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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 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


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

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.


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” 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?


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?


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.


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?


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.



ILTA KM Leadership Transition: Farewell From Catherine Monte and Introduction From Chris Boyd

14 Sep

Post By Catherine Monte, former VP, ILTA KM PG

It has been a privilege working with so many talented and educated KM professionals over the past 6 years.

Our community has grown tremendously both in peer group size, listserv traffic, conference programming and other offerings.  Special thanks go to our current steering committee: to Mara Nickerson for leading our KM Survey efforts, David Hobbie for the debut of our KM Blog, Patrick DiDomenico for perfecting our conference programming and Janis Croft and Ali Shahidi for their webinar contributions and vendor liaison support.

Support and dedication of the ILTA Board and staff has also been key in our development. I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention both Peggy Wechsler and Michele Gossmeyer who have been key players in the process and who have lent their eyes and ears when needed.

‪Last but not least, thanks to Chris Boyd who has coordinated the efforts of the KM Whitepaper over the years and who will taking the lead as the new KM PGVP.  I can’t think of a  better person to assume this role and take the peer group to the next level.

My volunteer work with ILTA continues. I am assuming the role of Strategic Relationship Liaison (SRL) for Thompson (Practice of Law).  I look forward to seeing everyone at future ILTA events both in person and virtually!

Post By Chris Boyd, VP, ILTA KM PG

First, a big thank you to Catherine for working with ILTA to launch the peer group and serve as its inaugural VP.  Catherine did a great job collaborating with ILTA and leading the peer group’s steering committee to create KM-focused programming and publications.  She will be greatly missed, and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for all she has done for the ILTA KM community.

A brief introduction:  I’m a former corporate attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and now lead KM, professional development, and attorney recruiting here.

I look forward to building on Catherine’s strong start and working with our excellent steering committee to deliver useful and interesting KM-focused programming at the annual conference, webinars, and local meetings.  In particular, we plan to increase the number of local KM-focused programs by collaborating with ILTA’s regional VPs and city reps, and with other peer groups with a similar interest in leveraging technology resources to help attorneys and other professionals share knowledge and deliver value to clients and colleagues.

I’d welcome your suggestions for conference sessions, webinars, local meeting topics, publications, or other resources; you can reach me at or 650-354-4195.

Openings On ILTA KM Peer Group Steering Committee

12 Sep

Post by Chris Boyd, VP of ILTA Peer Group Steering Committee

The Knowledge Management Peer Group Steering Committee has some openings!  We work 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.

Our steering committee has six people and we’d like to add two or three more.   We are lawyers, librarians, and technologists.  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 our 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 .  We have big plans for the next few years, and want to expand the steering committee by adding colleagues interested in getting more involved in ILTA and making KM-focused programming happen.

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 or 650-354-4195 if you have any questions.

Session Report–Innovative Member of the Year Contest

23 Aug

Post by David Hobbie, ILTA KM PG

These are my notes from the session where the speakers are seeking to win the “Innovative Member of the Year” Award. People present voted for the award, which will be presented on Thursday night at the ILTA Awards Dinner.

Bryan Cave

John Alber is presenting not on a particular innovation but on creating a process for creating innovation, “Creating an Innovation Factory.”  His session showed the innovation approach suggested by both of this week’s keynotes in action, moving structurally and profitably to change the way the law firm does its work.

Bryan Cave has set up three groups in a formal structure for creating innovation.

As addressed in the keynotes, innovation is at the core of the best companies in the world.  Lawyers are not known for innovation.  But there are opportunities to innovate in the legal sector.  Law firms are not structured to take advantage of innovation.  IT in many organizations is the source of innovation.  In law firms the focus on “utter reliability” of systems for capturing and storing the key legal knowledge work product detracts from their ability to innovate.

Law departments focus most of their innovation in reducing legal spend on fees to preferred counsel.

Bryan Cave has created three groups for innovating in particular areas relating to client legal spend, Client Technology Group, Accelerated Review Team, and the Practice Economics Group.

CTI was set up as a sanctioned “skunk works,” a sanctioned R & D laboratory within the firm, with web developers, business analysts, and content specialists.  It is independent of IT with a very different, change-focused mission (not reliability focused).  It is has had many successes such as online legal service delivery, social media knowledge platforms, and workflow management.

Accelerated Review Team created in 2010 to establish leading-edge streamlined review workflow problems, mainly in eDiscovery but also in review-intensive transactional work.

The third team is Practice Economics Group, set up to provide a new set of tools and techniques to help attorneys manage legal spend.  It’s already created tools to price engagements, track and manage engagements, reporting tools for commodity litigation, and give managers insight into the operations.  They provide support for AFAs and pricing.

There are 75 people in these three groups.  They are involved throughout the firm, very widely accepted, and support the highest dollar engagements.

Projects include:

  • Complex system to aid engagement teams of hundreds of lawyers on financial sector mortgage foreclosure crisis
  • Budgeting and dashboard app to develop detailed
  • Mobile pricing apps
  • Per-gigabyte pricing model, for lawyers work on document review
  • Claims management for client
  • Client-level & available dashboards for budget and project tracking
  • WIP and receivables monitoring system, aging etc.
  • Workflow management system for managing broker-dealing litigation, allowing it to be pushed down to more junior lawyers
  • AFA modeling tools

A client was pricing consumer financial litigation at half of what previous cost was going to be.  They developed a comprehensive management suite.  Intake captures essential data about jurisdiction, plaintiff’s lawyers, causes of action.  A management tab for every phase of litigation including risk-weighted assessment.  Tools facilitate production of work product.  A tool looks at a particular matter and helps attorneys identify that particular issues are active in that case, leading to a document assembly that generates a brief in support of motion to dismiss.  It was developed collaboratively with the case team, and the accelerated review team.  They looked for the best arguments among 80 different issues, and condensed into best practices, linked to a document assembly package.

Bryan Cave made a structural rather than an rhetorical commitment to innovation.

Margin on these innovations is estimated and projected to be in excess of $10 million.  John suggests that this innovation is leading Bryan Cave to where law firms will be needing to go.

Prioritization is based on “clients come first” and “look for the revenue stream.”

Fish and Richardson

My Social Media In Law Firms panelist Beau Mersereau is presenting on “OutLaw,” Fish and Richardson’s application that brings all the firm information attorneys need into Outlook.  He was assisted by another gentleman whose name I did not catch.

They already have high-definition videoconferencing and a lot of other custom applications.

They’ve found that attorneys live in Outlook.

Outlaw’s home page allows search of matters, documents, or contacts, view matters, worklist, and docket.

There is a tabbed view of those options.

He’s narrating a video, as the live demo would not work well.  I was impressed by how smoothly they handled the demo; they were very well prepared.

Internal and external contacts are searcheable.

Matter view shows user’s relationship to the matter (this is a good idea!) The worklist shows the matters worked on last 90 days (can be adjusted from 1-100 days).

Can do work such as time entry from a “power bar.”

In a document view, dragging them into a shortcut bar lets others access the document more quickly.  It’s a customizable Key Documents tab.  Anyone who works on the case can create their own tabs and documents.  It looks pretty easy to use, with drag-and-drop and right-clicks.

Outlaw also shows email drag and drop in a manner like FileSite, but it could also go into “Prolaw.”

It’s unique because it’s a unified interface within Outlook.  It’s captured a lot more time.

Seyfarth Shaw

“Transformation of Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s Project Management Office.”

Three women from Seyfarth presented.  I did not catch their names either.

Their PMO was founded in 2004, positioned outside IT, and had a diverse background in finance, IT, business operations, and telecommunications.  All are technically savvy and have an end-user perspective.

Projects focused on DMS, CRM, and employed traditional project management approaches.  They built relationships with “normal” IT.  They became known as the program that could “get things done.”

In 2008 they ran a first client-facing initiative in a compliance / employment matter.  The next transformation involved a camping trip (in a conference room).  They decided to change their internal-facing PMO to a client-facing PMO that would interact with lawyers to work with clients.  They decided to spend 70% of their time on the client-facing PMO.

No one else had a process they could emulate.

Their key word is “activate.”

INNOVATION; middle row of letters of Vision, Ingenuity, Brainstorm, Teamwork, Motivation, Creativity, Incentive, Inspiration, Development, Planning.

Firm has opened up a consulting branch that is delivering PMO services to existing clients and new clients, it’s been opening the door for provision to other services.  Seyfarth is trying for continuous improvement (kaizen), through process mapping and much more.  Clients are starting to participate in process mapping and fine-tuning.  Clients are asking Seyfarth to help them with process mapping.

Good communication is key to LPM.  They’ve had a more structured approach.  Project managers attend pitching.  They’ve doubled the size of the department.  77% of their time is devoted to client

They’ve received great feedback from the clients on their innovations.


For other’s comments on this very informative session please see the twitter stream for #award1.

To break the wall between reporting and participating, I will say that I voted for Bryan Cave.  All the presentations were excellent; John Alber, however, laid out in much greater detail the huge benefits to his firm’s legal business from his structural change of creating separate groups for legal technology and services innovation.

Knowledge Management Sessions At ILTA Conference

17 Aug

Post By ILTA KM PG Member David Hobbie

As announced in some detail on the main ILTA blog. the conference schedule and detailed session agenda are available.  There is also a session overview that lets you compare what’s happening at the same time (so you can agonize over which of  two excellent sessions with great speakers you should choose.)  The main conference site also has such goodies as an #ilta11 twitter stream, information about the venue, and so forth.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent mobile app, available for iPhone, iPad, and whatnot (yes I have an Apple bias when it comes to mobile technology).

(By the way, in ILTA-speak, one simply omits the “ILTA” in “ILTA Conference,” along with the definite article–it’s assumed that you must be talking about the conference, with this years’ taking place in Nashville, Tennessee from August 21-26.  This is an ILTA blog, so I’m going to follow that practice.)

The theme this year is “Rev-Elation,” which, leaving aside the odd spelling, definitely invokes the high energy and insight that I’ve come to associate with conference.

Conference has both a “formal” KM track (which means those 6 sessions managed by the ILTA KM PG) and  many other sessions that may be of interest to knowledge management professionals or that even cover topics in what I consider “core” KM, such as enterprise search.

This post will briefly describe and map out the six sessions on the formal KM track, in chronological order as they appear at conference (two on Monday August 22 and four on Wednesday August 24).  You may want to “follow” the hashtag comprised of the session “codes”, e.g., #kmpg1.

1. KMPG1, Advances In Document Assembly–Monday at 11 AM,  “Canal C”

This session will address new technologies and advances in this area, which in the past has been reserved for niche legal practice areas such as trusts and estates.  They’ll cover strengths and weaknesses of different vendors and approaches.

Speakers include Peter Krakaur of Orrick, Ayelette Robinson of Littler Mendelssohn, Michael Tominna of DLA Piper, and Yvonne Willis of Pilsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman LLP.

2.  KMPG2, “Social Networking In The Legal Industry,” Monday at 1 PM, “Canal C”

Speakers are Beau Mersereau, Director of Applications, Development, and Support at Fish & Richardson, Katrina Dittmer, Practice Support Manager at Baker Daniels, and me, David Hobbie, Litigation Knowledge Manager at Goodwin Procter LLP.

“Law firms, like virtually every other business today, are discovering the benefits of social networking collaboration. Learn about the use of collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs and discussion forums, and networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.”

Amen.  Heads up for attendees–this session will focus largely on internal application of social media tools, not on the (potentially significant) marketing aspects of external-facing law firm social media activity.

3. KMPG3, “It Takes A Village To Deliver Effective AFAs,” Wednesday at 9:15 AM, “Delta C”

“Learn how KM professionals and key players from finance, IT, professional development, legal project management, records and other areas can collaborate to help law firms implement successful AFAs.”

Tom Baldwin, Toby BrownPamela Woldow headline  the outstanding panel.

4.  KMPG4, “How KM Supports Innovative Service Delivery,” Wednesday at 11:30 AM, “Delta C”

“KM isn’t just precedents anymore. Hear how some true innovators in the field have tied sustainable KM processes and tools to specific legal services in ways that show clear increases in value delivered to clients.”

Howard Nichols of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey; Scott Rechtschaffen of Littler Mendelson, P.C., and Brynn Wiswall, Baker Donelson.

5.  KMPG5, “Creating an Optimal KM Strategy,” Wednesday at 1:30 PM, “Delta C”

"A sound KM strategy is essential to success. Whether you are just starting a KM program or you've been at it for years, you'll take away insight into how your colleagues have formulated or refreshed their KM strategies to optimal levels, and what did and didn't work."
Legal KM guru Sally Gonzalez of HBR Consulting joins Steven Lastres of Debevoise & Plimpton and ILTA KM blog contributor John Gillies of Cassels Brock in this panel moderated by Patrick DiDominico.
6.  KMPG6, "KM Helps Meet the ACC Value Challenge," Wednesday at 3:30 PM, "Delta C"
"The Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) has challenged law firms to better understand their clients’ business, be more efficient in their work, be more effective in training junior lawyers, and better budget and manage costs. Find out how knowledge management can help achieve these goals."

I'm moderating this session, the last of the track, which I previously posted about.  Panelists include  Mary Panetta of Crowell & Moring, Jeffrey Brandt of Clearspire, and Thomas Wisinski of Haynes Boone.
I look forward to seeing many ILTAns there! 


Knowledge Management and the ACC Value Challenge: ILTA Conference Discussion

10 Aug

Post By David Hobbie, ILTA KM PG

Conference is just two short weeks away.  There’s been some great conversation on this blog following John Albers’ guest post on Making An Impossible Engagement Possible, about a crowdsourced session on Monday August 22, and a lot already happening on Twitter and, now Google+ as well.  There will be a few more posts here about KM track sessions before conference, this being the first.

The last session of the KM track, “KM Helps Meet the ACC Value Challenge,” is taking place Wednesday August 24th at 3:30 PM in room “Delta C,” immediately before a cocktail reception sponsored by Recommind that will be in the same room.  No ogling the beers during our session please.  The Twitter hashtag for this session is #KMPG6.

The formal description:

The Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) has challenged law firms to better understand their clients’ business, be more efficient in their work, be more effective in training junior lawyers, and better budget and manage costs. Find out how knowledge management can help achieve these goals.

The panelists are Mary Panetta of Crowell & Moring, Jeffrey Brandt of Clearspire, and Thomas Wisinski of Haynes Boone.

I’ll be moderating, and providing an introduction to the ACC Value Challenge;  then, because this is such a potentially broad topic, we’ll be asking the audience to self-select into one of three discussion groups, which will carry on at the same time.  (This means you might have to move if you find yourself in a section of the room that will cover a topic you don’t care for as much as that in another section of the room.)

The three topics:

1.  Communication About Financial Information (discussion led by Mary)

One of the key values or goals of the challenge is enhanced communication between clients and firms about the goals and status (particularly but not exclusively monetary status) of matters.  What is KM’s role currently in enhancing client communication?  What should it be?

2. Communication Through Social Collaboration Tools (Jeff)

Another approach might be to “socialize” the work on the matter, such that activity like adding a document to a wiki platform kicks off a notification of a change.  Wikis also allow the team working on the matter to collaboratively develop status reports.  How can collaboration tools help internal teams add more value?  How can collaboration tools enhance communications and work relations between clients and law firms?

3.  “Core KM” and Enhanced Value (Tom)

The ACC Value challenge calls for the greater value to clients in part through creating greater incentives for more efficient legal work.  Substantive KM resources are an obvious way that matters teams can work more efficiently, but they can be hard (read:  expensive) to create and challenging to maintain.  How can firms overcome that challenge?  Is it possible to share the cost of value creation through “traditional” KM with the client?  When is the best time to invest in such resources?

After the three sets of discussions, we will resume “general session” and bring back to the whole audience the primary thoughts and lessons expressed in the sub-sessions.

I look forward to seeing you there and to your contributions to the discussion.


Making An Impossible Engagement Possible

26 Jul

Guest Post by John Alber, Strategic Technology Partner at Bryan Cave LLP

At the ILTA Conference in Nashville, at 1 PM on Monday August 22, Ayelette Robinson, Rudy DeFelice and I will be conducting a session called “Making An Impossible Engagement Possible.” It will be unlike most other sessions because it is our intention to crowdsource the content and run the session as a highly interactive Bar Camp.

We are beginning that process with a problem statement posted here. Our hope is to enlist a wide audience in the creative process of solving this problem and to conduct the preliminary brainstorming discussions in this forum, on Twitter and in a number of other social media venues. For Twitter, we’ll use the hash tags #ILTA11 #ORG2, which tie to the session number at conference. We’ll net up all the crowdsourced material during the session. It should be fun and informative.

Now, on to the problem statement. It’s derived from some very real engagements faced by firms around the country:

Your firm has had a long relationship with a major financial institution–Mega Mega Bank. As a consequence of the housing bubble bursting and the ensuing recession, the bank is dealing with a number of defaulted consumer and business loans. It’s facing hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits. Each suit is, on average, not a major matter, ranging from a few thousand to a few hundreds of thousands of dollars at risk. But collectively, they pose a significant expense to Mega Mega Bank.

Rather than asking the law firms that serve it for price estimates to do the lawsuits, the bank has set a not-to-exceed price for each suit. That price is extraordinarily aggressive. It is a fraction of the average your firm has been charging for such suits to date, and you regard your teams working on the suits as already quite lean, leveraged and efficient.

Your firm views the business with Mega Mega Bank as strategic and it has decided to do a portfolio of some hundreds of cases at the price proposed by the bank. The lawyers, project managers and technologists who will assist in handling these matters do not, at present, have any firm ideas how they will do the work to a high quality standard while, at the same time, controlling costs so as to make the engagements economically feasible.

Your job is to work with others on the team to find a way, or many ways, to accomplish high quality work at a much lower cost than has previously been possible. The firm will invest as necessary to preserve the relationship–within reason. But time is of the essence. The longer the team does business the old way, the more money the firm will lose.

What steps can the firm take immediately to meet its goals here? What steps can it take over the medium term? What technologies and process improvements can be brought to bear? What can the firm do to increase the likelihood of success? In thinking about this, don’t limit yourself to your area of expertise. Cross boundaries. And don’t limit yourself to conventional solutions. If a conventional solution worked already, the client wouldn’t be pressuring your firm for radical innovations.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions for solving this problem. Provide your input and begin the conversation in the Comments section here, or via Twitter by including #ILTA11 #ORG2 in your tweet.