Monday, August 27, 2012

ILTA Session: Beyond Extranets: What Clients Really Want

This is the first session of the Knowledge Management Peer Group track (I am a member of the KM PG Steering Committee). The following are my notes on the session (updated 8/28 with format improvements).

This session comes with a one-page outline prepared by the panelists in advance. It lays out ideas about what law firm clients might be looking for from law firm km, namely, assistance with precedents, current awareness, technology implementation, professional development, KM, matter management, and on-line legal advice. It also lays out a few approaches for km teams that might want to get started.

The panel is very distinguished. 2011 KM Distinguished Peer Scott Rechshaffen is joined by 2010-2011 ILTA Conference Co-Chair Meredith Williams and DuPont general counsel Lynne Simpson.

Mary Panetta is moderating the panel.  This was a very impressive example of two law firms taking innovation to the next level of adding client value and firm profitability.  


Eight to ten years ago, extranets started to take off.   She would have expected that innovative extranets would have developed further.  

Experts here have innovated in client-facing KM.

What is the alignment between what law firms are offering and what law departments need?  This may vary a lot and there may be different opportunities at different clients and firms.

Meredith Williams

A lot of what the keynote presented can be implemented through extranets.  Challenge the norm.  What's beyond the extranet?  What do our clients not know they need?  What are they asking for?

BakerConnect is a whole new Online Services Initiative that forms a collaborative base with clients.  Some clients have a "post-it note" type problem where they don't know what they need yet.

In contrast to much traditional KM work, it's not about delivery of information, it's about delivering function.  Functionality and information are not the same--it's about what you can do on the extranet.

Baker's hospital client system was driven by workflows around litigation holds. 

KM became a profit center. These systems are also being used to sell to and acquire new clients.

She gets $ every year for attorneys to bill time to KM-related projects ($650,000 / year) in a Venture Fund Program.   

There are three modules of the OSI:

--an LPM Platform
--Practice sharing via a collaborative farm
--practice toolkits

Baker wanted to be able to share tools or systems with clients, so their SharePoint 2010 is accessible to clients.  They have one environment, one "collaboration sharing farm."  Every practice area can share precedents, news, or vendor information with clients.

One example of what they are sharing is a "quick and easy guide to labor and employment law" that is essentially an expert / guided guidance system.

They have 10 or so toolkits.  They've developed them with the lawyers in the firm, trying to match up what clients needed with what lawyers could provide.  Clients in a beta program got it for free, they had to sit down and discuss what the clients needed and what they hated.

The toolkit also allows clients to maintain their own information on BakerConnect, for instance, using a Baker-provided document assembly system, with the client's lawyers creating the work product.

There's a video of Meredith demonstrating one of the toolkits on .  

They use Contract Express, and "DocMinder" for a date licensing system.  The client doesn't know who the vendor is.

Some of the biggest clients are also provided data mapping. They offer a lot of compliance training to clients, along with tracking for that.


They are almost acting like a software company for the client.

They have to have licensing discussions  because these may not be ordinary uses of the tools.
Client data may not be work product.  It may not be covered by typical insurance.  They obtained "cyberlaw insurance."  They asked what it would cost to notify people in the event of a breach ($250-500/person).  

Each client has a separate collection.

Encryption and security must be addressed with industry-specific standards, such as securities regulations, HIPAA, and so forth.

They are creating a subsidiary to manage the compliance training.  That way non-clients can access & pay for compliance programs.

They are looking at automating site provision, and also are rolling out a mobile platform in February.  Clients are asking for it.  

Scott Rechtschaffen

Littler's CaseSmart program was addressed last year at ILTA.  In Labor & Employment a lot more of the work is being commoditized.  They took on administrative charge work for a big client and developed an alternative staffing and information management system.   It includes automated document generation and tracking of what people were doing.  

They thought the value was in the technology.

What clients really were interested in was the dashboards.  They could look at efficiency metrics, but they also got actionable intelligence about the type of cases they were having and where.  If law departments did this type of work themselves, it wouldn't be privileged.  
Dashboards were driven by what the clients were looking for.  In one case they are helping in-house counsel drastically reduce the time required for compliance and auditing reports.

Clients also want access to "on-demand" information.  Their system is called "Littler GPS," they cover 65 subject areas that are maintained for 52+ jurisdictions.  It includes links to new legislation (fed by research & library services team).  At the bottom is Littler's analysis of the legislation, including what companies should do about new legislation and so forth.  

A third product is access to "on-demand" answers.  They want answers quicker than email.  They offer subscriptions to another extranet.  They've added Q & A forums where clients can ask Littler attorneys questions.  For instance, benefits people had lots of people answering questions from employees and can come to the forum and find the answer.  

General liability and cyber insurance is a must.
Lynne Simpson
Her backup slides are on paper, Scott's and Meredith's are on iPads.  That represents the typical difference between law firms and law departments.
Every client is different.  DuPont is in safety & health, nutrition, and other industries, with 70,000 employees, 300+ legal counsel in 90 countries.  Most are commercial attorneys, but they also have litigation, environmental, and labor experts in-house.  They have about 40 law firms in a "partner network," primarily in litigation and big deals.
What do clients want from KM?
They want law firms to focus on capturing knowledge and providing very efficient service.  That's more important to most in-house counsel than logging in to an extranet.

They want KM to help firms target information delivery to in-house counsel.
They don't want another place to go for information.  Tokens and password fumbling is the norm.

Clients appreciate having attorneys come in and present on timely topics.  It especially matters that the topics is relevant to the business and important right then.

DuPont's business is moving more towards consumer products.  Law firms that noticed that and targeted information provided in-house counsel at consumer issues benefitted.
A lot of the information we house for clients is subject to the client's security requirements.  It may require two-factor authentication and so forth.

Their "EDGE" system requires a token to access.

Up front it shows budget against actuals (updated by a manual process).  It houses calendar information, depositions, exhibits, and pleadings.   Outside counsel can access or join.  

The system is, in Lynne's words, "ancient."


An audience member asked how the law firm folk convince the attorneys to get in front of attorneys.

Meredith has had to fight to get in front of clients.  She had practiced as a corporate attorney, and hired litigation KM people to help with that.  She needed a success story. 

At Baker, they have a KM or LPM person at every pitch to discuss efficiencies. 
Meredith reports to a "Strategic Planning Officer" what gets innovation. 

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