Assessing the Value of AI and Other Technology to the Law Firm

This session examines key issues in the approach law firms take to techology projects, whether sexy AI projects or more mundance technology infrastructure projects.

Speakers:

  • Philip Bryce, Global Director of Knowledge Management, Mayer Brown,
  • Kingsley Martin, President & CEO, KMStandards LLC and Chief Contract Scientist, Akorda,
  • Patrick Dundas, KM Associate, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, Dean Sonderegger, VP Legal Markets, Innovation, Wolters Kluwer Legal and Regulatory US

[These are my notes from the 2018 Ark Group Conference: Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • Comparing Law Firms and Technology

    • Kingsley Martin:
      • Following Susskind, we are supposed to be moving from bespoke to standardized work product.
      • Lawfirms tend to focus on low-volume, high-margin, bespoke work.
      • LegalZoom focuses on the high-volume, low-margin standardized work.
      • Kingsley Martin is focused on the b2b market, where he needs to provide highly efficient work product to businesses and governments. This is a space that most law firms are ignoring
      • Meanwhile, technology is moving from broad-based to sophisticated and nuanced. In other words, moving from standardized to customized.
      • He codes in multiple computer languages, however, he no longer codes. Rather, he trains computers to code as needed. This is the more efficient approach. Machine learning is faster than human learning. Law firms have not figured this out.
  • We operate in a trust model
    • Kingsley Martin:
      • Clients come to us because they trust us. But we don’t have good metrics based on good processes that can validate their trust.
      • We know that we need to move to simpler processes and documents if we want to take full advantage of techonological opportunities. However, there is real resistance to simplification within law firms.
        • This resistance is based on their perception of risk.
        • They believe that a simpler process/document may entail greater risk. However, they do not always have reliable data to support this perception.
        • So it is critical to take a closer look at the true risks involved and then quantify those risks.
        • Then you need to addess those risks. Some firms are moving to insurance/self-insurance models to cover those risks.
  • Prioritizing Projects
    • Phil Bryce
      • How to choose AI solutions?
      • Remember the difference between point solutions and platforms. And keep in mind the critical integration points between your existing technology and the new tools.
        • They must work together seamlessly.
        • Don’t be so enamoured by a new tool that you allow it to create a content silo unconnected to the rest of your tech resources.
      • He uses the classic McKinsey Value vs. Effort 2×2 grid to prioritize projects.
        • He works this grid with his management committee. They have a conversation about the placement of the various projects on the grid and then agree on the final placement of the projects. As part of this conversation, they agree which projects will be done first and which ones likely won’t be done.
        • He works this grid with the partners who supervise practice support lawyers (PSLs) to ensure they are aligned on the PSL’s priorities.
  • How should you choose your tech vendors?
    • Patrick Dundas
      • Most firms choose vendors on the basis of a good demo. However, demos almost always go well. That’s the point!
      • A better approach:
        • Start with a clear and well-articulated understanding of the problem you are trying to solve, as well as the associated requirements.
        • Get a good list of the relevant stakeholders. Understand their specific needs.
        • Be clear about your desired timeline.
        • Ask for RFPs from vendors.
          • Ask them to respond to your matrix of requirements. Their ability to do so appropriately is a good early signal of their ability to work well with you.
        • Evaluate vendor responses
          • How well did they respond?
          • Highlight/flag the responses that distinguish particular vendors
        • Check vendor references — be sure to use a script for these conversations to ensure you cover the key points.
        • Joshua Fireman recommends that you record your demos and your technical deep dives. This will help you remember the details.

Session Description:

In today’s legal tech environment, Knowledge Management professionals have a rich tapestry of tools to choose from to help drive firm success. Each vendor typically will provide ROI calculations as part of the sales pitch, but the onus still sits with the firm to choose wisely in a budget (both me and cost) constrained world.

This panel will explore the technology value chain—from efficiency to outcome to optimization of business processes, the characteristics of each step in the value chain, where different types of solutions fit, and the impact to the firm from different categories of solutions.

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KM Tools Lawyers Love #ILTAG128 #ILTACON

Session Description:

Knowledge management (KM) professionals often design and implement tools they are certain their lawyers will love, only to have them fall flat and quickly slip into oblivion. Sometimes KM and IT launch a tool expecting lawyer pushback or disinterest and are pleasantly surprised by immediate adoption. Let’s focus on the KM tools lawyers love as we learn about some of the KM tools practicing lawyers have found most helpful and easy to incorporate into their practices. Whether you are just starting out with KM, looking to refresh a long-standing KM initiative or operating with a tight budget and limited resources, come learn which projects will be the quickest, be the easiest and win big points with your lawyers.

Takeaways:

  • Develop a better understanding of the practicing lawyer’s priorities and concerns
  • Gain insight into how lawyers think about their practice and work with their clients and each other
  • Leave with a short list of winning projects to take on when starting out with KM, refreshing KM or performing KM on a tight budget
  • Establish a check list of things to consider when deciding which KM or legal IT projects to pursue and which to postpone or even ditch

Speakers: Patrick DiDomenicoPatrick DundasSally GonzalezMeredith Green

[These are my notes from the International Legal Technology Association’s 2017 Conference. I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, so they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error. Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]

NOTES:

  • What is Knowledge Management?
    • KM 1.0 = Improving client service delivery (plus, in the UK: current awareness, professional development, sharing knowledge with clients)
    • KM 2.0 = Winning more business — experience management, knowing the client, business development activities
    • KM 3.0 = Improving processes
    • KM 4.0 = Leveraging AI
  • How do you measure success? A tool is successful if
    • it is used by the lawyers themselves — they don’t delegate its use to others
    • lawyers call you immediately when the tool is down
  • Tools that help GENERATE WORK PRODUCT.
    • Schulte’s Forms Project
      • Know-how: forms stored in iManage folders
      • WARNING: a forms project is extremely time-intensive and effort-intensive. So do not begin the project unless you know for sure that there will be sufficient use of the form. In addition, creating it is less useful if you can’t/won’t keep it up-to-date.
      • Whee there is a business need, these forms will help make the practice of law more efficient.
      • At Schulte, the put drafting instructions in footnotes. They use MS Word’s commenting function to explain the reason why certain language is being used.
    • McGuire Woods uses an external provider such as the Practical Law Company (PLC)
      • PLC provides forms and practice notes
      • For junior associates, this was a godsend — especially since the firm did not have a vast bank of current forms
    • Ogletree has model/form docs, augmented with Lexis Practice Adviser
      • they have homegrown “cream of the crop” model/form documents that their practice support lawyers maintain
      • these materials are collected and available in their Knowledge Resource Center in their intranet, in the document management system (DMS) AND via enterprise search.
      • they use Lexis Practice Adviser to fill in the gaps
  • Document Automation.
    • See the article by Patrick Dundas in the recent ILTA KM white paper
      • Documents drafted using the Schulte document assembly platform (HotDocs) results in substantial reductions in cost and effort
    • At Ogletree the have both internal-facing and client-facing document automation. They did a large-scale document automation process for a multinational client. It resulted in substantial savings of time and costs. And the work product was more consistent. The client was so delighted that they awarded a bonus for this work.
  • Finding what you need.
    • Ogletree uses Recommind. (They are transitioning to Handshake search.) Enterprise search was the most important tool they have implemented to help lawyers find what they need: content, people, matters.
    • McGuire Woods is just starting their KM program so enterprise search is a bit too ambitious for them right now. They have deployed Lexis Search Advantage (LSA) to help lawyers find content in the DMS and in the Lexis collection. They can also tag content with established tags or new tags you create yourself. In their experience, LSA is more intuitive than their DMS native search.
    • LSA does a great job of classifying content. At Ogletree, they have discovered that some of the LSA filters are better than the filters in their DMS.
  • Client/Matter Pages.
    • Lawyers love these types of pages because they give easy access to critical information.
    • These pages provide on demand, instant access to information that was previously buried in PDF reports generated by underlying systems like the time and billing system. Therefore, they do not have to step away from their work to ask someone to generate a special report for them. They can stay “in the flow” of their work.
  • Cara by Casetext. This tool is a great asset for litigators. It allows you to drag a brief into their web interface. Then the tool identifies what cases are relevant to that brief but were not cited by the brief. You can use it to check your own briefs; you can use it to identify the holes in an opponent’s brief.
  • Harvesting PTI. “Pardon the interruption” emails are commonplace in law firms. While they may surface in-the-moment assistance, the content is usually buried in private email threads.
    • In response, Schulte has set up a shared iManage folder to harvest these emails and permit later search and retrieval. As a result, it saves time and money, and causes fewer interruptions. Plus, it costs nothing to implement.
    • Ogletree also has an iManage folder. In addition, because it is stored in the DMS, it is retrievable via enterprise search. Therefore, the lawyers do not need to check the shared folder; all they have to do is run a search in the enterprise search system.
  • CRM Systems. Valuable client information is stored in the client relationship (CRM) system. However, while the Marketing Department might be able to manage the CRM interface, it may not be as easy for lawyers.
    • If you make the data stored in the CRM system accessible via the enterprise search system, then the lawyers can find it without having to tangle with the CRM interface.
  • Experience Management. There are some focused experience management tools.
    • An alternative approach is a simple grid in an MS Word document that details the breadth of legal experience/competencies across the lawyers of the firm.
    • You can also do this via a simple database. However, chances are that the lawyers won’t like the interface of that database.
    • With enterprise search, you can search time entries and matter profiles to infer experience
  • Document proofreading tools. Wordrake and EagleEye are very popular with attorneys.
  • What tools have been less successful in their experience?
    • Task Management System
      • lawyers like a resource that helps them organize themselves, but the lawyers are unwilling/unable to dedicate the time necessary to maintain the system.
      • Baker Donelson is using K2 to provide task management support
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