Friday, August 27, 2010

Social Media At ILTA: Sharing and Collaboration Explodes at Conference

Four years ago, Kevin O’Keefe contrasted the social media activity that had already become prevalent at most technology conferences with the relative lack of such activity at the International Legal Technology Association conference. He noted some improvement in 2008, and in past years only a few sessions mentioned either social media or secure collaborative software.

This year ILTA conference saw an outpouring of social media activity in many different channels. Social media tools were embraced by the association itself, by conference co-chairs, by vendors, and by peer attendees.

There is still room for increased adoption and smart use of these channels (such as a more friendly and effective pre-conference wiki platform), but I believe that the benefits of social media to people who attended or who followed from afar were great, and that the refindability and reusability of all this content will continue to benefit ILTA members and the legal technology industry.

An earlier version of this post made invisible all but the Twitter section of this post, due to formatting errors.

Tweeting In The Halls

Perhaps the most visible change from previous years was the formalization and much broader extent of Twitter use. It was professional, not personal I’m-eating-a-sandwich tweeting. In addition to the #ilta10 conference hashtag, each session had a formally identified short and useful hash tag such as #km2; in some sessions as many as four or five people were highlighting and sharing key thoughts through twitter.

Legalerswelcom used What the Hashtag to graphically show the tweeting by day; each day with educational sessions had over 700 tweets, and there were over 3,000 for the week. I reproduce a picture of it here, because the WTH service shows the previous five-day’s tweets and the week's view will not be available soon.
And this was despite the regrettable absence of Jenn Steele, one of the twitter champions of previous conferences.

While it is essentially impossible—despite Mary Abraham’s impressive wireless keyboard-and-iPad combination—to capture as much content through tweeting as one can while live-blogging, tweets were nevertheless adequate to get a sense of the session, and to identify many of the key takeaways. Session tweeting also allowed people running late to find out which ongoing sessions had good content matching their interests. It also in many instances led to interaction between tweeters, or amplification by “retweet” by conference attendees or even those overseas of especially interesting comments or developments such as Peter Krakauer’s description of the KIIAC semi-automated agreement assessment tool.

Vendors did tweet about events and offerings, and there were some fun twitter-based giveaways / contests, but as you can tell from the “top 10 tweeters” list from WTH, above, there was not vendor abuse of the conference hashtag in any serious way.* Certainly the two on the vendor/consultant front on the "top 10 list," Legalerswelcome and InsideLegal, were adding rather than taking away value from the online conversation. I hope that such an approach will continue.

Twitter generated face-to-face social interactions as well as on-line activity. There was an initial, formal tweetup on Sunday, and a less formal but also fun “#tweetup2” on Tuesday organized by conference attendees rather than the conference itself.

Sessions About Social Media Or Enterprise 2.0

On the educational side, a dozen sessions covered social media and collaboration topics including:

Day 1, August 23
  • Social Media Policy Development by Julia Montgomery and Karen Sheehan.
Day 2, August 24

  • The Cloud and Law2020: Where Megatrends and Vision Collide, Super Session, Tom Kolopopulous
  • SharePoint 2010 for LegalServices, Julie Kremer, Microsoft
  • Transparency: Beyond the Extranet, featuring Deborah McMurray of Content Pilot LLC, Jon Parish of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Julie Kremer of Microsoft, and Steve McHargue of Project Leadership
  • Smarsh Social Networking Compliance Solution, Stephen Marsh and Sam Kolbert-Hyle of Smarsh (vendor session)
Day 3, August 25
  • Improve Information Flow With Enterprise 2.0, Paul Domnick of Freshfields Bruckhaus and Mary Abraham
  • Managing Information Overload Through Personal Knowledge Management, Mike McBride and Sean Brady
  • Failure Leads to Success in Enterprise 2.0 Adoption
  • Meaningful Metrics to Quantify ROI for KM and Enterprise 2.0 Deployments, LTC Charlotte Herring and Clark Cording, Orrick
Day 4, August 26
  • How KM Supports Alternative Fee Arrangements
  • Open Text Social Workplace (vendor session)
  • Uniting Project Teams with Collaboration Sites

Live blogging was made feasible, after Monday, by the generally high-quality wi-fi at the Aria resort. The conference organizers were refreshingly up front about the problems before Monday evening. Conference setup included “Click Zones” that were really designed to limit typers to a certain part of the room (understandable due to the tapping), rather than provide power. I eventually learned to simply open up a side panel in the session rooms, but it would have been better (and safer) to have power strips with taped-down extension cords available in “Click Zone.”

In addition to these other Caselines posts, the following are some of the blog posts covering the conference:
Mike McBride has collected a number of conference posts at his Delicious account. I haven't tried to be comprehensive here--comments and additions welcome, of course. And the fact that it wouldn't be easy to be comprehensive is telling.

Videos and Podcasts

Vendors and consultants are leading the way in integrating video and audio content into conference.

Legal consultants ii3 professionally produced and made available hours and hours of high-quality video known as "ILTA TV," with chats hosted by Shy Alter. Day 2 for instance featured an interview with a visiting general, along with a discussion on KM supporting legal administrative departments with knowledge management attorneys Mara Nickerson, Rachelle Renegal, and a certain bass-voiced litigation knowledge manager (at about 120 minutes in).

Over at Legal IT Professionals, Christy Burke had a number of podcast interviews with a variety of vendors and peers broken down into Days 1, 2, and 3.

Kevin Hunt of Thomson Reuters also made a number of other podcasts, including a video interview of conference co-chair Meredith Williams; the post includes a link to interviews with Patrick DiDominico, Craig Ball, and yours truly.

I also made my first podcasts, releasing by Cinch ( a podcast about the initial tweetup and another short one about showing pictures of faces in Outlook and elsewhere based on a conversation with Mr. Alter. Cinch is a really easy way to record and share short audio recordings on the iPhone or over the internet.

*occasional exception aside.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ILTA Day 4--Using Business Process Management to Increase Matter Efficiency

Session Materials

Formal Description:

"Managing individual matters is where firms can realize the biggest efficiency and cost gains. For firms that are serious about efficiency and alternative fee arrangements, this session will discuss the strategic application of principles from the fields of business process management and project management and highlight firms that have put these principles to work. While law schools may not have project management or business process classes, lawyers can still learn from experts in these fields."

For tweets see #info15.

Monroe M. Horn ("Monty")- CIO, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP, Boston IP boutique
Angel Garcia-Manso - Goodwin Procter LLP
Bill Decker - Hubbard One, a Thomson Reuters Business
Toby Brown - Fulbright & Jaworski

Disclosure; Angel is my colleague at Goodwin Procter. I know Monty personally, he's an outstanding tenor! Also, these are my unedited notes (live-blogged).

BPM in an IP Boutique

Monty started. Why BPM? Technology benefits come from integration and automation rather than new "killer apps." They determined it would be best to have apps that exactly met their needs. Most users are suffering from information (email) overload. Very often business processes involve sending and acting on email. Yet users often don't have the information they need to act on when they need it (this sounds like a KM problem to me!).

They chose to automate a client-facing business process, IP docketing. They rolled out in Beta using live data (in parallel). They've applied for a patent and are working with a vendor to commercialize it.

Key elements of successful automation are:

1. Filling in "white space" between application without changing the way people are working.

2. Provide rich user interfaces, especially to attorneys and paralegals. They are not tolerant of things acting clunky and not following Windows protocols. Usually BPM applications don't have to have that level of user interface.

3. Allowing users to organize and prioritize the work and tasks is really important. For instance, break out attorney's work by stage, by whether they are directly responsible or supervising, and so forth. Add "flagging" that people can leverage as they see fit [I'd advocate for tagging by keyword!]

4. Supervisory capacities need to be baked in.

5. Try to give them the information they need when they need it.

Bill Decker

He spent the last five years doing project management at a large law firm and is now at Hubbard One / Thomson Reuters. How can PM techniques assist attorneys with fixed fee arrangements?

Project has four (or five) phases. Project Initiation is for understanding what your goals are. Project planning is the most important piece. Identify (and document) the processes needed to establish the scope and the objectives. Project Execution (lumped in with Project Monitoring), then Project Closure, where you show that you did what you set out to do.

Communication is the key success factor. Poor communication is the primary reason why projects fail.

Traditional projects are similar to a legal matter in that they have definite ends and goals.

Attorneys do not accept that a legal engagement is unsuccessful if not completed within a reasonable time and under budget. Their goal is to win.

Project management and continual planning will prevent clients from being surprised by the last bill.

With AFAs you need to build models based on previous experience. Bill mentions that ABA codes as a possible source for matter planning. He notes that "CodeSense" has loaded the ABA codes into SharePoint to track status against different parts of the tasks.

AFAs at Fullbright & Jaworski

Toby Brown of Three Geeks and a Law is the alternative fee person at Fullbright & Jaworski.

He described the approval process for AFAs at his firm.

The first step is a "pre-approval" processes where partners seek information and have a dialog. Partners want to know what form of fee to use and how much to charge. Every RFP crosses his desk, needing AFA content.

The second step is the lawyer's preparation of an actual AFA proposal. They seek information about the client (e.g., financial information), the type of arrangements (looking at type, amount, metrics, and probabilities), and value (allowing lawyers to provide more context).

The third step is AFA analysis. Evaluating the margin of a particular billing partner is key. Partners will run the same type of margins. He will compare similar proposals. Toby is using Redwood analytics. Small changes in the leverage can have large variations in margin.

Fourth, a small group of partners approve the AFA. They talk with Toby about the matter.

Fifth, it gets set up as an AFA matter.

Sixth, the budget gets entered into a tracking system. There still needs to be a system for tracking progress against budget (?).

Seventh, monitor budget against performance. Send monthly and quarterly variance reports.

Eighth, report back on closed matters to the AFA system.

Budgeting and other Projects at Goodwin Procter

Angel counted nine sessions at ILTA addressing Alternative Financial Arrangements (AFAs.) Goodwin decided that doing budgeting would be an important step in addressing AFAs. They asked practice managers to talk to partners and break work they do in phases and tasks. They continue reviewing phases and tasks and improving the 70 matter templates.

The Goodwin budgeting system integrates with Aderant and the time-entry system. Goodwin will also be integrating with SharePoint and Goodwin's Matter Pages system.

(Disclosure: I have been a part of the AFA work at Goodwin).

The iStaff project is another example. Goodwin staffing managers help find partners the best associate for a given project. Each staffing manager was dealing with 40-60 associates and had to learn their experience and professional development needs, and wanted to match that with the jobs. They automated the collection of information from associates about their needs and busyness. It pulls in information from Expert, the HR systems, partners' input about what they need, and associate workload reports. The new system increased compliance (associate reports) 70%.

Another example is the IP Practice System. They interviewed attorneys over 10 months to identify process mapping. They identified inconsistent operations across offices. They built a couple of tools that helped people delegate work. They integrated all the different sources of information. It pulled in matter-centric iManage folders where they had scanned and filed the paper records. The case information can be forwarded to other attorneys. It also links to the PTO file and the Matter Pages system.

Partners reported that what used to take them 10 minutes now takes 10 seconds.


How did they get buy-in? Monty said they have a small shop; the firm decided to change the way it worked; and the paralegals liked it because they could prove they had provided the file(s).

Angel said that adoption depends on the sponsors. Demand for iStaff came from the directors in the firm and was heavily promoted by the staffing managers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ILTA Day 3: Email Management Using iManage

This was an interesting session devoted to email management success stories with firms using iManage. It highlighted three examples from different size firms.

Small Firm

Maritta Terrell is in a small firm in Austin, TX, about 85 users. [She is very engaging and I bet is a great trainer!] Some partners who had serious pain around Outlook performance and email folders led to implementation of a DMS. They now have 8.5 and set up MCC. Test test and re-test was key.

The Outlook speed problem led to some ideas. They had a contest with 1st and 2nd prizes. Secretarial help really shrunk Inboxes. "Stump the IT team" contest. Both approaches leveraged lawyer's competitive.

Training courses included:

  • How to clean up inbox
  • Preclass videos on intranet
  • Regular classroom classes
  • Email management

They also had "Room Service" classes--they put out a training menu like a hotel, they could ask trainers to come to them, even after hours "so no-one else would know."

They also sent around a poster with three points. You must file client email in a client/matter folder, administrative email in an admin folder, and everything else (is deleted or) stored in a personal folder.

Success measurement--email boxes reduced by 19%, may go to another 5% lower.

Mid-Size Firm

Fernando Monteleone ("Monty") works for Robinson & Cole.

Moved from DocsOpen in an April to September timeframe. They have a retention policy, all inbound messages filed or deleted within 60 days.

They chose to disallow flat filing (everything in a workspace). Send / Received dates are preserved in filing. The author in the DMS is that of the email author, not the filer. They created personal workspaces automatically.

Tried to keep folder design simple, about eight categories for litigation and another eight for business matters.

Their customization included a tool to reclassify matters, and run integrity checks. A utility created a project workspace with members listed and documents.

They went live over Labor Day Weekend, got to 8.5 by February. Filing 2500-5000 emails a day, half a million since the beginning of the year. Association of an email folder with a workspace in iManage was the largest method of filing.

Foley & Lardner

Dana Moore is the "Records & Information Compliance Manager."

Email became a risk management issue. Exchange servers were bursting at the seams. Under their RM policy, the electronic version of the email is the official version. They realized email needed to be part of the matter. It allowed document holds, litigation discovery, and file transfers to go smoothly.

They set up an ERM Validation Committee and a pilot group. 10% of the attorneys wanted to participate. They set up a communication plan from the top down. They were moving operations offsite.
They created an "Email Archive Repository." It's a DMS repository that only a few have access to. [Not great from a KM perspective].

F & L had a long implementation period. First communications in June 2007 were around "how much email can you delete?" Did lots of deleting for $50 gift cards.

Email really locked down--old email had to be retrieved through records managers, who kept it out of Outlook.

Filing is now a requirement--all in Inbox or Sent over 180 days deleted. The Delete box is on a seven day aged, with a 2 GB size limit. They do not delete from sub-folders.

There was a lot of bulk filing without classification, into their general personal numbers. It was still refindable even through others couldn't. People didn't follow folder naming conventions. There was some refusal and denial. Training was not required. She thinks mandatory training may not be impossible.

Have filed 27 million emails since 2007. All servers are centralized. Filing is a way of life for most.


Some attorneys at Maritta's firm who can barely work with Word file email. Such attorneys had another set up the email filing links.

At Foley, going to the 180 day rule really helped adoption. The most appreciation is coming from the professional responsibility partners and the people looking for email as a result of litigation involving the firm.

They all analyzed how everyone managed their emails and adopted email filing to that behavior. They had to understand how many attorneys worked remotely.

ILTA Day 3: Metrics and ROI for Enterprise 2.0

This was an interesting session that addressed metrics not just for Enterprise 2.0 but for knowledge management and technology projects.

Formal Description:

"Proving return on investment is every bit as difficult for Enterprise 2.0 projects as it is for KM projects generally. Since we tend to get what we measure, what should we measure and how can we report the results in a fair and meaningful way? In this session, we’ll examine the basics of metrics, how to measure productivity rather than busy-ness, how to measure engagement, velocity and impact of information flows, and other ways to meaningfully mine data."

Session Materials


Clark R. Cordner - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Charlotte Herring - Chief, Information Technology Division and Deputy Chief Information Officer, The US Judge Advocate General's ("JAG") Corps

Moderated by V. Mary Abraham

Lisa Denissen and Steven Levy both helped out with the presentation.

What Are Metrics

Clark introduced metrics as a way to "measure progress and demonstrate how your project advances firm strategy."

In terms of formal project management language, Steven Levy appeared by video, with permission. He used the example of the Soviet screw factory that makes giant screws no one wants because it is assessed by how much material it spends. It's an input metric not an output metric.

Substitute metrics don't measure exactly what you want. What you want and such metrics often diverge significantly.

A good client metric is the likelihood of reuse of your firm. Repurchase intent is not a substitute metric; client satisfaction is.

The question is what the correlation between the output and the objective.

Some things are very hard to quantify, and you may need to quantify using satisfaction surveys.

Mary said that too often KM practitioners consider metrics too squishy and fail to push the analysis and identify all the things that we could actually track.

Clark recommends the blog Adam Smith, Esq. who talks a lot about metrics. You have to be thoughtful about what you spend your time measuring and communicating. A metric is like a lens. It's like the optician who asks if a given lens is better or worse (*flick*), better or worse (*flick*).

Have clear objectives and ensure your effort advances those objectives. Measure the factor most likely to strongly correlate with "success." If your success is shorter cycle time on a document, then you measure that.

Business Pain Points

LTC Charlotte Herring says that the only way to have a successful KM program is to talk to lots of people in your organization. What are the pains? It's going to vary between the senior partner, the junior associate, the secretary, or the finance administrator. Come up with tools to focus on those pains. Then implement them.

The JAG Corps has had 650 attorneys deployed as a result of the Iraq / Afghanistan wars. They sometimes don't have internet access and can't always rely on technology. KM is not just technology. Some metrics have nothing to do with numbers. KM can consist of two people talking.

What denotes health and sickness? In a firm, it might be profit margin. The JAG does not track time and doesn't care about money.

Verifying Metrics

Consult with friendly people who can tell you if your metrics might make sense to your stakeholders.

Dangers with Metrics

You are only as credible as your metrics are reliable. Unconscious biases may lead you to emphasize the wrong thing. Be willing to acknowledge alternative interpretations. Numbers can be quite dangerous.

Practical Examples

1. JAG's Automated Trial Process

For the JAG Corps, criminal work is a statutory obligation. The JAGC Military Justice Online was a web-based enterprise application for military justice from investigation to post-trial.

She started developing this new application in 2007. Everyone moves every 2 or 3 years. Each move led to a a different set of rules since practices varied. The system was designed to establish one system across the JAG Corps.

Stakeholders were very broad. The client is the institution of the US Army. A particular commander is not the client.

The commander needs information sufficient to deal with the soldier. Congress wants to know numbers of offenses and convictions. The JAG Corps wants to track how the system is working.

They succeeded in lessening time it took to process a charge. Efficient JAG procedures are more just ("justice delayed is justice denied"). Quicker processing reduces error.

[It was really great to hear the JAG Corp perspective, so different from a firm litigator perspective yet still with the same client service and zealous advocacy orientation. I wonder if big firm pro bono work could benefit from analysis of comparable metrics].

2. Portal / Intranet Rollout Metrics

Most of the audience had some sense of how to analyze success of a portal. Typical metrics on the slide and/or raised by the audience included page visits, clicks on content, reduction in certain types of RFI emails, frequency of visits, number of unique visitors, and so forth.

Measurement of an Activity Stream (such as internal twitter, Yammer, Google Reader, or RSS feed system) is more exotic. One can measure Activity Streams by the number of users. You can also measure penetration to managers and other members of the firm heirarchy. You could also look at whether it is "flattening" the heirarchy. Could track virality, or usage over time. Demographics of adoption also matter. One could also measure the pace of conversations and the type of communication (social or professional). How does it stack up to email?

I suggested that you might measure success by the number of links sent. One can also track time of usage. Often people will send links during commuting time as part of the transition to home life. (I've found that I often tweet during commutes).

Clark also spoke briefly about metrics for Orrick's Public Finance's "Online Closing System." I did not catch the substance of it. If someone would comment...

3. Rice Metrics

Finally Mary raised a "bowl of rice" metaphor for thinking about metrics. It's easy to quantify a bowl or sack of rice in terms of the number of grains or the weight. It's more useful perhaps to think about the value of someone getting a meal, or the value that person fed can add as a result of being fed for however long.

Enterprise 2.0 Session--Improve Information Flow

Formal Description:

"Enterprise 2.0 can help solve inefficiencies caused by the inability to locate accurate information. This session will discuss why a great search engine is not enough, and which data repositories need to be available to the enterprise search engine to ensure transparency, how to reduce information silos and redundant, contradictory, or inaccurate data, and how activity streams can enhance retrieval and access to more unstructured knowledge."

Paul Domnick, CIO, Freshfields Bruckhuase Deringer LLP
Jessica Shawl, Operations & Program Manager, Intel

Moderated by V. Mary Abraham (twitter) of Debevoise & Plimpton. Session Materials.

Missing was Sandy Owen, Operations Director, due to a work conflict. These are my unedited notes of a discussion of significant advances in Enterprise 2.0 activity and capability, particularly at Freshfields.

Mary introduced the session. "Time wasted searching for information"--50% of time devoted to information work. Working with greater transparency makes it easier to find information about others' work.

Three ways of getting to "Las Vegas."

1. "Straight Route" of enterprise solutions:

Social Stack (Headshift) includes personal km tools, group collaboration, blogs & networks, bookmarks & tags, and public feeds & flows.

2. Intel Route

Focused on personal content & solutions. They started developing a lot of point solutions to meet individual content management needs. Some pockets of collaboration & sharing started. Initially a "KnowledgeBase" linked to documents on shared drives. They eventually had developed 60-70 applications. Finally they brought in a document management system and

Intel has a corporate-wide wiki as well as a legal department wiki. They use IM a *lot*. Systems needed to "talk" to each other. They developed matter management, ebilling, DMS, and MOSS (Sharepoint 2007).

DMS was first, but was very slow. Litigation group didn't like the DMS, so they got another one [It makes sense that a company like Intel has all that amazing IT resources to do all this wheel-spinning!].

They set up a wiki to allow easier authoring. Finally they are creating a portal with information feeds.

Laying the foundation (slides)
Rethink offerings
Integrate solutions

Federated searching, portal,

One problem was a failure to update content on the static web sites. They made it easier for people to self-serve and update content. They added wikis and DMS. Because everyone is an author,

Intel used a "web jam," a place where people could go in and post an answer to a question, to determine directions to go with transparency. "How can we be more efficient"? It's like a message board, people can post additional ideas or comment on others thoughts. There was a time limit for contributions (two weeks). It was a great way to gather lots of ideas.

There is strong use of IM. It's especially helpful in negotiations where you want to share with a colleague.

Internal networking tools are used for blogs and internal profile pages in a Facebook style. There are forums on project management, legal topics, work-life balance, and so forth.

They are piloting a federated enterprise search. They have taken a more organized approach to wikis, for instance, with "playbooks" on the wiki outlining negotiation strategies for different situations. They have some automated contract-management systems.

They use "Flip" videos to record a "day in the life" of an attorney. They used them to evaluate work processes and to figure out how to make them more efficient.

They have corporate-wide blogging (from legal department?)

Lessons Learned

If you go too far out of people's normal business processes, they won't use it. If you have to train people on it, they won't use it.

Understand how people work at home and try to provide similar capabilities. Can you search from one place in the same fashion as Google)

People are using Facebook, Twitter, IM, texting externally. Why not use them inside?

Focus on finding content rather than enforcing rules of content creation.

They are also finding enterprise (federated) search extremely important.

Sometimes having technology available is not enough. You may have to talk to people 3 times to get what you want.

Leverage early adopters. When 16% of the population accepts your idea, it becomes unstoppable. Pulling people along instead of pushing people to use is much easier.

This worked great for wikis. One gung-ho attorney loved it and brought other people along with them [this has been my experience also]. Became unstoppable.

People finally saw the value of enterprise search.

3. Freshfields Route

They had some great successes with pressing needs, as met by two initial Enterprise 2.0 projects. Later projects have had more patchy success.

First, nobody liked their intranet but nobody knew what it should be. They no longer have a portal. They completely replaced it with a wiki (Atlassian's Confluence). All 6000 employees can post content.

Second, they created an alumni network for their 27,000 alumni. They created a social collaboration site with SelectMinds [I believe SelectMinds is also a vendor for my firm].

In three weeks they had 400 users of micro-blogging tool Yammer. People agreed to use it for three months every day. It now has a complete life of its own and the constant input is not necessary.

People found the wiki fairly hard to navigate. They created a Google-like search that links to wikis. Widgets related to specific clients, industries, or Freshfields attorneys can be dropped into the wiki. Their site map is now created dynamically.

People want push as well as browse. Information will be pushed to people's profile pages. People won't tell you how they actually use the social tools. People are on average very precise about where they go to get information.

A million page impressions a day on the wiki. Get from the needs to the wants by analyzing what people actually do.

They are now working on an external collaboration site with high design level based on Jive. Involve people in firms' "CSR Agenda" (?).

Structured information--opening a matter leads to creation of a wiki pages, feed of news from client web site, fee deal description, and documents.

Enterprise search is critical because the machine can't handle all of the matter related tool, but it can pull in information in federated way from inside and outside the firm.

The 20/80 rule instead of 80/20. Listening to what people want and knowing

If we can get something up & running and 20% of people adopt it, the risk is that it will get out of control rather than that it won't be adopted.

Match available tools to needs rather than waiting for the perfect solution.

You feel like a bit of a fraud talking about this because there is so much more that could be done. But don't go down the "exactly what we need" rabbit-hole. It works if you can explain to people the vision.

None of these tools completely replace earlier ways of doing things.

Three pillars of transparency are collaboration, mobility

They made their wikis work on Blackberries and iPads. Instead of Twitter this week has has been updating his wiki and then posting to Yammer on his iPad.

Cautions (from Intel and Freshfields)

You may have to fight bureaucracy. Everyone wants to have a say in how things are implemented. In can bog things down.

People may not want to wait for a strategy because of immediate needs. That's OK.

Giant strategy that will take three years might get side-stepped by home-grown solutions.

Expediting adoption might require close support.

It can be hard to get the business case right; that can be an iterative process.

Paul--beware of users who want new toys. People want Skype, but there are some complicated reasons why that's not a good idea.

A lot of Enterprise 2.0 tools aren't quite as friendly as consumer tools. They have more functionality and control. You might have to compromise and steamroller out some things you don't need.

Mobility experience is challenging. The vendor might not have thought through how something might work via mobile. E.g., Blackberry requires sign-on every 24 hours.

An audience member was using SharePoint and Confluence for communities. Also developed "Grapevine" for micro-blogging. He suggested that people are put off by techie aspect of Confluence.

Paul said that it is a blank slate. But they have a lot of macros that let you do things like tagging, news article creation, follow page, and so forth.

Yammer is used firm-wide for "do we do X" and "have you seen this article" posts. The KM community uses it for workflow.

AFAs and the New Billing Models--First Regular Session at ILTA

I attended Dan O'Day's session on alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) on Monday morning. Dan is a Thomson Reuters employee, but his session was devoid of product-pitching and served as a useful overview of AFAs, including a useful analysis of the key characteristics of all of the major varieties.

Almost half of the audience was in IT, the other half was in finance (I was in the small minority not in either camp).

Twenty Years of AFAs

Dan turned back to the DuPont Legal Model (c. 1992) for background on the development of modern AFAs. DuPont wanted to have fewer firms working for it, with closer partnerships with the fewer firms, all tracked by metrics around spend, diversity, and IT. The goal was to cut costs, increase the productivity of the outside legal work, and provide easier access (from DuPont's perspective) to legal work.

As has been noted elsewhere, different AFAs address different client concerns, and have different risks for firms in terms of cost overruns, shared outcome risk, predictability of fee amount, and so forth. Dan pointed to a 2002 presentation developed for the Legal Marketing Association (.pdf, see p. 7) and its chart ranking AFAs by frequency and noting the various key characteristics of the different types.

The rarest AFA, which I was less familiar with, is "Value-Based" or "Retrospective Based On Value" billing. In this model the firm is compensated based on the value of the services to the client. Dan's first example was a firm that raises funding in Europe based on a law firm's relationships with capital sources. A firm might negotiate that it should obtain 1% of the that funding so raised. Or, a firm might provide a 25% bonus to a litigation matter's billings if the law firm is able to prevent the firm CFO's deposition. It truly aligns the firm's needs with the client's needs, but it remains the rarest in part because they are hard to negotiate.

Moving to AFAs

Dan, a lawyer himself, noted that one challenge to moving to and budgeting for AFAs is lawyer's characteristics. A study (?) indicated that unhappy people make good lawyers, and he suggested that lawyers as a whole are more critical and negative than the population as a whole. They are paid to figure out (and try to prevent) what might go wrong in a given business situation or litigation.

Dan suggested that expanding the extent of AFAs at a firm requires a great deal of analysis and preparation.

As to existing AFAs,

  • How many are there?
  • What percent of business do they represent?
  • How profitable are they?
  • Are there any patterns as to the frequency by practice area, jurisdiction, billing partner of particular types of AFAs?

Preparing to work in a manner focused on efficiency is challenging, and is a task made more challenging by lawyer's critical managing style noted earlier.

The business process structures and strategy required to handle AFAs are quite different from those needed to support only billable hour work. To use a casino analogy, what are the table limits?

  • Should the firm say that no fixed fee agreements will be allowed for 7-figure of 1,000 hour potential matters?
  • Should the firm exercise tight process and setup control over even the smallest matters?
  • How will matters be monitored?
  • How will attorneys be held responsible for cost overruns?
  • When in the course of a year is the profitability of unusual AFAs assessed?
  • More generally, what is the governance of AFAs? Dan recommended that the model of "permission not forgiveness" be adopted.

Marketing and AFAs

One audience member was a marketing professional who is jointly responsible with finance for addressing AFAs at her firm. She suggested that that is because in her role, she is highly aware of client requirements and needs, and because pricing can be a key part of marketing strategy.

Dan's session was at a fairly introductory level, but it was still quite useful because he was able to raise, if not answer, so many key considerations for AFA implementation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

ILTA Keynote--Jason Jennings on Values of the Best Companies

The keynote session opened with a slick montage, a palindromic flow of phrases that was pessimistic going forward but optimistic (for legal technologists) going backwards.

Randy Mayes and then Meredith Williams and Maureen Babcock kicked off the formal sessions at ILTA.

The theme is "Strategic Unity"--aligning legal practice and technology, and bringing together lawyers and IT to meet the new challenges of this economy. Connectivity is the most valuable return from conference. We should return with "ideas, answers, and connections."

Jason Jennings was the keynote speaker. He described the "five traits shared by the world’s most successful people and businesses to embrace change, get everyone on the same page and make things happen." While his presentation had some consultant-speak, he also touched on aligning personal ethics and the business work we do in a way that ultimately was quite effective.

He asks three questions of most people he interviews:

1. Story of Your Firm
2. Your story (home town, family, etc.)
3. What is keeping you awake at night? What could keep your organization from succeeding?

Key problems consistently uncovered by his interviews with ILTA people are:
  • Getting people on the same page
  • Changing practices
  • Downward Pricing pressure
  • Getting faster
  • Coping with sheer volume of data
His first book addressed, what makes a company fast? His second, what makes a company productive? His third, what makes companies grow year after year after year. They've also looked at CEOs and screened in total more than 120,000 companies.

World's best organizations include:

  • Ikea
  • Smucker's
  • Office Depot
  • Koch Industries
  • Newcorp Steel

He said that these "best" (by the metrics) companies shared five key attributes.

  • Everyone Shares a Common Noble Purpose
  • Letting Go
  • Everyone Knows Strategy
  • Think & Act Like an Owner
  • Led by Stewards

Noble Purpose

What it is

It is not a "mission statement" or "vision statement." It is big and bold like Microsoft's "put a computer with Microsoft operating system on every desk in the world."
It is inclusive. It is a *non-financial* reason for doing what you do. Steve Knight of Nike got mad at him for asking what it was like to be worth $5 billion when it was all about "competing, winning and being better than anybody else."

It fixes what's wrong, like Walmart's credo of "getting average people to buy the same things as rich people."

It gives meaning to people's lives.


Provides direction, fuels passion, drives momentum

2. Letting Go

Most organizations Cannot Let Go Of:

  • Yesterday’s breadwinners
  • Ego
  • Same-old, same-old
  • Conventional Wisdom

The best example he gave was Jack Welch and GE Capital’s decisions to continue to pour $2 billion into Montgomery Ward seeking to protect their initial investment of $100 million.


Organizations that can let go are better able to deal with change. They are more focused than their rivals and find it easier to innovate.

3. Everyone Knows Strategy

At Smuckers, all vendors and new employees spend a few weeks learning strategy of the organization. There's a book outlining what it is every year that they willingly share with all of these stakeholders and (apparently) with their competitors.


If people don’t know the strategy, they don’t know why they are coming to work and won’t get emotionally attached. There is no accountability under a regime of secret strategies.

4. Think & Act Like an Owner

Jennings spent four days talking to people at Koch Industries, then a last day with Charles Koch. Koch claimed that his company was superior because everyone there (99.9%) felt and acted like an owner of the business.

People want to improve, get better, and get "scores." People will act more like owners if they know how what they do create economic value, and are rewarded based on the economic value they create. (There was an unfortunate lack of concrete examples of how one can get a company to act like a Koch Industries--an evidently extremely rare alignment of the perceived needs of the people who work there and the needs of the business).

5. Led by Stewards

The best leaders in business see their role as being good stewards.

Stewardship values service over short-term self-interest. Does not embrace power over others. It preserves natural and human resources. It is nurturing and supportive.

Stewards share information. Knowledge is not power—it’s execution. All information is shared with the employees.

Stewards are accessible. They keep their hands dirty and get out their with their customers or clients. Stewards don’t simply keep things the same, they make things better.

Jennings closed by asking, "Why do you *really* do what you do?"

He said that the reason in most of these organizations is to make sure that the same opportunities for personal and financial growth and fulfillment will exist for others later on in the same organization.


I really appreciated Jennings' discussion of stewardship. It really touched a chord in me, and also reflects some of the values of the knowledge management movement. Saying and affirming that sharing information and knowledge is a good and valuable thing, part of leadership and stewardship, is powerful, and an important lesson for organizational leaders of all kinds.

It clearly also hit the right notes with the audience of members at ILTA, I suspect because his description of the necessity for service, stewardship, and support of others is completely in line with the values of that organization.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ILTA 2010--Upcoming Panel--KM Supporting Alternative Financial Arrangements

There is quite a bit of talk this year at ILTA about alternative financial arrangements. On Thursday August 26th at 10:30, Starvine 10, I'm presenting on how "traditional" KM supports the work on such matters (particularly that on fixed fee work) and the different risks and rewards in focused contrasted with broad-based knowledge management work.
With me on the panel are Peter Krakauer of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Michael Mills of Kraft & Kennedy. Peter will be discussing how knowledge management skills and resources can be applied to the process of developing, understanding, and implementing alternative financial arrangements; Michael will be looking at some tools available in the marketplace that can assist firms with handling alternative financial arrangements. It should be an interesting session.

Formal Description:
"With all the buzz about alternative fee arrangements, you may be wondering how knowledge management can support them. This session will review how KM provides critical support for firms as they design, manage and offer AFAs. In addition to more traditional methods, such as model and sample forms, matter databases, and expertise location, KM supports AFA strategies through project management, financial analysis, business intelligence, and standardized information capture."
"How KM Supports Alternative Fee Arrangements." Session Description:

ILTA 2010--Email Management Panel

I am returning to ILTA Conference, this year held in Las Vegas, and appearing on two panels. In both we'll be addressing a subject that I've been working with a lot this year. In this post I'll address email management, a huge KM concern.

Attorneys increasingly live in Outlook (sorry Lotus Notesians) and use it not just for tasks and team communications but to transmit key documents to clients and opposing counsel. Where those documents did not originate in client/matter-centric document management systems, vital context about those documents, and the documents themselves, are potentially lost as a searcheable treasure trove in the firm's collective information pool. While I believe that there are better ways of doing many things done by email (such collaboration, knowledge-sharing, broadcasting), the email dragon for client work is here to stay, not slay, and there is no getting around that. Making the email repository--or at least the client file portion of it--matter-centric is therefore a vital KM task. Matter-centric email should also go a long way to addressing the refindability and accessibility of email to the working attorney, an issue that many of them consider a major "pain point."

It's not just KM. IT also struggles with the sheer volume and size of email; and, it drives records and risk management people crazy.

On Tuesday morning at 9 AM, Ironwood 2, I'll be moderating a panel titled "Dreams Can Come True: E-mail Management Success Stories." Slides are already available. The panelists come from varied technological and business backgrounds, but have three intriguing success stories. They have started to accomplish the goal of creating a matter-centric environment in strikingly different ways, with none of them going the "plain vanilla" route of implementing iManage's "WorkSite Email Management."

The presenters are:
  • Ana Schuett, Practice Technology Support Manager - Hunton & Williams
  • Chris Romano, CIO, Ward and Smith, P.A.
  • Derek Schueren, Vice President of Business Development (Co-Founder)- Recommind
Hunton & Williams, a large firm, has leveraged Baker Robbins' FastFiler tool in conjunction with Autonomy's iManage document management system. Ward & Smith, a mid-sized firm, has implemented cloud-based email management through NetDocuments. And Recommind's Decisiv tool, which I believe can be implemented with or without a document management system like iManage, offers predictive filing and improved organization of email threads.

I hope you can join us!