Oz Benamram (CKO, White & Case) and Christopher F. Boyd (Senior Director of Professional Services) will present a framework for implementing some of the innovative ideas we’ve discussed at this conference.
[These are my notes from the 2 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.]
- Matter Profiling. Our dream would be to collect this information seamlessly and painlessly over the life of a matter. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for most firms. Many firms ask partners to provide this information before they know enough about the matter to be helpful or after they no longer care about the matter.
- Legal Needs Assembly Lines. The legal industry is one of the few that does not have an established tradition of assembly lines. Rather, we tend to create things from scratch time after time. Nonetheless, if you examine the matter lifecycle, you have a framework on which you can hang some repeated processes. The life cycle starts with the pitch > opening the matter > completing the work > closing the matter > pitching for new work….Throughout this process, you need to manage each stage and that act of management also includes data recorded, work product produced and tools.
- How to Use the Framework. For each phase in the matter lifecycle, you record data, create work product and associate useful tools (KM and technology). For example, during the pitch phase you record information regarding the prospective client, the lawyers/staff involved in the pitch, competitor information and the outcome of the pitch. The work product created includes company profile, a proposal, pitch slides, a pitch report. The technologies includes a matters database, a proposal generator, etc.
- What’s in it for me? Earlier, the speakers noted that asking lawyers for information after a matter can be difficult because the lawyers have moved on. At White & Case, they have developed a great way of involving lawyers in providing matter information after a closing. The KM group at White & Case offers to create electronic closing binders. (This is something the lawyers and their clients want.) In the process of doing this, they undertake an after action review that generates useful information for their lawyers and for their clients.
- First Steps. If possible build a dashboard called “My Matters” that shows each lawyer the tasks and financial aspects of all of their matters. If that is too ambitious, start by managing more carefully how you do the work, showing the tasks for a specific matter. This project management and reporting exposes data that will then compel people to make the necessary corrections.