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ILTA Webinar On Enterprise Search For Smaller Firms

20 Mar

Post by ILTA KM Blogmaster David Hobbie

A webinar in one week will address a cheap and effective approach to enterprise search, the “killer app” of legal knowledge management. ILTA KM surveys and my own experience confirms that this remarkable tool is moving “down-market,” i.e., to smaller firms.

Title:  Kick-Starting KM with Quick-Start Search

Date & Time:  Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at  7:00 p.m. GMT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 1:00 p.m. CDT/
12:00 p.m. MDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT.

REGISTER online here; no cost for ILTA members

Formal Description:
KM is no longer the purview of large firms. KM can be a competitive tool, and smaller firms want in! But how can a smaller firm, without significant KM resources, kick-start a KM program and score a major win with the firm’s attorneys?

Smaller firms looking to take advantage of the benefits of KM can use enterprise search as the centerpiece of their KM strategy. You could be up and running fairly quickly, and see a high return on your investment. Your attorneys will love it, and you’ll establish enough “credit” to push for other KM initiatives.

Advancements in KM technology point to closer collaboration between CIOs and KM professionals. Come hear Lowenstein’s CIO, Christopher Zegers, and KM Director, Kitty Schweyer, discuss their unique approach to KM in a smaller firm and how they kick-started their KM program with the implementation of a popular enterprise search solution.”

Speakers:

Shy Alter is the founder of ii3, where he provides vision and direction to both ii3 and ii3’s clients. Shy also regularly works with ii3’s teams to develop practical solutions to complex knowledge and information management challenges. He helps his clients address their highly competitive and continually changing business environment. Shy is a KM pioneer who speaks regularly on the strategic impact of knowledge management and is recognized as a thought leader in this area. Contact him at salter@ii3.com.

Kathlyn Schweyer has 17 years of experience in the information and knowledge management field. Kitty is currently the Director of Knowledge and Research Services at Lowenstein Sandler and is in charge of the firm’s knowledge activities. Previously, she served as the manager of competitive intelligence at White & Case in New York and as the library manager at Goodwin Procter in Boston, where she was heavily involved in their knowledge management initiatives. Contact her at kschweyer@lowenstein.com.

Christopher Zegers has been solving problems for law firms since 1997. From bringing the Internet to desktops and bringing desktops to iPads, he has guided attorneys through the endless technical changes required to keep firms competitive. Chris has built out new offices and data centers, and has introduced knowledge management and practice support departments to law firms that traditionally grouped these services with IT. He is currently the Chief Information Officer for Lowenstein Sandler. Contact him at czegers@lowenstein.com.

Questions?  Contact Kristy Costello at kristina@iltanet.org or (512) 795-4674

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Ark Conference Pass Winner

5 Oct

Post By David Hobbie, ILTA KM Blogmaster

The ILTA KM Steering Committee and the Ark Conference are pleased to announce that the raffle for a free pass to the October 2012 Ark Knowledge Management In the Legal Profession Conference has been won by Lori D. Martin, Director of Library and Research Services at Bradley Arant Boult and Cummings LLP in their Birmingham, Alabama office.

Congratulations Lori!

Recap; ILTA Conference KM Sessions and Session Resources

4 Oct

Post by Chris Boyd, KM Steering Committee VP

I hope many of you made it to the ILTA’s recent “AC2DC” conference in Washington, D.C. and were able to attend some of the KM track sessions.  For anyone who wasn’t able to make it, or who was there and wants to revisit some of the sessions, ILTA has posted audio recordings from the sessions along with downloadable presentations and handouts.  The KM recordings and materials are listed below (unfortunately we cannot provide direct links); please note that they are for ILTA members and that you’ll need to log into ILTA’s website to access them.  Special thanks to Patrick DiDomenico, the conference liaison on the ILTA KM peer group steering committee, who was a key player in making these sessions happen.

  1. Beyond Extranets! What Clients Really Want.  Meredith Williams of Baker Donelson and Scott Rechtschaffen of Littler Mendelson presented their innovative client-facing KM resources, and Lynn Simpson of DuPont discussed what her company’s legal department would like to see in law firm KM.  The panel also provided a handout titled “Some Ideas On What Clients Want From KM At Law Firms”.
  2. Social Networking in the Enterprise.  David Hobbie of Goodwin Procter explained how to prepare a business case for social networking in the enterprise.  Ann Hemming of Thomas Eggar described her firm’s use of Yammer, and Scott Reid of the U.S. Judge Advocate General’s Corps presented the MilBook and JagConnect resources.  The JAG Corps later won ILTA’s Law Department of the Year award in part based on Col. Reid’s work in this area.  David also posted his slides on “Building a Business Case for Enterprise Social Networks”.
  3. Using Your DMS for Knowledge Management.  April Brousseau of Stikeman Elliott, consultant Rick Krzyminski, Chris Boyd of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Eric Hunter of Bradford & Barthel explained how their firms used document management systems to support KM resources. The panel also provided a handout with a matrix on ways to use a DMS for KM.
  4. New Benefits and Unexpected Pitfalls of Enterprise Search.  Phil Bryce of White & Case, John Gillies of Cassels Brock, and Sarah Stephens of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan presented their firms’ enterprise search implementations, along with lessons learned and next steps.  The slides from White & Case, Cassells Brock, and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan provide good visuals to accompany the recording.
  5. Data Warehouses, Dashboards and Data Integration: Delivering Actionable Business Intelligence.  Gina Lynch and Tracy Elmblad of Bingham McCutchen and Steve Lewis of Fried Frank demonstrated their firm’s intranets, focusing particularly on the dashboard-like features in them.  Gina, Tracy and Steve also described the design and rollout processes they used to revamp their intranets.
  6. AFAs + LPM + BPI = Opportunities for KM.  Michael Williams of eSentio, Rob Lipstein of Crowell & Moring, and Andrew Baker of Seyfarth Shaw discussed clients’ increasing interest in alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and how firms are using KM to support legal project management (LPM) and business process improvement (BPI) to deliver effectively and efficiently on AFA matters.

Many other sessions, of course, addressed enterprise search, social networking, and other KM topics; the well-received sessions listed here were those organized by the KM peer group.

We’ve already started to plan for next year’s conference, so if there are specific KM topics you’d like to see addressed, please contact me or one of the other members of the KM peer group steering committee.  We’d love to hear from you!

Opening on KM PG Steering Committee

6 Aug

Post By ILTA KM Steering Committee VP Chris Boyd

The Knowledge Management Peer Group Steering Committee has an opening and we’re looking for an interested volunteer to fill it.  The KM peer group works with ILTA, fellow peer groups, and regional leadership to deliver programs and publications on how law firms and law departments can use KM to help their attorneys and other professionals be more effective and efficient and ultimately deliver more value to their clients.  We enjoy working together to develop conference sessions, put on webinars and local meetings, encourage the use of the e-group, publish an annual white paper, post on this blog, conduct an annual survey, collaborate with vendors on peer-focused programming, and otherwise capitalize on ILTA’s excellent resources to facilitate peer knowledge sharing and champion KM.

Our steering committee has eight people, and one of our long-serving members has decided to step down, so we are looking to fill that slot.  Our departing member is from Toronto, and because we collaborate with local KM groups and each have an assigned regional ILTA group to work with, we will give preference to applicants from Canada overall and Toronto specifically, but that is a preference rather than a firm requirement.  There are many benefits to participating in the steering committee, including meeting and collaborating with peers in different organizations, influencing the direction of ILTA’s KM programming agenda, and helping to grow the international legal KM community.

You can find more information about the responsibilities of, and qualifications for, steering committee members here, along with a link to the online application.  If you’re qualified and interested, we encourage you to apply.  Please also feel free to contact me at cboyd@wsgr.com or 650-354-4195 if you have any questions.

ILTA KM Champions, Past And Future

12 Mar

Post By David Hobbie, ILTA KM Blogmaster

Chris Boyd recently announced the opening of the ILTA KM Champion award.  It will be granted at the 2012 Conference, to be held August 26-30 in Washington DC (registration is now open, by the way!).  His announcement:

The KM Champion uses knowledge management resources to help his or her organization share knowledge effectively, deliver excellent service to clients and achieve its business goals.  Resources include (but are not limited to) model and sample documents, document assembly, matter profiles, enterprise search, expertise location, experience management, Web 2.0 collaboration tools (blogs, wikis, etc), KM support for AFAs or project/matter planning, and client-facing knowledge-sharing tools.  The award is given specifically for accomplishments since January 1, 2011.

Last year’s KM Champion was Scott Rechtschaffen of Littler Mendelson.

 You can nominate yourself or someone else for the KM Champion award here.  Nominations are due by March 31; after that, all qualifying nominees will be asked to complete an application form, which the award judges will review.  There are many KM champions out there, so please throw your hat – or that of a peer whose KM accomplishments you admire – into the ring!

For more information about ILTA’s 2012 Distinguished Peer Awards program, please go here.

If you want to hear about what kind of accomplishments justify awards such as KM Champion, Project of the Year, or Innovator of the Year, ILTA also recently announced a March 29 2012 webinar that will feature last year’s awardwinners.  The full announcement:

Join us for a webinar on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 12 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Central / 10:00 a.m. Mountain / 9:00 a.m. Pacific.

At ILTA’s 2011 annual educational conference, Bryan Cave and Littler Mendelson were awarded Distinguished Peer Awards for Innovator of the Year and Project of the Year, respectively.

Bryan Cave’s Innovator of the Year award recognized John Alber and his teams for developing a structural approach to innovation and a series of innovative systems. Bryan Cave has adapted an approach to innovation that mirrors the R&D functions found in the best companies.

Littler’s Project of the Year award recognized Scott Rechtschaffen and his team for the development of Littler CaseSmart, an innovative case management solution that combines a Littler-developed proprietary technology platform, rigorous quality assurance measures and an alternative staffing model to streamline the way cases are managed.

Come join John and Scott as they give an overview of their projects (as they did at the 2011 annual conference). They will also provide updates on the continued effectiveness of their projects, new successes and obstacles, and the impact their work has had on other areas of their firm’s operations and on the delivery of legal services.

 If you’d like to Tweet during this session the hashtag for the Knowledge Management Peer Group is #ILTAKM

 Speakers:

Scott D. Rechtschaffen serves as Littler Mendelson’s Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO). He leads the firm’s efforts to provide innovative client services by integrating new technologies and work processes that enable attorneys and clients to access the firm’s collective knowledge and experience. Scott has been a key member of the multidisciplinary team that developed the award-winning Littler CaseSmart approach to legal case management. Scott oversees the Knowledge Management Group’s work on the firm’s electronic and print publications, the internal search engine, the firm’s intranet portal, extranets and online subscription services.

John Alber is Bryan Cave’s Strategic Technology Partner, overseeing three technology-enabled groups at the firm: the Client Technology Group, the Practice Economics Group and the Accelerated Review Team. The groups under his leadership develop innovative service solutions and Web-based, client-facing, decision-making support, training and communication tools. The groups also develop internal decision support, knowledge management, project management, project estimation and client intelligence systems for the firm. John has written and spoken widely on legal technology subjects and received a number of awards, both in the legal field and in information technology.

 REGISTER online here

 Fee:  The fee is PER CONNECTION and is $50 for ILTA members and $150 for non-members.  You will receive connection (both phone and internet access) information upon receipt and processing of payment.

 Questions?   Please contact Kristy Costello at 512.795.4674 or kristina@iltanet.org

Webinar Report: Working with Vendors: From Cold Calls to Building a Relationship

7 Mar

Guest Post By Kathleen Hogan, Senior Counsel and Director of KM, BMO Financial Group

A recent ILTA webinar addressed an “elephant in the room” for law firm KM.  While we welcome and often rely on vendor expertise, we’re also not always thrilled about receiving cold calls, and nor are we always sure how to navigate these relationships. This post will cover the highlights of the webinar, which aired February 15, with speakers Perry Brock of Ventura Consulting, Joshua Fireman of Fireman and Co. and myself , and hosted by Mara Nickerson, CKO at Osler LLP (Mara is a member of the ILTA KM Peer Group Steering Committee).

We nicknamed the session “Vendors: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” for good reason. Perry (who, it should be noted, did the heavy lifting in creating the slides and throughout most of the session) identified five criteria (financial approach, executive involvement, project management, knowledge transfer, and issue management) that together characterize a relationship as staying on a basic vendor level, or evolving into a partner level. Vendors, for example, see revenue, where partners see opportunity, when looking at the financial approach to a deal. Partners will work collaboratively and proactively, while vendors are disinterested and reactive. We are glad to report that a poll of the audience showed that most firms view their vendors as partners rather than just “vendors”.

We talked about the three phases of onboarding vendors into our firms, from the “blind date” of a cold call or RFP, though “courtship” of evaluating expertise, capabilities and expectations, to “partnership” though contract, execution, and an ongoing symbiotic relationship.  To strengthen these relationships, we identified some best practices:  sharing information and priorities, being open about balancing commitment and competition, relying on vendors to support strategy, build partnerships for the long term, and understanding the vendors’ business. As always, negotiating a “win-win” agreement is best – supporting each other’s value proposition is key.

There may also be a tension within law firms of who “owns” a relationship. While KM might bring a product in the door and run a pilot, it’s IT/IS that will need to support and troubleshoot the product. The vendor should be comfortable with both; all stakeholders must openly discuss and tacitly agree on performance, initiatives, and expectations.

The session acknowledged the reality that vendors are often on the cutting edge of technology development, and KM can rely on vendors to learn about best practices, emerging practices, and even case law (e-discovery is a great example of this). Yet, KM has to balance using vendors as an information source with respecting their time and value. As well, as Mary Abraham noted in her blog, Above and Beyond KM, vendor demos often take up a lot of time with not much tangible value to show for them.

Polls taken during the webinar were telling. Most attendees field 3-5 cold calls a week, and some receive over ten! Clearly, cold call skills are a necessary tool for KMers! Our tips included screening calls and using “do not disturb” so you can be in control of your time and calls and not at the mercy of a cold calling vendor. If you do pick up the phone to find a cold call, let the caller speak for a few moments before simply saying no thank you, or perhaps arranging another time to speak. Always be honest. If you receive a message or email (or LinkedIn) solicitation, close the loop by replying courteously and with honest information.

Thanks to ILTA for the opportunity to develop this topic into a webinar for a wide audience.

What Makes ILTA Social? Sharing At Conference And Implications For Knowledge Work

22 Dec

Post By David Hobbie, ILTA KM Blogmaster and Member of the KM PG Steering Committee

One of my favorite aspects of the annual ILTA conference is the willingness of peers to share information with each other.  The learning imparted in the many educational sessions is truly amazing, and while people are in general perhaps more restrained in this era of bloggers and instant dissemination of key points via Twitter,  I have heard presenters remarking  on several occasions that they have shared more than they perhaps intended in advance.  Thinking about why that is so made me realize that ILTA leadership and the collective efforts of its dedicated members have figured out a number of ways to make ILTA conference attendees social.  In other words, conference is a community where social connections, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among members is valued and encouraged.

Without being too Kumbaya about it, legal enterprises, which at their core sell knowledge and advice, could benefit from comparable sharing and trust inside the enterprise, between lawyers.  Greater willingness to share experience, and perhaps even participate in knowledge-generating activities, could greatly enhance many a legal KM program.

So how does ILTA do it?  I don’t think there’s any one thing ILTA does that does not occur in other places, but I’ve identified here a few distinct approaches that have an impact.

Badges

Dale Carnegie‘s advice on making friends and influencing people include the point that “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  A name badge is an easy and obvious method of enabling people to get to know and say each others’ names.  Saying someone’s name makes them feel significant and valued, albeit in a small way.

At ILTA badges have at least seven functions.  The picture above is, obviously,  my somewhat abused ILTA badge from the 2011 conference.  It has my name.  It has room for “bling” (the next social approach); ribbons are typically attached at the bottom of the badge; and it lists my title, employer, and location, allowing for affiliations and connections to be uncovered (and for e-discovery vendors to mistakenly believe that I can help them somehow).  Functionally, it allows conference workers to make sure that you are appropriately accessing the sessions and services to which you are entitled, and by virtue of the database-linked bar code it also serves in the vendor hall as the modern replacement for dropping a business card in a glass bowl.  Finally, it’s where you store meal and, yes, drink tickets.

What can we do to use the concept of badges in knowledge work?  Today’s online knowledge and information systems have badges in the form of intranet people profiles.  In more advanced collaboration systems, such as wikis, blogs, and internal social networks, every piece of activity is tagged to the person, usually with a hyperlink to some kind of profile where you can learn more about the person.  In any knowledge-based information system, being able to “pivot” on a person and uncover both contact information and more about what that person has done is absolutely critical.

Bling

“Bling” is the little circles and other pieces of cloth backed by sticky material stuck on a badge or the badge’s straps (though my daughter charmingly has absconded with a KM badge and has it on one of her dresses).  Bling indicates  interest and affiliation with subject areas like knowledge management (the keys), social media (a little twittery bird), information management, and so forth.  When I was in the ILTones chorus, we had a little piano bling too.

Bling in theory shows interests and skills.  In practice, however, it is also really fun to share and trade, and provide an opportunity for people in leadership roles to do a little something for people they meet.

Doing even apparently trivial favors for someone is a great way to build trust and enhance knowledge-sharing.  What favors can you do?   How can you have your lawyers build trust with each other?

And, what bling is on your profile?  How do lawyers share their interests and expertise in your organization?

Ribbons

The ribbons attached to the bottom of a badge typically identify something about person’s relationship with ILTA.  They are color-coded, and let you tell at a glance whether someone is a first-time attendee, a speaker, a peer group leader, or conference chair.  To some degree, ribbons are a status indication, but they also provide an opportunity to start a conversation (“How are you finding your first conference, newbie?”).  Ribbons are also a way for ILTA to provide recognition for various kinds of volunteer activities.

How do you recognize participation in your organization’s knowledge-sharing efforts and culture?

Appreciation

ILTA is a peer-driven organization.  It wouldn’t survive if it didn’t do a good job recognizing and showing appreciation for its members, who do much of the work that actually leads to conference.

Part of the appreciation is expressed through consistent messaging at formal events such as conference opening and closing sessions.  I’ve noticed that ILTA Executive Director Randi Mayes always singles out the ILTA members who support the JAG Corps and the courts, as they serve the public good as well as benefiting conference.

More recently, ILTA has established a formal recognition program, the Distinguished Peer Awards, which culminates in a black-tie dinner and Oscar-style awards presentation (admittedly, without a live orchestra, awkward thank-you speeches, or closeup shots of tearful runners-up).  I was honored to be on a short list for the KM Distinguished Peer Award this past year, and was thrilled at the opportunity to be recognized for my work, as I know all the nominees and award-winners were.

Appreciation is especially important for people working in the legal industry.  Lawyers by nature are not well-versed in working with others (see What Makes Lawyers So Challenging?), and as less sociable perfectionists are not always best at expressing appreciation or providing effective feedback.  Providing consistent, formal appreciation and recognition for our KM workers and champions can keep the KM team strong.

Affiliations

ILTA enables connection through surfacing affiliations any number of ways at conference. There are regional meetings, receptions by peer group, CIO meetups, meetings for social media fans, different arrangements at meals, ways for new attendees to meet, etc. etc. Each different slice brings you in contact with a different set of peers and new opportunities for connection.

This rich approach to sets of groups contrasts with the relatively simple formal structures seen in law firms. An attorney will typically major in one practice area and have a minor in another, but type of work is only one (albeit admittedly very important one) of the potential affiliation slices. What other affiliations can you leverage or encourage at your organization?

Conclusion

I am brought back to Larry Prusak’s wise admonishments in the Forward to “The New Edge In Knowledge” (reviewed here):

  • “Although technology surely has its place, working with knowledge is primarily a human activity needing human organization and understanding.
  • Knowledge in organizations is profoundly social and best managed in groups, networks, communities, and practices.”

People will share more where there are rich and varied opportunities to uncover and connect over shared interests and affiliations, do each other  favors, and recognize and reward team member contributions.  Extensive peer connection and structures that support communities also provide a vital support for our challenging knowledge work and for optimally functioning organizations.

 

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