "dendritic logic" like that of a document assembly, allows people without FCC experience to analyze leases for necessary clauses and optouts.  Metastorm or Neota Logic can also build system like this.

One big client outsourced all of its spectrum.  Average turn time went from months and months to three weeks.

Tools and processes got applied to many many engagements.  They expanded to financial sector litigation.  With enough information you can produce first drafts of motions to dismiss.   These have reached a high level of complexity.  

Competition, Collaboration, and Innovative Service Delivery

This is my second post from the Ark Conference in New York.  This was a very interesting session that focused, as some sessions at the ILTA conference focused, on client-facing KM and understanding the KM and business landscape in law departments.

These are my notes on another good session at the Ark Conference in New York.

Risa Schwartz

Risa is a KM luminary who has been in KM both in-house and in law firms.  The firms need to know what's going on inside client's legal departments so that we can offer things that they need.   Offer what they need in a preservable and reusable manner.  She's providing an overview of the law department landscape.


Most firms have document management systems, but most legal departments do not.  Typically there will be 15-20 different repositories.  Documents are on CDs, on individual servers (she heard of a "Jessica drive" that was under Jessica's desk and contained "trademark.") Law departments don't have search.

Case Management Tools

Documents for cases are often in email.  They may not have matter management, or have only implemented case & matter management for billing purposes.

People & Training

You need to know how training is done.  Is it available 24/7 or is it in too small/too big chunks?  Are they preserving training in a reusable and searcheable way?

If you start asking clients about these issues you can start offering services.

Volunteer to ask. You can send someone to the client and conduct a needs assessment.  Sit in on trainings or even run them.

Understand Client's Business

(down to the level of lines of business)

Clients need business-specific training.  Not a generic copyright session, a copyright session about a particular side of the business.

What can KM do?

Show them what you have developed.  We have extraordinary products and offerings.  If you could hook the client into what you've developed, that would be great. 

They are hungry for litigation information.  New hires need to know about making uniform arguments based on arguments in previous comparable cases.  Offer an extranet or canned report where client can get metrics with outcomes, people, case information.

People finders & referrals can be a big things at law firms. If you can't provide access formally, you can set up an email-based referral system "do you know someone who can do X" and provide replies.

Kathleen Hogan

She started in KM in 2008 and then was asked to join the KM function at Bank of Montreal.

Her bank is one of the "big five."  It's been in China for more than 100 years.  The banks look at themselves like a reflection of the public.

Her group "LCCG" has 650 people, about 125 lawyers in many jurisdictions.  Training is therefore complicated.

Her bank as a whole has 45,000 people.  An employee's supervisor could be three interrelated people.

She thinks a lot about stock price and about quarter ends / year ends.  Public company cycles generate activity.

Huge institutions make law firms look nimble.  How do you roll out Office 2010 across 45K people, hundreds of branches?


The answers to the "what is KM" question often give short shrift to professional development.
In Ontario you have to get 12 hours of credit annual.  She looks after staff in 6 (soon to be 8) jurisdictions.  She relies on outside counsel to come to her and tell her what she can do.

Law firms do a good job providing CLEs at their firms.

She prefers to have law firms come to her, sometimes its just fine to provide exactly the same program internally.  More often these programs need to be  tailored to the bank.

It's hard for her to balance US & Canadian law.  Sometimes in a webinar global or cross-border issues need to be addressed, though counsel is hesitant.

She's been able to show a savings of at least $100,000 by bringing in law firms to present CLEs.

Legal Training For The Business

Law department lawyers go out to their business and train on best practices, for instance, on legal holds.  The business people enjoy talking to lawyers.

Don't provide training directly to the business line without involving the law department.

Technology Training 

Office 2010 rollout just happened.  It would have been helpful to get tip sheets, have our trainers come in, give best practices.  KM people should volunteer to come in.

Julie Lin and Kathleen co-wrote an ILTA paper about productivity and how law firms can help.   How can you help?  Law departments are behind on KM issues.

Risa mentioned that webex and other technologies can be used to record a quick training.

Ellen Rosenthal

Pfizer has an integrated alliance with 19 law firms that provides a platform for knowledge management.  It includes Ropes & Gray, White & Case, Skadden, and other.  The goal is for it to operate a single group.  A stable group of lawyers partner with Pfizer and with each other in support of Pfizer.   There have only been two changes to the group.

All financial arrangements are under a flat fee, with the goal of removing the competition for hours.

Underlying principles are collaboration, training & development, long-term partnerships, and a new mindset.

Training includes monthly programs (2-4 hours at Pfizer),  usually run by a law firm associate with an in-house person.  Other firms might even ask for a particularly impressive associate from another firm to be on their team.

Training also includes secondment and reverse secondment.

They give twice-yearly numerical and quantitative feedback.

Basic knowledge management can enhance communications within the alliance.

Their KM approach is very low-tech and focuses on sharing best practices.  For instance, last week she brought together the whole litigation and patent cases (inside and outside) and went through a products problem scenario, and came up with five lessons learned from the exercise that were real things they could be doing better.

How can they do continuous quality improvement?  Replicate best practices so that they are used throughout.  They've talked about doing post-mortems on matters that includes efficiency assessments, because it is in the law firms' interests to be more efficient.

Quarterly litigation strategy meetings sit almost as an appellate panel and hear about strategy on four or five cases at a time.

They'll make a given lawyer responsible for a given product, so that (for instance) the implications of interrogatory or document request responses can be understood and managed.

They are having the conversations but they are not doing a great job capturing the conversations.  They can't get people to use the online system.

An audience member noted that client-specific KM systems have been built and no one has come.

Risa responded that the mark of a successful product is adoption, and that you have to involve all the stakeholders in in-house projects in the same way as we do internally.  Ask how people do their job.  Get the tool to match the way people do their jobs in the same way.

Paul Lippe says that KM should provide material improvement to productivity.

Lawyers are struggling with change and with new ways of doing business.

Ark Conference--The Economics of Law and the Future of Legal KM

I'm here at the ARK conference in New York.  It is quite well attended.
Toby Brown is giving the keynote, "The Economics of Law and the Future of KM."  I am live-blogging so there may be typos.

Toby challenges core principles of KM.  He wants us to do KM differently, where KM might be focused better.

Toby moved away from KM in his career when AFAs started to come up. He gave it up.  KM "came back to him" as he knew it would, as it underlies much of alternative fee arrangement work.

He started an AFA peer group about a year ago, initially with five people.  Now there are almost 120, and they've added legal project management into the mix.  The group's purpose is to increase professional development, have good conversations, and work with the vendors in the space.  Contact him to sign up.

What keeps law firm leadership up at night?  It's the economics.

Many people at law firms don't understand economics (this gap is his first challenge to KM).  How are people at our law firms going to understand and come to a clear definition of what is profit?

What is profit for a law firm?

Definitions of gross margin, contribution, and net margin go to what kind of behavior we are trying to motivate among the partners.  What's motivated partners in the past is hours and rates.

What drives profit?

We know what drives law firm profits--rates, realization, productivity and leverage.


Raising rates 1% typically rates profitability around 2% where realization is 90-110%.  The cost rate is hidden.   The cost rate (for non-partners) is the expenses (salary, rent) per timekeeper divided by a target annual hours (typically a rate change is around 50-80%).


A 5% discount will typically drive down profit 10% or more.

Discount, writedowns, writeoffs are three cuts at realization, each of which needs to be tracked differently.  Discounts typically reflect market prices; writedowns might reflect inefficiencies in work; and writeoffs reflect inability to collect.  KM should think about getting the firm to clearly differentiate between them and to track them separately.

Productivity / Utilization

Number of effective hours per timekeeper (billed and collected).   As hours go down, costs per hour go up.  Cost rates have less of an impact.

"The rule of three" is that the first third is compensation, the second third overhead, and the third third is profit.

Leverage a/k/a "The great equalizer"

Leverage is ratio of partner time to that other timekeepers (market standard might be around 25%).  The net margin for partners is typically negative.  This is not a bad thing as it shows that the other timekeepers are making profit that pays the partners.

Who is generating the highest net margin?

If you're leveraging well, you're moving the work down to the lowest appropriate level of staff.

What's happening with these levers?

Rates used to go up 8-10% per year.  These days increases are around 3-4%.
Realization has dropped from around 96% to 86% and dropping.
Productivity has dropped around 10%

Leverage--Most firms are overlawyered in the partner ranks.

Toby sees the legal market as competitive rather than a "buyer's" market.  He doesn't see the shift as a pendulum swing that will swing back.  We've cut costs and mitigated somewhat the usually run  in rates.    Rate increases have a delayed effect.

Demand for 2012 was up just about 1%, essentially flat.  Large law firms increased spend on technology and other matters around 6% with projects like Windows 7 and Office 2010.

bHe sees a huge opportunity.   This is not rocket science.  If we drive down the cost of providing legal services we can maintain profitability and provide work for less.

A lot of products and services will meet these needs, and some of them are KM driven.

LSA can read and analyze time entries and programatically put time entries on them (I've seen this product and I believe that it is able to task-code with somewhat more than 85% accuracy).

Sky Analytics provides analytics on billing information.  Initially they were working for law departments.  It can also look at the phases of work and identify the staffing by phase. It can identify timekeeepers repeatedly billing 8 hours a day or working on a lot of weekends.

Another KM opportunity is monitoring.  Compare how you said you were doing with how you did.

KM classically has been about documents and people.  This will turn KM more towards money, staffing, process, and other things it hasn't focused on to date.

Another KM opportunity is reviewing scenarios and identifying profitability for different phases of work.

Partners don't understand leverage and how increasing leverage can increase the firm's profitability and net margin.  This itself is a KM opportunity.

Basic KM tools can be put in place to share information about profitability.

The Finance people may feel threatened by KM efforts.  They are getting asked for more and more different reports and are underwater.   They need KM but may have a hard time getting out of their blinkered approach.

Redwood Analytics, Aderant, Data Fusion, and others can't present the phase/leverage/staffing information in a usable way.

Tom Baldwin--we need to connect the dots between our efficiency tools and the "soft spots" pointed out by finance and profitability analysis.

Finance people can spot the problems, KM can provide solutions

Monday, September 10, 2012

My iPad and Me: Personal Technology and Live-Blogging

I live-blogged and tweeted at ILTA Conference from the setup shown.  It's a Zagg "Solo" keyboard and the latest iPad.  I thought those gadget-lovers out there might enjoy my thoughts on how these tools worked for me (the bottom line:  quite well, still some room for improvement in my approach). I think this kind of setup would also serve well in occasions when lawyers can't be plugged in, don't have much space to work in, or want to impress the less tech-savvy.


The keyboard came with a handy and effective stand for the iPad, which doubles as a carrying case for the keyboard. The keyboard is very light and easy to use. It works with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth, so there aren't any cables cluttering things up. I've found it handy on occasion to have the keyboard located in a different place (e.g., lap) than the tablet. Setup was a piece of cake, although I recommend looking at the directions. It's a lot more comfortable working in cramped quarters on a separate keyboard than on a screen attached to a keyboard (i.e., a laptop).

The keyboard has a few shortcut keys that are extremely helpful on an iOS device--Cut, Copy, Paste, Home, and the like. I used the copy and paste for hashtags on tweets and over and over again while working on posts.

I'll have to remember that the keyboard itself has a battery. It it supposed to go a few weeks without needing a charge, so that may be a challenge.  It's recharged through a unique little USB cable, which I am nervous about losing.  You don't have to have the cable to type, of course.


The iPad (wifi only) worked great as a blogging and note-taking device.  The battery life is four to five times greater than my laptop, and the display looks fabulous.  I was able (barely) to get through an entire day of five sessions on one charge.

It's also great being able to touch a word or point in the document and have the cursor move there.


A word about the wifi.  If my experiences at the E20 conference and at this one is any indication, conference facilities appear to have figured out how to provide sufficiently reliable wifi.  Thanks Gaylord National and ILTA!  This was an essential aspect of working with the iPad so much, as I don't have wireless internet (3G) on it.


One challenge in live-blogging was figuring out how to write my notes down. I was liveblogging on the Blogger platform. I tried the native Blogger app but, perhaps not surprisingly for a Google tool on iOS it was A) for iPhone only and B) pathetic (did you know that people add "hyperlinks" to blog posts?  The Blogger app doesn't). I also tried working from a Safari browser window, but working with longer posts was not practical because the view would jump around too much.

I then tried using the iPad's built-in Notes app, which is great in that it instantly and permanently saves everything you write and looks good while you are writing. The Notes app, however, gives you almost zero control over fonts or appearance, no bolds or italics even, and it doesn't allow for bullet lists or hyperlinks, common weapons in a blogger's arsenal.

The Notability app on which I'm typing this up solves the font and appearance issues, at least as far as the document on the screen, and also instantly saves whatever you write. It has the ability to embed hyperlinks, but it doesn't copy over into Blogger as HTML, so those get lost in the transfer. Close enough though!

Notability is designed for iPad, which means that you can click an icon and "scribble" on the screen with your finger. I used that feature, for instance, in taking down a draft of the comparison table in the Exemplify review.

The WordPress apps look great, but, for better or worse, Caselines is still on Blogger.  

Poking At The Screen

Editing longer posts once they left Notability still required going to a laptop and opening up a browser.  After working on the iPad for several days, I had gotten used to the touchscreen, and would swipe ineffectually at the laptop screen where I needed to edit next (this left me feeling like Scotty (James Doohan, RIP) on Star Trek IV).

We get used to working with a mouse, and, yes, mousing is more accurate than a finger swipe, but words aren't small targets, and touching something on the screen is simply a lot more intuitive and requires less brain power than maneuvering a cursor. Touch screens are definitely coming to the enterprise--even Microsoft is paying attention to them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Clause Reference and Creation Tool Exemplify

I met with George May, Bill Bice, Rob Anderson*, and Shannon Brown Janicki of legal technology start-up Exemplify on August 29th at the ILTA 2012 conference (see other coverage of Exemplify's launch here).  Exemplify is a large firm solution that leverages the massive "EDGAR" database of corporate filings in order to improve the speed and effectiveness of attorneys drafting transactional documents.  This post is based on a demonstration of the product. I should note by way of disclaimer that I have not practiced as a transactional lawyer, although I work on systems and precedent collections on negotiated litigation documents such as stipulated protective orders and settlement agreements. 

*I thought I had met Geoff Petrie but I was mistaken. 


Exemplify is, I believe,  a new entry in the set of legal technologies intended to assist transactional document generation.  It is a browser-based clause reference and creation tool that compares clauses you provide with clustered iterations of standard clauses created by dynamic reference to the agreements contained in EDGAR.  Its admirable stated goals are to allow a more junior associate to develop a better draft of a transactional document faster, and to allow quick comparison and evaluation of clause language against market and against language from particular firms, financial institutions, or industries. It works at the clause level, a design that matches the way I understand corporate attorneys approach most drafting tasks.

How It Works

Exemplify starts with an empty box in a browser.  You paste in a clause or multiple clauses from your proposed agreement.  It then compares each clause you provided against the model from EDGAR most similar to the one you provide, and provides a redline against your agreement for each clause.

To get to the next closest iteration of that clause you click an arrow, the application constantly showing a redline against your original clause.

It works against a huge database developed by reference to EDGAR documents that aligns thousands of similar clauses from a huge variety of documents.  It has an initially clean and simple interface, that gets only a little more complex as the attorney digs into clause development.

As you work through clauses you can save them and so by the end of clause development work have a complete document ready to be pulled into a document management system and developed into a very good first draft.

Once you are working on a clause you can filter on metadata about the hundreds or even thousands of agreements from which the clause iteration appears. The law firm filter may be most significant for negotiators, but drafters can also filter on financial institution, date, parties, and industry.

Implications For Traditional Drafting Process

An associate creating an initial draft of a transactional document might typically do the work by finding four or five samples; tracking down the particular clause at issue in each; comparing the langage between each; and then copying and modifying the language that best suits the particular deal context.

In my view, Exemplify ought to eliminate time associates normally take to find matching agreements and the matching clauses within them, and ought to also greatly reduce the time spent in reviewing and comparing clauses.

It also should greatly reduce the time taken to find a version of a clause that meets your circumstance (for instance, does the agreement address a Letter of Credit). 

Comparison with Existing Approaches

Substantive KM Resources 

Firms with knowledge management programs have developed libraries of transactional documents and related resources.  Laboriously created annotated forms show associates what the "firm standard" clause is for specific circumstances such as buyer-favorable, seller-favorable, and neutral; memos and articles may provide more information about the context of language changes; and meetings and trainings provide additional opportunities for associates to learn directly from skilled practitioners.  In addition to information about clause language, KM resources often provide practical and strategic advice in context, as on negotiation or proper redline provision.   

These KM resources provide more context and depth than Exemplify can. They have two limitations that Exemplify does not:  they do not necessarily reflect what is "market," and they are not updated without additional input of senior attorney time.   Because of the necessary investment, they are typically  targeted at a particular categories of common documents, where Exemplify will pull in whatever documents are publicly filed regardless of their frequency. I can imagine that Exemplify might help a transactional KM attorney work faster, by putting common clause variants at the attorney's fingertips, with the attorney supplying experience-based understanding of the reasons for the different variations.  

Document Assembly

Traditional document assembly products help attorneys quickly draft one or more legal documents (typically transactional documents) through automated questionnaires that "fill in the blanks" or provide options leading to the program incorporating or excluding specific clauses from the finished document (for a publicly available example, visit my firm's Founder's Workbench site, which will assemble papers for incorporating a Delaware corporation).  As with Exemplify, what results is a much more advanced draft than what is possible with "mere" reference to a single sample.

Development of the document assembly "template" that contains the language options and the like, however, is very challenging and time-intensive, requiring high-level legal knowledge about a document's logical structure and some ability to handle the complex software involved.  Templates are developed through laborious reference to existing firm and individual lawyer standards,  and may also refer to clause language from outside the firm.  Document assembly templates do not dynamically refer to the set of documents out in the market.


Kingsley Martin's kiiac application reportedly greatly improves the speed of developing document templates, but kiiac must be "fed" a large corpus of documents and itself is a complex piece of software not as easily accessed and leveraged by practicing attorneys (I have seen several demos but have no hands-on experience with this tool). Generating a comparison against a given clause requires many more steps. kiiac is complementary with document assembly in that it can show template compilers the standard variations within a subset of a firm's documents.

kiiac is also not tied into EDGAR, which means that it must be fed a document set or corpus and that it can cover all transactional document types, not just those addressed through publicly filed EDGAR documents

kiiac does, however, provide statistical analysis of all variations at once and a "checklist" of all possible clauses, two features Exemplify largely lacks.  It clusters clause options by the degree of frequency rather than by their similarity to presented language.

West KM Transactional

This Thompson Reuters product automates the breakdown of internal transactional documents into clauses and provides some level of profiling of transactional document type as well.  It allows quick location of sample language, but does not conduct the type of comparison of clauses that is found in KIIAC or Exemplify.  West KM Transactional relies on a firm's own documents. 

My firm has West KM for litigation.  This tool is in a way parallel to Exemplify in that it shows the validity of cases and statutes referenced in a firm's internal briefs by drawing on the massive and frequently updated Westlaw KeyCite system, (showing, for instance, red, yellow or "citing reference" flags) where Exemplify assesses a given clause by comparing it to  the massive and frequently updated EDGAR database of transactional documents.

Summary Chart

If you compare the transactional document source with the primary function of these tools, you might get a summary chart that looks like this.  

External Agreements
Internal Agreements
West KM
Document Assembly

Shows Clauses / Documents
Creates Documents
Show & Compare Clauses

Saturday, September 1, 2012

ILTA Interactive Session: "Forget The Wild Goose Chase"

In another excellent interactive session developed by Mary Abraham, ILTA members learned about methods for analysis and self-reflection and time management aimed at increasing the impact of our work on our organizations through presentation and through an interactive card-sorting exercise.  (I promised my excellent table, which included JAG CKO Scott Reid, Mallesons KM head Felicity Badcock, Cheryl Disch, and others, and from which I learned a lot, that I would provide my notes of the results of the exercise.  Here they are.)

Formal Description:  

"Discover a framework for differentiating between busy work, beneficial work and work that truly has a high impact on your firm. Each attendee will learn how to move their focus to high-impact projects." Hashtag #AFT5.

Unfortunately I missed the earliest part of the presentation.  I understand that Jordan Furlong covered the "Force Multiplier" concept previously addressed in Mary Abraham's post on the ILTA KM Blog  and that understanding effectiveness requires looking at who one's activities are impacting and how.

Mary Abraham suggests that the exercise of investigating your and your group's impact should be at least an annual investigation, perhaps even quarterly.

The first part of the card-sorting exercise saw everyone in the room write down the "three activities you spend the most time on" on 3x5 cards. At our table we then formed these into rough groups covering strategic, operational, and tactical types. Strategic activities generally address choices about what work to do, working with organizational leadership, and comparable items; operational activities directly address a process or organizational issues such as personnel; and tactical activities directly get work done.  Strategic activities are most often high-value and force-multiplying, with some operational activities also being high value, and tactical activities may be necessary but are rarely high-value.

The next part of the exercise was to sort the activities into high, medium, and low value buckets.

Finally we discussed strategies and approaches for spending more of our time on high value activities.  Mary Abraham challenged us to try to spend 80% of time on high value activities.

I have grouped the resulting tips and approaches, most of which came from the people at my table, into a few categories. I feel I was lucky to have such a great collection of talent at my table; others at the session may have had very different experiences, for better or worse.

1)  Timekeeper Discipline

Lawyers already have to track their time in excruciating detail. While non-legal staff may not need to record their time in that level of detail, they may find it very useful to keep  track of what they spend time on each day.  Reporting on time-spent metrics is a good basis for lobbying management to change the balance of work.

One HBR professor sets a chime to go off every hour.  He then asks himself two questions:  "Am I doing the best work I could be doing?" and "Am I being the best person I could be?"  Often he finds that one or both of the answers is "No."

Looking ahead, write down what you're going to do each day, on paper.  If you've forgotten until task completion, you can still write down the task and give yourself the reward of crossing it off the list.  If you don't write down what you're going to do you'll end up "chasing the shiniest object in the room" or browsing the internet.

Balance time spent talking and listening to others and "alone" time for reflection.

Also balance brainstorming, seeking leadership or peer approval, and making sure your staff is doing the work is it should be done.

Set aside time for strategic thinking.

Think about your time as a glass jar you're trying to fill with big rocks, smaller rocks, and sand, where the big rocks are the bigger, more urgent projects and the smaller rocks and sand more numerous and less high priority activities.  You have to deal with the big rocks every day, and you should also pay attention to the smaller rocks, and if you have any time left over you can let the sand fill up the jar.

2) "Urgent" Requests

How much of your work must be done in "crisis" mode?  We all have some projects that have to get done right away; working too long in crisis mode can get away us from high-value projects.

Urgency is in the eye of the beholder / requestor, and can be tracked and assessed for validity.  Urgent requests may not improve anything other than the requestor's situation, and often waste time.  Some techniques for addressing that situation include:

  • Delegate as much as you can
  • Figure out who are the "screamers that matter" and the "screamers that don't"
  • Identify in advance who the appropriate people are to do specific types of requests and who can be ready to handle urgent requests that anyone on your team can do
  • Identify appropriate level of service for the request.  You don't have to bring your "A" game to every request.
  • Establish technical workflow systems (e.g., ticket systems), being mindful however that the most urgent and high priority requests may not be appropriate for such a system (my firm has at least three such systems in the areas of User Support, eDiscovery, and Court Procedures)
  • Get comfortable saying "No"
  • Conduct reviews of tasks completed, identifying urgency requested and "actual" urgency as perceived later (sufficient to break down by A, B, or C requests)
  • Track your team's request turnaround time

3) Managing Up

Repeated unduly urgent requests should be addressed as a personnel and organizational issue

Talk about your activity metrics and analysis with your superiors or key stakeholders and convince them they should support delegation or other systems to better manage time-wasting requests, and that they should protect you, if necessary, from attempts to avoid those systems.

Conduct internal marketing around moving yourself to higher benefit work.  It might help if you explain the force multiplier effect.

4) Email

Periodically step away from email.

At an organizational level, try to break out some types of communications into systems that don't demand our attention in the way that email does.  Enterprise social networks for RFIs is one such system.  Email remains a good way to privately ask someone to do something.

4) Meetings

Ron Friedmann suggested having meetings go no more than an hour;  have them standing up; and try to make sure no one is having more than five meetings a week.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

ILTA Session: Missing The Point, And Finding It Again

The following are my notes on an excellent, and, as promised, provocative session with John Alber, drawing lessons from outside the legal industry and attempting to apply them to legal KM and IT.

John started in law business in 1979, he became a partner at Bryan Cave.  He left to run a transportation business and sold it right before the crash.

His session is intentionally provocative, intended as a "sharp stick in the eye."  He wants to challenge how we do our work and what we call it.

He took a law school class on phenomenology. The idea was to investigate a term and deconstruct it.  (They spent two weeks on the word "charm.") He's deconstructing knowledge management.

Phenomenological approach asks what the terms says about our choices. With the phrase "knowledge management," people will leave us alone, but that's OK, because we don't like to be bothered by other people about what we do.  We're very good at what we do even though it's very hard to explain.

We can manage any kind of knowledge, except maybe if it has to do with numbers, because we don't like numbers, and that might be financial management.

KM's name declares its intention.  KM and other technology functions are usually:
  • Internally focused (introverted)
  • Insulated from everyday business of the firm
  • Attenuated connection to revenue
  • Expensive in terms of capital and operations
  • No clear path to return cost of capital
  • Few if any metrics connected to the business of the firm 
What does search engine usage mean to the business of the firm?

Firms don't usually talk about IT or KM at the top level.  They do articulate its value.

What Does This Matter?

KM headcount is revenue sensitive, even more sensitive than revenue.

KM is a "felt" need rather than a profit-driven need.  Lawyers say they need to have it.

If KM drove profitability the same way R&D does.  When revenue drops, people often increase investment in R&D, as they are looking for new ways to make money.

We're not doing something right if KM headcount goes down with revenue.

Jeff Rovner referred to Jim Johnson's statement that business development investment drops off first in a downturn.  In most law firms business development does not develop business (he's not referring to his own firm's BD).

It's hard to think outside of our group, to look at what others are doing.

What We Could Call Ourselves

MYLB "Making You Look Brilliant"
MLLB "Making Lawyers Look Brilliant""

Imagine that KM doesn't just manage knowledge. Imagine KM is a business unit that increases knowledge. It helps us understand what we do best and how we can best help our clients.  It helps us make better decisions.  KM can be profoundly connected to profitability.

Recommends "Does IT Matter" by Nicholas G. Carr.  IT can only productivity when it's combined with broader changes in business practice, competition, and regulatory control.  In isolation, it is inert.


Accenture arose out the accounting practice of Arthur Andersen.  AA tried to develop computer competence in 1951.  It was asked to study GE's manual payroll process and help automate it at Appliance Park in Kentucky.  AA Consulting, the IT function of Anderson, grew to be larger than the underlying business. It split from AA in 2000.  Some of the risky behavior that the auditing partners began to do (that led to AA's downfall) was driven by the differences between profits for partners.  The original AA was liquidated in 2002 as a consequence of the Enron scandal, and AA Consulting became Accenture.  They now employ 250,000 consultants.

Accenture does what we do.  They work with very busy professionals who bill by the hour.  They deliver technology, although their first delivery of technology was directed outwards.  They train.  Accenture manages knowledge in lots of areas.

Accenture was very innovative at the core.  Legal IT/KM by contrast is risk-averse. Accenture has taken risks in order to innovate.

There's a book on training at Accenture called "Return on Learning."

Accenture claimed a 353% annual return on investment in learning.

At the time of its IPO, Accenture was spending $700 million/year on training.  They were asked to cut the budget in half, still deliver great training, and measure profitability (e.g., "run it like a business.")

They had to measure "employee value" and were asked to measure and maximize it.

They had to create a governance and sponsorship structure to let learning organization respond to the business.  They also developed relationships with key decision makers, making sure learning was on their agenda.

"Getting management buy-in"' is a shallow level of connection to the business.  The Accenture "V-Model for Learning and Knowledge Management" is a much deeper connection.  Hundreds of people throughout the organization are involved in each training.

Another recommended paper is "Six Decisions IT Should Never Make."  Ross & Weill from HBR.

Applying Accenture Lessons

Training on running on Word is different than training on running a deal.  The latter includes skills like:

--Effective collaboration on drafting
--How to organize and share your work
--How to memorialze lessons and work product

Getting the Accenture Level of Engagement

KM can be directed squarely at profitability and its results can be measured.  They had a set of best practices set up for doing matter work and could compare matters that used those with ones that didn't.  Traditionally managed AFAs did not, on average, break even, those using the best practices were quite profitable.

How can law firms help clients attack the total client legal spend.  Total spend includes risk management, fees to main firms, eDiscovery costs, transaction costs, settlement costs, etc.

Ask each quarter "what are we trying to do this quarter?" Ask if they will help KM figure out how KM can help with that, in other words, "Help us figure out how best to drive you to that goal.".  What matters is the questions you ask and of whom you ask.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ILTA Session: Aligning KM With External Client Expectations

Formal Title:  Why IT Doesn't Matter and KM Matters Even Less To Clients:  How To Align Services With Expectations

  • Felicity Badcock, King & Wood Mallesons
  • Risa Schwartz
  • Sally Gonzalez, CIO, SNR Denton
This session by an all-star set of knowledge management leaders addressed client perspectives on internal initiatives and highlighted some successful KM initiaves in law firms and law departments.  What follows are my notes from their session at ILTA conference today.

Sally Gonzalez

Ms. Gonzalez has seen three stages of KM.

The first stage involved capturing knowledge and professional development & training.  They did it in the U.K. because they were trying to manage risk.  U.S. lawyers were trying to be more efficient, an uphill battle under billable hour regimes.

Around 2000 law firms started to focus on business development and marketing. Information about people and matters became more important.  Sharing knowledge about the work and about firm relationships became important.  CRM systems were implemented, often not by KM.

Marketing started to understand the intersection of KM and business development.  Freshfields looked at what the client wanted.  They didn't want generic broadsides, they wanted content tailored to my company and my jurisdictions [Ed.--how does firm get to know what specific clients want to know about?]

Around 2008 a seller's market for legal service turned into a buyer's market.  Law firms used to control basic structure and processes of legal work, which was done under a billable hour model.  With the buyer's market, client demands for efficiency and effectiveness have increased.  Corporate legal is under price and cost pressure.  That's turned into across-the-board demands for efficiency and effectiveness.  Firms are beginning to be more efficient and new legal service providers have emerged.

Commercial risk, not legal risk, now drives law firm KM.  The client cares that you are providing the right level of legal service at a good price.

With this shift there is arising a third phase of of KM.  Traditional KM skills are being applied to the budgeting/pricing context.

So what do clients want now from in-house KM and from outside counsel's KM & IT departments?

Risa Schwartz

Clients want in-house staff and law firms that know their business. 

Clients other than HP hire people from law firms. They are typically hiring people who understand sales contracts and the life. What they don't know is how Cisco vs. Apple vs. Google negotiate sales contracts, in other words, they don't understand the business. 

Law firms and clients should define "how can everyone on the team get up to speed on the industry?"  Lawyers need an *intimate* understanding of the client's business.  

Knowledge management and technology staff need to get closer to the business people.  Some KM staff were hired without legal or business experience (technologists).  Partners would not talk to them and share their expertise and knowledge of the business.

KM initially reported to the IT staff.  That was understood as only occasionally successful.  The landscape is littered with KM and IT project failures.

KM is now more often reporting to the managing partner.  Sometimes they also report to the marketing group.

Felicity Badcock

Ms. Badcock is Head of Knowledge Management at King & Wood Mallesons, an Australian / Asian-Pacific firm well-known for its cutting-edge knowledge management program.

A survey of the Australian Legal market indicated that the 2008 recession drove a change in what buyers were looking for from reliability as the first criteria to understanding the business and industry of the client.  Price also became a factor where it had not been before.

King & Wood Mallesons has a Knowledge Management, a "Business Development and Marketing," and "Legal Logistics" groups all reporting to the Managing Partner for Clients and Matters.

KWM has reorganized around key sectors and industries.  With clients as the focus rather than the practice it increases the ability to anticipate client needs and know the industry.
Partners are affiliated with a primary sector and a minor sector as well as a practice group.  Sectors get a lead partner, business development assistance, learning & PD, and KM support.  Revenue is reported on a sector basis.

KWM has developed an enterprise-social-network-style sector community pages that let you see clients, people, and updates about that sector.  The ESN encouraged the sharing of information around the sectors.   They also rolled out ESNs around practice areas.  This is a new way of communicating. Updating information is seen in the context of the sector or practice. They've seen some good knowledge sharing on these sites that has led to additional work or better client service.

They've developed guides to help junior attorneys conduct industry research. 

Another tool is after action reviews.  There are four types:
  • Client-facilitated
  • Internal facilitated
  • Internal-team reviews
  • Internal self-assessments (partner)
The theory is that the more a firm understands about the work that it's done the more it can use the information to improve service on the next matter.

A full debrief pulls together lessons learned, financial profiles, client insights, matter profile, market profile, and knowledge sharing.  The market profile looks at matters that might be innovative and/or have a good story. 

They are trying to embed the process of internal review into the way they do work.  

They share reviews through improvement opportunities, lessons learnt stories, media opportunities, and the like.  They look across lessons to identify common trends and issues, and try to fit the appropriate lesson learned to the level of the organization (sector, practice area, firm).

Risa Schwartz

Risa addressed some examples of successful legal  km projects that involved clients.  Unfortunately she was not able to provide the identity of the clients or firms involved.  I have previously blogged about some of her work at Cisco.

Most law departments have a static deal room.  A successful program at a legal department asked M&A attorneys.  They said they were waiting for an email from outside counsel.  Sometimes outside counsel don't know when the general counsel need what. 

A simple SharePoint site let law firm attorneys update information about hot documents and key deal issues on a site that automatically notified in-house counsel.  It was built jointly by law firm and in-house counsel.  The technology saved a few weeks of time and a lot in legal bills as well.

In litigation people are desperate for information about related cases.  In-house counsel may not be able to find information about comparable cases.  Sometimes clients need law firms to build sites or themselves host sites with information about the matter. 

Outside counsel can work with in-house counsel, asking what is useful for the business, starting with the general counsel and getting down to the individual counsel. 

It's very difficult for in-house counsel to manage subsidiaries.  Orrick's system identifies approved lawyers in different countries, for the subsidiaries.

Training needs to identify the business of the client.  Some training programs have been built on client intranets.  Some have dealbooks.  Better dealbooks are on updated platforms such as wikis.  Standard clauses, fallbacks, and negotiated points are all on these wikis.  Outside counsel can be given access to the wiki, both to supply answers and to learn about the business.  Discussion forums also might address specific topics such as clauses within sales contracts.

When an extranet is well-built, clients are willing to overlook their usual preference for sites that they host themselves.

Volunteering to conduct an information management or KM needs assessment at a client is a good way for a law firm km person to start the conversation with the in-house KM person.

ILTA Session: Dashboards and Warehouses

These are my notes from the fifth session in the KM track, "Data Warehouses, Dashboards and Data Integration:  Delivering Actionable Business Intelligence."  It was pretty tech-heavy, as dashboards rely on clean data and data warehouses were also addressed.  Hashtag was #kmpg5.

Session link

Formal Description:

The ability to deliver actionable data to decision makers in anticipation of upcoming business cycles is the key to success in a highly competitive marketplace. Case studies will be presented with a focus on data warehousing and data integration to deliver business intelligence using easy-to-consume dashboards. We will hear from CIOs, KM practitioners and application developers who are leading the charge in delivering and using real-time data to facilitate strategic decision-making.


Steve Lewis - Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Douglas Horton - Handshake Software
Tracy Elmblad - Bingham McCutchen
Gina Lynch - Bingham McCutchen

Gina Lynch

Gina Lynch is the Global Director of Knowledge Services at Bingham, my former firm (1997-2002).  She is a wry and effective presenter.

Bingham has had rapid growth from 2000 to the present and has merged with many firms.

The new intranet was intended to create a new powerful communications platform, harmonize the Bingham community, and increase productivity and efficiency.  They had to promise that the new intranet would save the firm time and money.  

KM and KS were good facilitators for the project.  They are good at listening and distill customer needs from a conversation.  "They tell us what they want, we know what they need."'  

Finance is really important for dashboards.  You need to take them to lunch and buy them big expensive presents.  

The project needed to come out as a firm project, not a KM or IT project.  Key stakeholders needed to be in the loop about providing their information.

Their home page comes up with "news of the day," human interest or updates, followed by firm news.  The front screen emphasizes search.

Partners want long and short-term financial data.  What was it like 3, 6, 12 months ago? They want WIP, AR, hours, revenue, realization, and receipts.  They also wanted easy access to Elite data.  

Accounting wants to provide partners easy access to Elite data, billing reminders, and self-service FAQs. 

The dashboard has stoplights and bar charts.  Clicking on an image pulls up details.  Green-yellow-red for good-danger-bad.  It has billable hours, WIP and A/R, and Receipts, Billing & Realization.

What does a new partner need?

New partners need a detailed view of information about client.  

The client "entry" view shows amount of receipts and realization with big bars for different departments for multiple clients.  They can adjust the time period.  A client lookup searches by name and number, or you can filter by group, practice area, and industry.

Client detail view shows general information, time value, engagement, and the rate agreements.  

Department Pages  

Focus groups said they wanted easy access to applications, password management, and engagement letter on department pages.  

People don't really tell the truth in focus groups.  

According to the searches, they want to know "what I am going to eat, when do I get paid, when can I retire." 

Their individual view shows personal information such as hire date, timekeeper number, insurance, payroll schedule, holiday amount, retirement balance.

Partners really wanted cash flow schedule and payroll stubs.  

They learned that intranets need to be skinny.  Their approach is to identify the small bits of information that people really use (provide functionality instead of information?).  

Steve Lewis

Fried Frank's intranet focus started with addressing findability and uniformity, then switched to focus on associates, then partners, matter, and practice management.

Associates cared about where they were in relation to their peers, and also about finding sample work product.  Fried Frank chose Lexis Search Advantage.  

Their new intranet focused at the highest level on Recruitment, Revenue, and Recognition.  

The quality of the work is assumed.  You don't get in front of big clients unless you can do the quality of the work.  We won't survive unless we can do our work much, much more efficiently.  The chairman of Fried Frank feels that the new intranet is a very serious part of that effort.  

The chairman or the managing partner presented the intranet to everyone in the firm.  It was a very significant lawyer-facing project.

The home page had three sections, top stories, firm news, and calendar, designed by Right Hat.  Four columns for today and the next three days, with scrolling forward and back available.  

Tabs show "My View", "My Practice," "Clients" and "Firm."

My view shows subscriptions, watches, editorially provided content, alerts, and the like.

Fried Frank concentrated less on dashboards and more on a lot of information on the screen at one time, e.g., My Hours, My Clients, etc.  They have a "backlog summary" showing A/R for partners.

The client pages showed the partners what the firm wanted them to pursue.

Practice group pages show recent matters, media mentions, new hires, bylined articles, and the like.

Tracy Emblad

She's addressing development of the HR dashboard and the data warehouse.

They worked closely with Handshake, SharePoint could not have done what they wanted out of the box.  

They used Silverlight as well, which worked fine until iPads came along.  

She feels that every firm should have a data warehouse.  It's really important to get it into a place where it's easy to consume.  It's designed to make extraction and analysis simple.  A good warehouse turns data into a reliable firm asset.  It can also track data changes, which may not be possible in other systems.

It's one point of access and entry.  It can also be clean and trusted, and provides application-neutral data.  Some systems can only feed information in at night.  A warehouse can be queried at any time.  It's designed for high access speed. You don't have to be a database administrative to create query tools.  

Their warehouse has employee data like pictures, spouses, client/matter data, ethical wall information, etc., etc.

Getting data into a warehouse typically involves a business question or problem.  Data gets out by reports, dashboards, excel exports, etc.  

They've had measurable gains in productivity, efficiency, customer service, and compliance from their dashboards.

They watch metrics on who uses what.  Dashboards are overtaking news in popularity.

Douglas Horton

He's from Handshake.  Data integration entails pulling information from a variety of firm systems.  

We've come a long way with technology.   He talks about being called into a PI firm that had burned up an "Altos" computer by storing it in a broom closet.  

You address many of the same issues with mobile devices.  Usability is key.  Nobody is delivering dashboards by mobile (ed.--except Mallesons).  Touching is less precise than mouse clicks.  Small target areas can be a real problem.