KM collaboration within law firms

March, 2005

This article summarizes our March 1 roundtable on knowledge management (KM) collaboration in law firms. The roundtable was an outgrowth of a member question last summer about knowledge management tools and techniques in law firms (see "Managing knowledge in law firms: is it really different?")

The roundtable's emphasis on collaboration was intended to balance the technology focus common to many knowledge management initiatives — whether they occur in law firms or not. The collaborative approach stresses proactive consultation with department managers before the technology is installed, a training program developed and delivered by in-house staff (not the software vendor), and continuing outreach afterward.

The March 1 session followed our standard roundtable format — a presentation in which the featured guest shares his or her experiences on the topic followed by a discussion of agenda items compiled from participants' questions. In this case Catherine Monte, Director of Knowledge Management at Fox Rothschild LLP, described the KM program's beginnings at her firm as well as four kinds of projects underway. The general discussion afterward focused on the following issues:

  • Staffing the KM function
  • Role of the legal secretary
  • KM software
  • Integration and workflow
  • KM ROI, metrics, and statistics

Presentation highlights
Catherine's KM work grew out of her role in creating content for the firm's intranet. Since the KM initiative had the backing of the Managing Partner, there was no need to "sell" the concept to top decision makers. But Catherine realized that she to needed to listen to people and learn how each practice area (e.g. real estate, family law) was getting and processing information. Rather than simply sitting in on their meetings, she and her team of 2 other librarians ...

Created on 3/29/2005