Monday, August 27, 2007

New CommonCraft Video--Social bookmarking

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

Their next video educates about the power of social bookmarking:

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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Last ILTA Session: Sharepoint 2007 at Sheppard Mullin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

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

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

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

What Sharepoint Does For You

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

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

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


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

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

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

Financial Information

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

Knowledge Management / Expertise Location

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

Extend Sharepoint

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

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

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

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

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

Usage Tracking

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

West KM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fulbright & Jaworski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

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

King & Spalding

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They have workspaces set up for nonbillable administrative work.

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

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


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

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

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

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

Neil Araujo provided an overview of Interwoven's business.

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


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

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

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

User Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Drivers At Law Firms

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

Battle for talent

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

Client expectations

Clients want global service teams.

Risk management

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

New Search

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

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

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

Interwoven also has a new blackberry mobility client.

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

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

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


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

King & Spalding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wragge & Co. LLP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Torys LLP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned:

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

ILTA Vendor Announcement--Interwoven and Velocity / Vivisimo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speakers were:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Liberty Mutual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons Learned

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

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

Dan Safran, Project Leadership Associates, Inc.

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

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

There are four aspects to the cycle:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILTA Conference, Day 2, Session 2: Finding the Needle in the Enterprise Search Haystack

Chard Ergun, White & Case
Dora Martinez, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Mike Tominna, DLA Piper

Engine Selection Process

White & Case started working 1 1/2 years ago. The special challenge for White & Case was to find a search engine that was language-independent and able to handle multiple offices.

They gathered search engine requirements through surveys, interviews, log files, usage reports.
They built a search engine matrix with priorities and weights.
Started with 4 products from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant (Autonomy, perhaps Fast and Endeca?).
Built extensive test environment, had 6 million documents, 120 mailboxes, documents from Europe and America, and external web sites. They installed 4 search engines and spent 4-6 weeks on each. Each was ranked against the 30-item matrix.

Preferred “concept-based” search. Each attorney ran a test against what they had done in the last few months. Language independency was a major factor.

Attorneys liked the automated query guidance that provided suggestions for other terms.

W & C uses a podcast / voicemail system and took Outlook offline. Autonomy allowed attorneys to search C drive and these systems.

Autonomy respected underlying security model. It was scalable (9 million documents) and the support was excellent. They are a publicly traded company.

One box, one button, gives attorneys what they want. Keep adding a new feature without tellinig attorneys. Autonomy has other features but they only displayed the search. Hold monthly or weekly updates.

Autonomy is automatic, language independent.

Lessons learned:

There is no search engine that is perfect. They have advantages and disadvantages. Fine-tuning is therefore crucial. There will be extensive costs in setting them up.

Have to have a good security model, scalable platform, with extensive data source coverage.

They did no training, had a one-page Quick Chart, and had some marketing. If there is a high usability rate, you don’t need training.

They have Elite, iManage/Interwoven, and many other applications. Autonomy covers more than 400 data types. They have used it for more than a year.

Word of mouth is very important, but you have to test as well. There is no way back after the investment.

Screen shots/features

Can limit search to an application by icons
Remote channels pop up as you start to type on a letter. Example was "comfort letter." A remote channel is a dynamic list of knowledge documents, or other channels that show you related precedent or exemplar documents related to the one you are working on.

Michael Tominna/DLA Piper

DLA Piper was Recommind's first sale five years back.

The problem is that there is too much data from too many sources, with poor search in the different applications.

The solution is a product that produces meaningful results, that is scalable to millions of records, with the ability to crawl standard products (SQL, File Shares, XML, web, etc.), and has the ability to crawl via API.

Will it create own indexes or use the indexes of the applications.
With Recommind they are searching bios, 18 million documents, Elite accounting system including clients, matters, and time entries, biographical people information such as bar, languages, and so forth.

Faceted search avoids having to create Boolean searching. Can limit by matter, industry group, author, applications, search for people or documents. Drill-down on matter includes MRA, CRA, who worked on it.

Search exposed poor security in some areas such as HR.


Search technology will not fix all of the problems. Tweaking will be required. Slow performance (5-10 seconds) will kill it. Build out more than you need because the amount of data crawled is huge.

Dora Martinez / Director of Project Management at Sheppard Mullin

SM looked at Sharepoint because they needed a single place to search full-text across multiple systems, with relevancy, and were also looking for a new portal.

SM did a requirements-gathering process through interviewing key constituents from each practice group, every department head, and every office manager, along with a firm-wide survey. They worked with an outside Microsoft Partner.

Results validated that the existing search tools were not doing the job, and that users wanted a "google-like" enterprise search. Because Sharepoint out of the box was not going to have all these features, they decided to work with XMLaw.

Sharepoint will not respect security features and will not provide DMS functionality.

One challenge was that they were working with beta code up until the release date.


Sharepoint let them index CMS, the DMS, and many other data sources. There was no extra expense, and other search engines were outside SM's price point.

They enhanced the firm directory and used Best Bets to identify the most common forms used such as HR.

Results are really, really fast (fraction of a second). Typically a user gets 8-9,000 documents. User can refine by client, matter, or author.

Their intranet has 4 searches on the home page, with a "Google"-like box up top and 3 on the left-hand side (Client-Matter and 2 others).

A document result includes a hyperlink to the matter information.

Results and Tips

Search was a big hit, with a lot of usage. Firms should continue to survey users to determine what they like and don't like. Remind users how great the system is.

They follow metrics and look into declines.

Users now stay in Outlook and the portal.

What resources were required for implementation?
SM--implementation of portal including took about 2 months, took 2 weeks to index.
DLA Piper--had to recrawl 18 million documents, was an 8-week cycle. Relevancy tweaking was key (Doc type? partner documents?)
White & Case--knowledge bank implementation took a few weeks; then opened document management system, took 6 months.

Any client document uses?

One of White & Cases' major clients is tapping into some of their internal documents across the Atlantic.

I asked about their experience with tapping into time and billing records.

White & Case doesn't tap into expertese directly that joins biographies with data from time & billing system such as number of hours on a certain type of matter. Autonomy taps into the index from this separate system.

SM allows drilling down into matter information, and attorney have appreciated the ability to find invoices and so forth. The search does not integrate daily billing information, however.

Michael noted that just because your engine is crawling this information, that doesn't mean that you have to expose it.

ILTA Day 2, Session 1 (August 21, 2007): Economics of Law Firms

Speakers were Bruce McEwan, a very well-known law firm economist and author of Adam Smith, Esq., and John Alber, KM Partner for the forward-looking firm Bryan Cave.

This session started with CISCO GC Mark Chandler's statement on failures of current economic model:

"The present system is leading to unhappy lawyers and unhappy clients."

Current Market conditions:

  • Average margin is high 30s;
  • Clients are thinning the ranks of firms they choose to hire;
  • Creation of very small panels;
  • RFPs and tenders are becoming routine;
  • Due to extraordinary price and budget pressure, clients are driving change;
  • Clients are starting to band together on issues like associate compensation (for instance, Credit Suisse will not pay bills from 1st year associates); and,
  • Big clients are starting to reduce the number of firms they work with from 100 to 50 or 20.

Bruce believes that the economics of the business may completely change soon. For instance, two Australian law firms recently announced that they are going public (Slater & Gordon went public May 21, 2007; see also Bruce's own interview with its managing partner, Andrew Grech. ).

This service was presented as an example of client-driven change. It is driven by AmLaw100 firms Orrick, Pillsbury, and Baker & McKenzie (and corporations like Cisco or Sun) and is designed to provide answers to fairly generic questions. It is a work-in-progress, and has social networking features. If you log on, it is presence-enabled, so the user can see if anyone who is a friend is online.

Law Firm Responses To Economic Conditions

· Technology;
· Some growth in fixed fee engagements, risk sharing arrangements;
· Creative technology responses including increased use of business analytics tools to refine pricing, staffing models.

IT people can help lawyers start to understand economics of the practice.

"Trade Zone";

This application is a decision tree addressing international trade issues. While it cost cost $200K /year to run and keep up-to-date, Bryan Cave obtained all of the clients' business, about $1.5 million a year.

Bryan Cave also implemented a Redwood-designed "Attorney Dashboard."

This business analytics package lets a partner plan or budget an engagement by selecting available lawyers, and by automatically calculating rates and leverage, shows profit margins depending on the selection of who does the work. The Attorney Dashboard takes every dollar of expense and compensation and allocates to every fee earner to generate a gross margin.

For instance, an "unleveraged" deal where are a partner did 30 hours of work and the associate 70 can be directly compared with a leveraged deal where are the partner works 10 hours and the associate 90. The margin doubles when the work is leveraged.

Many lawyers assume that if the partner does most of the work, they'll make more money. But the reverse is true.

The Dashboard has apparently functioned as an effective training tool as well as a line business tool. John Alber reported that Bryan Cave's rollout of the Attorney Dashboard has had a measurable increase in leverage, and hence firm profits, among partners who have used it.

If attorneys understand the economics of practicing law, they will have a better access to fixed fee arrangements.

Monday, August 20, 2007

ILTA Conference Report, KM 4--Developing the right IT and KM Governance Structure for your firm

David Hambourger, CIO, Seyfarth Shaw. He is responsible for "everything that plugs in". At Seyfarth, Practice Services and Information Technology are split, but both report to the CIO. Practice Services focuses on four practice areas. IT supports administrative functions such as Professional Development, marketing, finance, library, and records. Seyfarth has 3 knowledge management, a manager and 2 analysts, both lawyers. IT was looked at as a back office function and KM was percieved as front office. They see the KM people as better able to relate to the lawyers.

Deborah Panella, Director of Library and Knowledge Services, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, formerly from Paul Weiss. Cravath's IT director oversees a Director of Libary & Knowledge Services, with 1 (temporary) KM specialist and 13 Librarians plus 6 support staff. There is also a KM Analyst on the IT Applications Side. They are redoing their portal, incorporating RSS feeds, and much more. As IT began to focus on practice support, a need to bridge IT and the practices became apparent. The library team had been involved in KM but had not had a leadership role before.

Janis Croft, Knowledge Services Manager, Nixon Peabody LLP; responsible for portal and intranet content; at NP, Information Services oversees Knowledge Services, and IT oversees Application Development (10 developers). 35 lawyers and paralegals are responsible for KM through the practice groups or teams. Their first portal deployed in 1999. Organizational structure is steady.

Ron Friedmann, Prism Legal Consulting

Ron believes that the longevity of a KM program correlates with the number of practioners. There are competing views about whether KM should have its own IT resources.

Whether there was a formal KM program varied tremendously among the attendees.

ILTA Conference Report, Session KM3; How Wikis, Blogs and Discussion Forums Relate to KM in the Legal Field

Dennis Kennedy quoted Jack Vinson's new definition of "How people are using technology, information and one another to get work done (or solve problems)." Also quoted David Snowden's 3 KM Rules.

  1. Knowledge can only be volunteered, it cannot be conscripted.
  2. We know more than we can say and we can say more than we can write.
  3. We only know what we know when we need to know it.

He also highlighted three aspects of Web 2.0 features:

  • Lightweight Content Management
  • Collaborative
  • Capture Conversations
Blogs have:

  • individual posts
  • reverse chronological entires
  • RSS feeds
  • archives
  • comments
Dennis thinks about these tools in terms of the unit of communication and its response:

Tool Unit Response

Blog Post Comment
Wiki Article Edit
Discussion Board Topic Reply

Kevin O'Keefe--founder of LexBlog, leading provider of marketing blogs. His blog is "Real Lawyers Have Blogs." He spoke very quickly.

A blog is like an on-line discussion that creates a community. It can help you make in-roads into different groups you want to know.

You can start by finding blogs through Google,,

Should have feeds that provide blog entries on your name, the firm, clients, and relevant legal topics (such as angioplasty or bank trademarks). These feeds help drive conversations.


The AMlaw 100 firms have 73 Blogs. 55 blogs from AMLAW 200 are firm-branded. Some firms have many firm-branded blogs. Fox Rothschild alone has 10+ blogs,

Blogs are fun, so getting content out of lawyers is not difficult. "The best lawyers are getting into this now." Blogging increases the lawyers' own knowledge and expertise, through the comments and the research necessary to maintain accuracy in the posts.

Later Dennis discussed choosing particular Web 2.0 tools.

Wikis tend to be a little bit harder to start to use. Some choices are Mediawiki (wikipedia's base), Instawiki, PBWiki, Drupal, SocialText (ST is the big one for business), Sharepoint. Wiki makes sense where you are building a body of work that everybody should be able to edit. SocialText has some plugins to Sharepoint.

Blogs are easier because you don't have to learn HTML. You also get quick gratification from comments. Choices are WordPress, Movable Type (can be installed internally), Roller (IBM)

There are also custom options, including hosted and free software.

Costs are very small, close to free in terms of software. People should look out for open source software issue. Very popular internal blogs have been created for no software cost. "I'd rather take a chance on spending $0 than half a million when trying to explain two years later why there's no content in there."

Is it a repository of expertese? (wiki)
Do you want to publish information to other people? (blog)
Do you have a culture where people will respond to each other? (message boards)

Can you pull an RSS feed into a blog?
Can you pull information from a blog or RSS feed into a wiki?
Will there be business applications on top of Youtube

People will be careful about what they say because the feedback is instantaneous.

"People can become stars within their firm [through blogging.]"

Gloria Fox

Gloria Fox has spent 17 years in Knowledge Transfer. Per a comment she posted to an earlier version of this entry (thanks Gloria!), she is at Blank Rome as Knowledge Manager. The library there is a part of the KM team and has set up its blogs and wikis. Gloria works on the people part, addressing the culture and finding inroads and ways to create positive change.

The main advantages of wikis and blogs are interactivity and how easy it is to add content.

The goal is to harness the collective intelligence of a firm. Wikis and blogs and harness and leverage the "networking effect" for firm benefit.

Individual bloggers build relationships with other knowledge brokers and can become known as experts.

Blank Rome's Expertise Directory can hold visuals as well as narratives.

Top Down or Bottom-Up

Any firm platform needs official blessing.

You want opportunity to build a culture of collaboration. At Blank Rome, she created a library wiki, complete with information for summer interns.

What's In it for me?

Attorneys spend excess time at meetings discussing simple logistics, such as what case is going to trial or who is going to a conference. Attorneys could move more quickly to the more interesting collaborative work if they just posted such information on a blog.

Best Practices

Identify business objectives for blogs; pick a group that might be open to using wikis or blogs. Some will fail. Start small with enthusiastic and committed groups and make Web 2.0 champions.

Lisa Kellar Gianakos*

Lisa moderated the panel discussion. She also said that she will be moving some practice guides to wiki format. Think of low-hanging fruit (law fruit?). Take practice guides and let people run with them, making edits. Wikis work very well for project management, and also for basic information about onboarding.

It's better to have wiki or blog where it's almost all right than to have perfectly crafted annotations. There's a lot of value in quickly getting to 90%.

*name spelled correctly after an embarrasingly long time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

ILTA Conference Report, Session KM 2; Stories from Client-Facing KM Implementers

Clint Moore has been with Littler Mendelson for 5 years as "Manager of KM Technologies." 8 KM attorneys in his firm, he is a technologist, looking for 1 more; 7 web developers. KM is not part of IT, they work closely with the library. The KM attorneys have a revenue goal, which they meet through selling subscription tools to "Littler Monitor" and Littler GPS.

The "Littler Monitor" service provides a method to monitor wage legislation and regulation in 50 states; provides action items and an indication of whether legislation is pending.

Littler recently launched Littler GPS, 50-state surveys on discrimination, employment benefits, unemployment, and so forth. Littler also has a collective bargain agreement service. Two models of subscriptions--17 of most popular surveys, or they can pick some they care. It takes 40-100 hours.

Chard Ergun is Manager of Practice Management Systems at White & Case, a firm with 2,135 attorneys world-wide and 38 office in 23 countries. White & Case has PSLs in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, "Knowledge Resource Attorneys" in Americas. White & Case has a system that tracks model documents called "Knowledge Bank; the KRAs are part of practice groups and are responsible for "sanitizing" or cleaning up monitors. The external resource is called "White & Case Universe," an application that "assists clients in implementing and coordinating their compensation and benefits, global employment, and labor strategies around the world." Access is subscription-based; there is a free public section including a demo. A built-in workflow process ensures that only partner-approved content gets posted. Firm attorneys can subscribe to particulary types of content or regional activity. The application was developed in coordination with clients. There is some "push": clients get notice of new content directly from the site. Site also leads to client-specific extranets.

Menus of resources are country-specific and are managed by the attorneys. Attorneys were nervous about sharing everything because they feared clients weren't going to call them. It didn't work out that way and in fact led the clients to the right attorney more quickly.

Fiona Gifford is International Development Manager at Freshfields. She worked at White & Case as an arbitration lawyer, and is now on Freshfields' central KM team. Europe has a large number of knowledge lawyers. Freshfields has an integrated KM and business development function. 80 knowledge management lawyers, with 5-10 years client experience, as well as 70 knowledge management assistants, organized by practice groups and sector groups. Total related staff is over 400, including library and information services. Most KM teams are based in practice groups, but there are also central KM staff who help spread knowledge across and between offices. Freshfields reorganized recently due to extensive overlap with business developments in areas such as Client Alerts and Pitches. They combined the two into a "KBD" (knowledge and business development) department. What we see as adding value is what clients expect "at 600 pounds an hour."

The KBD department is treated as a business service---they have KM business plans that are supposed to align with the overall business goals of the different practice areas. Training department is folded into KM at Freshfields.

I appreciated the opportunity to meet Fiona after the formal session. The London firms have so much more advanced KM groups in terms of numbers of personnel and resources that it is always interesting to hear what is happening with them. Fiona opined (based on her own experience as a PSL lawyer) that part of why KM has become KBD may be that the PSL lawyers, unlike the centralized business development staff, were very close to the practice areas and in some cases the clients, and so were in a position to intimately know exactly what the practice areas in particular offices needed.

Client facing KM is in three strains, current awareness, client training & seminars, and KM consulting,

Freshfields produced about 150 Client bulletins. They also put out newsletters, extranets, and online services. Clients really care about format, and try to tailor information to show how it affects a client's particular needs. Some sites like "FSnet" provide financial services information. Some clients have encouraged Freshfields to work collaboratively with other firms (example: banks) in a "BLT."

Freshfields will do tailored training for business and legal teams. First, the relationship partner needs to ask the client what they want.

Clients with large KM teams or legal departments are also looking for help with their own KM.
  • Secondments,
  • Strategic consultancy,
  • Tools & processes (as by having a KM attorney audit), and
  • Technology and systems.
To measure value, they record the time spent on KM activities (without billing). They openly discuss client feedback.

Freshfields has tried to bring in KMLs into U.S. offices but client expectations have dampened that effort.

ILTA Conference First Post--"KM 1:" The Alignment of Information Management, Knowledge Management and Records Management

I'm in Orlando at the International Legal Technology Association annual conference, by far the largest group of peers & near-peers that I've attended. Past KM conferences have had on the order of 50 to 125 or so attendees. This one has 1300 professional attendees and 1200 vendors to boot.

Topic: Alignment of IM, KM, and RM

Catherine Monte is the moderator. She is the Vice President of the ILTA KM Peer Group and the Chief Knowledge Office at Fox Rothschild in Philadephia.

I am a big fan of Sally Gonzalez and attended this session over the one about intro to Web 2.0 because she was a presenter. She's at Navigant Consulting. She showed a "drawn & quartered" slide showing information getting pulled in four different directions by discovery preparedness, compliance, operational effectiveness, and knowlege sharing. Where records management, KM, and IT information management are taken as separate initiatives, these requirements may lead to oppositional forces.

She also showed a flow chart for decision-making and business processes in the Records, KM, and Electronic Information areas. The key determinations are: a) is the info a business record?, b) does it have business value? and c) does it have KM value? and d) when should it be deleted or stored?

She exhorted us to find ways to organize information within organization that leave you operationally effective, compliance-ready, and have your knowledge managed.
The most difficult area is in records without business value. The key is to classify and store for shortest possible period.

An app called "Odyessey" classifies records without user intervention. They found that 25-40% of email has no business value.

John Szekeres, ("Seh-keh-resh")*, Director of KM-Business Systems at Cleary Gottlieb presented on his records management initiative. Cleary was locked out of its offices for 3 months after 9/11 and couldn't get to its paper records. So that wouldn't happen again, they developed Virtual File Room or "VFR." More & more information is going around in email attachment. Secretaries used to make a copy of all correspondence for chron file and another for the records department. Now people are less & less diligent about filing.

The VFR system requires attorney or paralegals to check a radio button to choose whether or not to put the email in VFR, and asks for client/matter number if it is going in; staff can separately categorize attachments. After the first week, they got calls such as "you ruined my life". Calls died down after a week or so however.** A watermark was added to each email to show others that email has been filed.

Retrieval of info out of VFR has been difficult. Interwoven tools have not been "as refined as they needed to be." Using Recommind to search all of Worksite repositories--each office has own, each matter owned by an office. (sure would be nice). KM helped "fashion the solution."

Records Dept. reviews each document sent to VFR to make sure they are properly titled, named, categorized. Now 400,000 documents behind. Reccomind has automatic categorization. Did bakeoff between reccomind and records people categorization--Reccomind categorization was very good, higher level of consistency than records people.

IT built VFR. KM & Records built VFR records structure. KM provided holistic perspective on all types of database.

Peter Krakaur is the CKO at Orrick; previously, he spent four years as a practicing attorney, then started his own internet company. He's been at Orrick for five years, and also writes on "pseudo-ethics" of internet use & technology. His KM program has three focuses: 1) work product 2) practice--what do we know about matters & clients, 3) people, who knows whom, including judges, appearances.

The panel spent most of its time addressing three questions.

1) What are the competing interests between KM, IT, and RM?

IT: prioritizes operational effectiveness. How can I back it up? How can I reduce the volume of email? How can I get Exchange to work? How can I implement a litigation hold consistently and effectively?

KM: Knowledge Management wants to retain as much information and documents as possible, definitely first and last versions, maybe more; KM wants to integrate records retention with KM classifications; KM wants sustainable useable system, or"How can you find it?" KM has shifted from document-level to attributing information to matters. KM may classify a document one way because of a high-level metadata need, while records is taking another way. Goal is to have same classification scheme in Worksite as in records system. Sally Gonzalez noted that KM may want to redact/sanitize records for classification. John Szekeres addressed how removal of a document from its deal or case context removes much of the value of records storage.

RM: wants to make sure files are organized, document retention policies are adhered to, documents get deleted at the right time in many different stores, whether DMS, hard copies, CD, or blackberry.

Do you make lawyers records managers?

Q2--What is happening at firms that is affecting the relationship between these groups?

  • Growth/office changes

  • Practice group changes--leadership may not recognize extent of business changes needed to external web site, mailing lists, records classifications;

  • more documents coming into system, greater need for documents to be organized so that they can be find--records no longer an effective way of making documents findable.

  • SG--challenge for IT is to control, identify flow of information across the organization---should IT have the responsibility / take on the burden to dialogue with business constituencies, facilitate discussions

  • development of extranets, client-facing KM systems pose challenges--how do records processes get handled in the context of those sites--adapting internal process to external informaiton coming in.

  • SG reports that some NY firms' clients are cooperating with investigations, waiving privilege, and being asked to produce all emails with client in 24 hours.

  • Can firms set up information systems to comply with clients' records policies? Should this affect engagement letters? Can client determine what happens with its records in terms of a records retention policy?

  • JS--European privacy directive--governs what information can and can't flow between offices. Are some things not supposed to come to US?

Q3 How can KM help RM or IM?

--KM team can be collaborators, part of the group struggling to keep people aware of what's happening. KM can foster communication and collaboration by running changes by people in other groups.
--Opening up matters under "general" numbers destroy ability to track matters
--Don't assume your issue is just an IT, RM, or KM issue--could be more than one.
--e.g., backup of Worksite libraries not just IT, impacted KM, West KM "crawling" by KM started to impact performance / IT.

Two fronts to push:
1) Classification & operational action, business rules driven by new technologies, such as autocategorizing.
2) Search & navigation--enterprise search can deliver autocategorization also.

*John's name is spelled correctly, but I apparently mucked up the phonetics on this Hungarian name. Corrected version above.
**Additional follow-up per JS, 10/3/08

Friday, August 10, 2007

Geographic representation of legal information

In Dennis Crouch's "Patently O" blog, I came across another interesting map that marries legal content (in this case, openings for patent jobs) with Google maps. It's the Google Patent Map.

A job search is a natural fit with a large-scale map. Most people are going to be quite limited in where they could possibly be interested in working, yet, some people, particularly in hard times or at the start of a career, are quite flexible. A zoomable map like this accomodates both types of job seekers. The flags here provide fairly minimal information about the opening, but do provide a link to fuller information.