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The Geography of Legal Innovation – Firms, People, Tech

14 Jun

Image by nugroho dwi hartawan from PixabayBy Gordon Vala-WebbBuilding Smarter Organizations

I was recently talking with Professor Dan Linna at Northwestern about his very provocative Legal Services Innovation Index. It is a “pilot project to create an index of legal-service delivery innovation” using “indicators of innovation on [260] law firm websites” (pulled using Google Advanced Search against those firms’ websites organised into categories and jurisdictions). It consists of both a catalogue of innovative offerings and an “Index” of innovation.

It made me wonder if this Index for firms matched two other possible indicators of innovation in the legal services / law practices industries across eight key jurisdictions (United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, and Canada):

Warnings

First, some apples-to-oranges caveats:

Apples and oranges on opposite ends of weigh scale Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
  • The time series don’t line up (the Innovation Index was done last year; Chin’s numbers are from February 2018; and my LinkedIn search was done just now)
  • The Innovation Index includes things like AFAs as an “innovation” (which may not map well to whether firms have an “Innovation” person or not)
  • LinkedIn’s “Law Practice” and “Legal Services” industries include people who are not with law firms; and, obviously, some people are almost certainly doing some innovation (maybe even a lot) without having it in their LinkedIn job title
  • Firms might have innovation people located in other jurisdictions (e.g. India) which wouldn’t be counted; and LinkedIn is not as widely used in certain jurisdictions (it is available, for example, in China – 50 million users – but is not as ubiquitous as in the US – 160 million).

However, I think the results are interesting – and possibly indicative of some intriguing patterns.

Firms are All Talk and No Action?

There is likely no surprise here for anyone seriously paying attention but there seems to be a mismatch between the Innovation Index – firms TALKING about innovative things on their website – and organisations having people to DO innovation. The correlation between the two (for the selected jurisdictions) is only 0.38.

A kinder explanation might be that, since the Innovation Index includes alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), the correlation would improve if we included job titles with “Pricing” or “AFA” or “Feedback” in them (click here for that LinkedIn list). I suspect the answer is a combination of both of these (look for my upcoming post on that).

High Correlation Between Titles and Tech Firms

Dart in center of target Image by Deedster from Pixabay

There is an extraordinary level of correlation – 0.93 (or near perfect!) – between the number of people with “innovation” in their titles in a jurisdiction and the number of legal tech firms in that country.

Of course correlation is never causation; I suspect that the causal arrow for both is coming from two sources:

  1. The growing willingness of clients to use their increasing legal-services purchasing power (pushing firms to make changes)
  2. The larger size and and greater operational sophistication of legal departments (whereby they become customers for the direct purchase of technology).

CLOC’s extraordinary growth – and the plethora of firms and tech companies attending their latest conference – is a telling example of both these phenomena.

Is China a Legal Innovation Leader?

The Innovation Index gives Chinese firms a score of 666.3 – which is almost as high as the US firms (at 671.7). But, looking at the other data sets, there are only two people in China with “innovation” in their titles and only one legal tech firm.

One explanation of that high Index score came to me from Norm Letalik, an immensely experienced law firm leader, who reminded me of how competitive the Chinese legal market is. This pressure comes not just from lawyers but other forms of legal services providers:

“the exclusivity enjoyed by legal professionals [in China], and the precise scope of activities to which it applies, are becoming unclear; and the existing regulations may face the risk of being circumvented”

Source: Jing Li, “The Legal Profession of China in a Globalized World,” International Journal of the Legal Profession

As to the very few people who have “innovation” titles, LinkedIn has struggled to get traction there (as has every Western company). Perhaps it is also that firms in China are “post-innovative” – with everyone doing it but no one having the title? Or perhaps the function is called something else?

And, seemingly, Stanford Law’s CodeX Techindex is significantly underestimating tech firms outside of North America such as those in China (one?!) and in the UK (see following section).

The United – Legal Tech – Kingdom!?

UK firms get an Innovation Index more than three times the US’ (and China’s) with a score of 2,068! And they have the highest ratio of “innovation” titles to any jurisdiction’s population (i.e. 2.35 to US’ 1.1). That would make the country the United – Legal Tech – Kingdom!

The UK legal market was early into privatization deals, and with London’s financial markets, has seen a lot of multi-jurisdictional work with high fee structures. That gave – at least the big firms there – the size and margins to help with the early adoption of innovative approaches. Potentially that early innovation lift was enhanced by the UK legal services market becoming open to alternative business structures (which provided at least a psychologically impetus for innovation if not also actual market pressure).

It also seems anomalous that the UK is reported to have less than one-tenth the number of legal tech firms as compared to the US (35 to 460 respectively); again, it seems (like China) that their legal tech firms are being under counted in the Techindex.

US Legal Tech is HUGE

Whatever the real count of legal tech firms, there is no doubt that the number of legal tech firms in the US is huge – 460. Canada is next largest at 52 (with UK in third place trailing – as noted above – at 35 tech firms). Whether it is the sheer size of the US tech capital markets, their effectiveness, or something in the water – whatever it is, it is working to generate lots and lots of legal tech.

Canada and Australia – Punching Above Their Weight?

Kangaroo Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Canada and Australia are pretty small jurisdictions relative to the US; but in both cases they seem to be punching above their weight:

  • Both have more people with innovation titles than you would expect relative to the US population (Australia has three times the number; and Canada almost twice the number)
  • Canada more than matches the US in the number of expected (i.e. adjusted for relative population size) legal tech firms; Australia trails with just half the number expected – perhaps more under-counting of tech firms outside of North America?

Of course Australia has pioneered alternative business structures for legal service delivery (click here for more) so perhaps their innovation (relative) people lead is not surprising. What might explain Canada’s legal tech strength? Could the world’s first legal tech incubator – Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Zone – be part of the explanation?

Change Over Time?

The most interesting question might one that cannot be answered right now: Is the rate of innovation accelerating? (And, if so, are the rates different for different countries?) We simply don’t have the time-series data that we would need to do that analysis.

Final Questions

  • What is happening in China in legal tech? Are there implications here for the rest of the world?
  • Should Americans pay more attention to legal tech developments in the UK (and also Australia and Canada)?
  • Could running the LinkedIn job title searches every six months provide a simple but effective innovation “velocity” metric?
  • What would it take to encourage Prof. Linna to revisit his Innovation Index? And let us all help CodeX LegalTech to build a more complete list (anyone can submit a legal technology company for inclusion).

Note: To see the raw calculations in Excel just send me your email address.

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Proposal Generation: Part of a Complete Marketing and Knowledge Management Solution

25 Apr

By Barry Solomon, Executive Vice President at Foundation Software Group 

When the marketing team is struggling under the weight of responding to RFP after RFP, it’s tempting to narrow your focus and look for a slimmed down, silver bullet application for generating pitches and proposals. However, firms that take the time to research their alternatives inevitably find they need a more robust solution that includes easy access to comprehensive experience, expertise, and client information.

That’s exactly what happened when I was CMO at Sidley Austin LLP. What started as a search for a proposal generation solution, resulted in the seeds of Foundation Software Group’s Firm Intelligence platform. Why? Because we found that what we needed as much or more than the proposal generation itself was easy access to all the experience and knowledge we had amassed at Sidley to materially differentiate our firm between the cover page and summary.

It also turns out that the data that sets your pitches, proposals, and awards and rankings submissions apart has a significant overlap with the information the Knowledge Management team is interested in compiling, indexing, and leveraging.

While KM might use this data to feed strategic decision making, locate firm expertise, manage experiences, find relevant matters to support pricing analysis, or make enterprise search more efficient and effective, Marketing can also leverage the data to help integrate lateral hires, identify cross selling opportunities, and drive client development efforts, in addition to generating those proposals.

View the recent ILTA webinar entitled, The Latest in Pitch Generation, where I talk about how and why taking a holistic approach to knowledge management and business development solutions can ultimately result in not only better proposals, but also improve the business and practice of law at your firm as well.

Building Better Bridges: 12 Ways Knowledge Management and Library Teams Can Leverage Marketing and Business Development

19 Mar

orange and white bridgeBy Rachel Shields Williams, Senior Manager, Experience Management, at Sidley Austin

When people think of the marketing department in a law firm, they often think of events and client gifts. But in reality, it’s a team of people who often have MBAs, master’s degrees in communications, and similar advanced degrees working to move the firm’s strategic plans forward—and they’re often an untapped resource for the knowledge management (KM) and library services teams.

Gone are the days that the marketing department planned your parties and ordered conference swag. These functions still happen, but they’re driven by data and measured against targets. Now marketing staff also coach the firm’s lawyers on how to win and develop business in a systematic and repeatable fashion, help shape firm priorities with data-based decisions and insights, and lead major changes in how lawyers communicate—customer relationship management (CRM), anyone?

But how can they help KM professionals? In many ways, depending on the skill sets in your marketing team. Below are just a few suggestions of how you can take advantage of the skill set and expertise within your marketing departments.

1. Skills Coaching and Training Opportunities

Practicing lawyers get conflicted out of training all the time, and the marketing team is often tasked with filling those seats. So, if you’re looking to polish your persuasion skills or other professional skills, talk to marketing. They’re the subject-matter experts on communicating and building relationships and are often aware of firm resources that you can leverage to build your next pitch for a new idea.  Consider asking marketing to help you craft better elevator pitches and perfect your presentations.

2. Practice Group Strategy and Priorities

The marketing team has a front-row seat for a practice’s priorities. Here’s a sampling of what they know:

  • what industries they’re pitching and winning business from;
  • what questions clients are asking;
  • what trends they’re seeing from competitors;
  • whether the practice is focused on developing new business or on raising its image in a market;
  • where they decided to focus the budget this year, whether it’s attending a conference or traveling to visit clients; and
  • much more.

Reach out to marketing to get a better understanding of what the priorities are at the personal and practice level so that you can tailor research or select and promote resources more effectively.

3. Strategy

Not only does the marketing team help execute the practice’s or the firm’s business development strategies, but it also crafts those strategies. Today’s marketing department is skilled at facilitating strategic plans at the firm, practice, and individual level. Your firm’s marketers can share these best practices and help your department design tactics that are measurable and actionable. You can set the right priorities for your department, and are more likely to get purchase approval if you can show how a big project or resource fits into the practice or firm strategy.

4. Relationships

Marketing typically works very closely with lawyers on a variety of projects near and dear to them. Given this close working relationship, the marketing team is well positioned to share subtler details about the lawyers it’s interacted with. For example, marketers often know whether a lawyer prefers morning meetings or likes to leave by 4 pm to have dinner with their family. Marketing also plays the role of a listening ear when collaborating with and coaching lawyers, and those conversations give marketing teams valuable perception of lawyers’ needs and wants as well. Knowing how and when to reach out to a partner may expedite the approval or adoption process for new tools and services.

5. Clients

We’re the keepers of client feedback, both formal and informal. Marketing professionals run formal client feedback programs, and from those insights, we help develop and execute key client programs, including retention and growth plans. Additionally, we gather informal information by holding debriefs with clients when we do and don’t win business to understand what worked and what didn’t; we also collect data as we work with them on award submissions and charitable events. Because of these collaborative activities, marketing builds relationships with all types of people within clients.  A KM department, for example, may be able to offer client-facing solutions if they are better aware of client needs.

6. Communication

When you’re rolling out a new technology or an upgrade to a system, talk to your marketing department. By the nature of our jobs, we stay up-to-date on the best way to raise awareness, we create targeted and meaningful messaging that drives behavior, and we know how to communicate these changes effectively. Do you need an FAQ, a step-by-step guide, or an email campaign? Do you know who is best to deliver the messaging? Do you need different messages for different users? Or perhaps this is a major incentive that needs branding and collateral. Call your marketing department and leverage the subject-matter experts.

7. Digital Marketing

Are you trying to raise your department’s profile in the industry or write a blog post? Talk to your digital communication team for the best tips on writing content for a blog vs. posting on LinkedIn vs. trying to write an article for a third-party publication. They’re also a great resource for tips on crafting your LinkedIn profile so it positions you as a leader in your space.

8. Promotion

Are you designing cutting-edge solutions that are solving clients’ problems? Talk to marketing about how to promote this work in your firm so you can replicate it for other clients. And make sure your marketing team shares the potential benefits of your work with prospective clients via pitches, RFPs, rankings and awards, and other communications. KM and Library professionals bring valuable skills and resources to the firm, and many clients are unaware of the cost savings, efficiencies and other benefits they provide.

9. Surveys

The marketing department sends a lot of surveys to internal and external clients on a variety of topics, including feedback on educational programs, client satisfaction, content, and the like. They’re skilled in how to ask and design questions that solicit meaningful and actionable feedback from respondents.

10. Laterals

Marketing is the welcoming committee for new laterals. We help integrate them and their clients into the firm and their new practices. We also play matchmaker with other lawyers across the firm to help grow the bottom line. During this time, we get great insight into their old firm and how it did things, what they miss, and why they decided to make the switch.

11. Expertise Identification

Marketing often keeps or creates representative deal lists, lawyer biographies, and is responsible for CRM systems.  When KM or Library needs to find an internal expert, Marketing may be able to suggest people best suited to evaluate a new library database, profile a deal or document for a KM repository, or just explain a particular legal concept in a pinch.

12. Branding

Branding is key to promoting new ideas. So, when you want to use the firm logo or branding, check in with marketing. They know the latest legal advertising rules and firm policies around when, where, and how you can promote the firm or how others can promote their relationships with the firm. Internally, they can help design custom logos, signature lines or tag lines to brand your department or products.

BONUS – Change Management

When marketing teams succeed, they’re winning the hearts and minds of people, getting them to do something that they would not have done in the normal course of things. And what is change management but a battle to convince the hearts and minds of lawyers to do something different? It could be a new way of communicating with clients, implementing new programs like client feedback, or embracing a new technology like CRM systems. So, collaborating with your marketing team on new releases could lead to faster implementation and adoption.

These are just a few recommendations of new ways that you can work with your marketing departments. Just remember that we’re all on the same team, so we should take advantage of each other’s special skill sets.

We also encourage you to read the fantastic blog entitled 12 Ways Marketing & Business Development Can Leverage Library & Knowledge Management Teams.”

Data Analytics Series Coming to ILTACON 2018

16 Aug

abstract art blur bright

By Steve Lastres of Debevoise & Plimpton (ILTACON Education Committee facilitator), Andrew Baker and Karl Haraldsson of HBR Consulting

What is my legal exposure in this case? How much should I settle for? What’s market for this contractual provision? These are examples of key questions clients ask, and the answer from their lawyer is usually subjective in nature. To paraphrase Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase, the industry is far too reliant on “hunches” and too light on data and statistical responses. As firms seek to modernize and respond to evolving client expectations, the data use environment is changing. That should not be surprising, as the use of data in virtually every other industry is on the rise.

In response to the increasing activity and interest in the crossroads of law, data, and strategy, ILTA has composed a four-part Data Analytics Series. Each session in this series is designed to showcase new perspectives, real examples of success in our industry, and fresh stories from those who are putting in the hard yards.

In Session 1, Data Analytics in Law: A Primer, Ed Walters will kick things off. On the tail of releasing his book, Data-Driven Law, Ed will lay the groundwork for all four sessions. He’ll describe what data analytics is, why it is important to the legal industry, and how it will change the way lawyers ply their trade. Ed’s session will be on Monday, August 20th at 1:00 PM. You won’t want to miss it.

Session 2, Building and Institutionalizing Data Analytics Capabilities Within Legal, is all about what it takes to establish analytics capabilities within a law firm. The format will be casual and the discussion organic. Aaron Crews (Chief Data Analytics Officer, Littler Mendelson), Peter Geovanes (Head of Data Strategy and Legal Analytics, Winston Strawn), and Bennett Borden (Chief Data Scientist, Drinker Biddle & Reath) will answer our questions and yours, covering everything from how they got there to the focus of their efforts and beyond. This won’t be a theoretical session. Instead, our three guests will concentrate on concrete actions, lessons and accomplishments that have served them well. Session 2 will be on Tuesday, August 21st at 11:30 AM.

Session 3 will be nerdy but approachable. Analytics can seem impenetrable, but getting started is as easy as counting. HBR Consulting’s Andrew Baker and Karl Haraldsson will lead you through a Data Analytics Bootcamp Blitz. You’ll learn how to explore data, visualize trends and patterns, and even create predictive models using R, an open source statistical analytics program. R is a core statistical programming language that’s heavily used in data science, and we want to get you started using one of the most powerful tools out there. We’ll be using the website Kaggle as our “laboratory” for this class. If you want to get a head start, you can check out the Notebook here. You don’t need to run through the whole vignette, but we’ve linked to some online articles and interactive lessons that might be helpful to look at ahead of time. If you know you’re going to attend the bootcamp, go ahead and create a Kaggle account so that you can follow along in person. This will be a 90 minute session on Wednesday, August 22nd at 3:30 PM. Be there or be square.

Session 4, Advanced Data Analytics in Legal, will be special. Unlike the other sessions in the Data Analytics Series, this hour will focus entirely on three groundbreaking data projects in the legal industry. Mike Nogroski of Chapman & Cutler will talk about how his firm is using text analytics to streamline document review and provide insights on the transactional side. Raul Taveras of General Motors will walk attendees through GM’s use of descriptive and predictive analytics to support lawyer awareness, litigation strategy and decision-making. We’re ecstatic about this talk, and we can’t wait for our speakers to paint a picture that shows some of the art of the possible. Session 4 will be on Thursday, August 23rd at 2:00 PM.

This is the first Data Analytics Series of its type at ILTACON. Data analytics has already broken through at some legal organizations, and there is much more to come. We hope that this series will resonate with the community, arming it with knowledge it can use well beyond this year’s conference.

Looking forward to seeing you there,

Andrew Baker (Data Analytics Series moderator), Karl Haraldsson (Data Analytics speaker) and Steve Lastres (ILTACON Education Committee facilitator)

 

ILTACON 2018—Sessions of Interest to Knowledge Management Professionals

13 Aug

iltacon2018By Deborah S. Panella, Director of Research & Knowledge Services at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and Sharon Lee, Knowledge Management Specialist at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

ILTACON 2018 kicks off in Washington, DC, in less than one week.  We reviewed the Conference Session Grid and curated a list of sessions that may be of particular interest to KMers.  Note that in addition to the sessions we highlighted, there are many others on Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Innovation, Leadership, Training and more, so be sure to review the full agenda, including the Business Partner Education sessions.  We encourage you to share which sessions you plan to attend in the comment section below.

Sunday, August 19

Arriving on Sunday? Get a head start at ILTACON by joining other KMers at the Knowledge Managers Collaboration Kickoff (4:00 – 5:30 PM). Collaboration series description:

Knowledge Managers – your connection and collaboration journey starts here. A facilitator and ILTA members will lead you through this interactive Collaboration Kickoff. You will make connections with peers and discuss common issues. Wine and Beer are provided, sponsored by Traveling Coaches.

Monday, August 20

Lisa Bodell, Founder and CEO of futurethink, will kick off the educational sessions with her keynote, KILL THE COMPANY: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution (9:00 AM to 10:30 AM).  Keynote description:

Winning innovators embrace change — do you? What holds you back from better innovating, every day? In too many organizations, we’re stuck in the land of status quo. We’ve forgotten how to think differently, and lack the simple tools to solve problems creatively. The very structures put in place to help organizations grow are now holding us back. This keynote is an inspirational call to arms: to start a revolution in how we think and how we work.

11:00 AM to Noon

Begin your ILTACON journey with the first KM-focused session, New Frontiers in Enterprise Search, featuring Richard Krzyminski, Chief Knowledge Management Officer at Baker Donelson, Todd Friedlich, Sr. Manager of KM Technology and Innovation at Ropes & Gray, and Simon Pecovnik of iManage. Session description:

Enterprise search is a mature industry. Or is it? Come and see what the future holds for enterprise search and learn why firms are migrating from tools that have served them well for years. Will the promise of AI improve search for your users? Will enterprise search play a bigger role in how your firm practices law in the future, expanding far beyond merely helping your users locate documents, matters and expertise? Come to this session and find out!

Additional sessions of interest:

  • The Evolving World of Client Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Blockchain 101: It’s not Just Crypto-Currency (Blockchain Series Part 1/4)

1:00 – 2:00 PM

The session, Data Analytics in Law: A Primer, is the first of four sessions in the Data Analytics Series featuring Edward Walters of Fastcase. Session description:

Data Analytics is emerging as a powerful tool for lawyers and legal organizations. Experts will talk through what data analytics is and how it can be applied to the practice of law. Hear about what’s happening, what’s possible, and how it can reward those who invest in this area.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Where is Artificial Intelligence Making a Big Difference? featuring a panel, including Bill Koch, CKO at Womble Bond Dickinson
  • Pitch Perfect: Masterful Pitches to Get Buy-in for Your Next Project featuring a panel, including Patrick DiDomenico, CKO at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
  • Leveraging the Power of the Cloud for Innovation

2:30 – 3:30 PM

The session, Me, Myself, and I: Starting, Sustaining, and Focusing a KM Department of One, targets KMers at small to mid-sized firms, but offers takeaways for a wider audience. This session features Danielle Miller-Olofsson, CKO at BCF LLP, Kathryn McRae, Director of Research and KM Services at Hawkins, Delafield & Wood, and Thao Tran, KM Manager at Fried Frank. Session description:

Knowledge management (KM) is key for any law firm or legal department looking to leverage and organize existing resources to achieve greater things. However, those who are in KM are often frustrated by a lack of resources to achieve what are sometimes rather lofty goals. In this session, we will discuss ways that you can get real results by leverage existing resources, the support of other teams, and little-to-no-cost technologies. And because there’s more than one way to “skin the KM cat”, we will also review strategies from firm-wide initiatives, to practice groups, to client-facing KM. The speakers will discuss positives and negatives to each approach, how to align your KM goals with that of your organization, and how a small KM department can make a big impact.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Closing the Gap Between IT and Attorneys to Solve Client Problems featuring a panel, including Ginevra Saylor, National Director of KM at Dentons
  • How to Start an Innovation Initiative at Your Law Firm (Innovation Series, Part 1/3)
  • Emerging Challenges to Law Firm Dominance: Trends in Legal Service Providers, Competition and Capacity

4:00 – 5:00 PM

Wrap up the first day of the conference with the second collaboration session, Knowledge Managers Collaborate, to work through some of your pain points.

Tuesday, August 21

Start today with Tuesday’s keynote, Crossing Intersections – Dramatic Shifts in Legal Services, a panel discussion featuring Daniel W. Linna Jr., Visiting Professor of Law at Northwestern Law, Affiliated Faculty at Stanford CodeX, John Elbasan, CIO at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, John Fernandez, Global Chief Innovation Officer at Dentons, and Zabrina Jenkins, Managing Director at Starbucks (9:00 – 10:00 A.M.).  Session description:

This keynote panel will represent diverse perspectives, addressing questions related to the continuing evolution of legal services delivery: the dynamic, conflicted, symbiotic ecosystems of law firms and their clients in developing new legal service delivery models; the interplay of skills development and changing job roles; discussions and insights into forces and challenges currently at play or on the horizon. 

11:30 – 12:30 PM

The session, Legal Innovation Case Studies With Real Impact, is the second of three sessions in the Innovation Series.  This session features Mara Nickerson, CKO at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and Camille Reynolds, Sr. Director of Knowledge & Innovation Delivery at Fenwick & West.  Session description:

With so much buzz around “innovation”, you’ve got to wonder what it really means for you and the future of the legal profession.  Join us to learn by example as experienced innovators share the ups and downs of legal innovation and how they made real impacts in their organizations.  Speakers will discuss client development wins, case outcomes and operational efficiencies, as well as demystify the questions around the tools that really helped them to move the needle (and those that didn’t).

Additional sessions of interest:

  • How to Make a Smart Choice for Law Firm Experience Management
  • Collaboration on Platform Strategies: How They Overlap and How to Use Them Effectively
  • Governing the AI Revolution

1:30 – 2:30 PM

KM collaboration between corporate law departments and law firms has been a hot topic. The session, Legal Operations and Law Firm KM Collaborations, addresses this topic head on and features Vivian Liu-Somers, Director of KM at Liberty Mutual, Holly Hanna, Intranet Manager at Perkins Coie, and Rob MacAdam of HighQ. Session description:

This session will address elements of successful law department and law firm Knowledge Management (KM) collaboration. For effective collaboration, law firms must understand the varying nature of their legal operations colleagues’ technological and business landscape, and how it differs dramatically from a typical law firm.  Come to this session and learn what is valuable for legal operations professionals to know from the law firm KM toolkit, how to reach out and partner with them, and typical areas for successful collaboration.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • DMS Migration: Critical Considerations for the Successful Adoption of a New DMS
  • Marketing Professionals Roundtable
  • Auto-Classification is Real: Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

3:30 – 5:00 PM

The final KM-focused session of the day, If You Build It, Will They Communicate? Driving Social Collaboration, features Scott Reid, Director of KM and Practice Innovation at Bryan Cave, Jennifer Bel Antaki, L&E Attorney at Cuatrecasas, and Stuart Barr of HighQ. Session description:

Maybe you’ve been to sessions about and seen the social collaboration technology. You’re excited about what the tech can do and maybe you even have a platform in your organization already. But what if – oh no! – few people really use it? This session will cover how to determine if social collaboration is right for your organization, and if it is how to build the business case, design enticing collaboration spaces, and how you can convince people in your organization to move their conversations into a virtual space.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Legal Project Management Workshop
  • Innovative Use of Technology Inside Corporate Legal Departments
  • From the ‘End of Lawyers’ to ‘The Re-Birth of Law’ (Women Who Lead panel)

Wednesday, August 22

The third keynote, Leading Innovation – Stories of Perspective, Persistence and Patience, features a panel, including Scott Rechtschaffen, CKO at Littler Mendelson (9:00 – 10:00 AM). Keynote description:

This keynote session will focus on the behavioral aspects of leading innovation in the legal environment, facilitated by a cross-industry expert in design and innovation. Included are stories of perseverance and the human moments that led to success, even with bumps and challenges along the way. Takeaways will include practical methods for advocating for change projects and first-hand stories of successes in accomplishing innovation in small or large ways.

11:30 – 12:30 PM

The KM-focused session, Successfully Implementing Law Firm Experience Management, features Stacy Pangilinan, Sr. Manager of Knowledge Solutions at DLA Piper, Keith Lipman of Prosperoware, Barry Solomon of Foundation Software Group, Keith Wewe of Content Pilot LLC, and Steve Warmerdam of Intapp. Session description:

This product-agnostic session will address how to create a successful experience database, whether you are preparing to start from scratch, moving to a new platform, or just want to improve the system you currently use. From data cleansing basics to trend analysis, learn how to get value beyond generic pitch responses.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Beyond the Hour: Starting and Supporting a Technology or Alternative Legal Services Side Business featuring a panel, including Jason Dirkx, KM Counsel at Littler Mendelson
  • Wake Up Law Firms: Data Gathering and Sharing by GCs

1:30 – 2:30 PM

This time slot consists of two KM-focused sessions:

Serving Up Tools Clients Really Want, featuring Sukesh Kamra, National Director of KM at Norton Rose Fulbright, Amy Monaghan, Practice Innovations Manager at Perkins Coie, and Jason Jones, Head of Technology Solutions at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Session description:

Firms need to innovate and leverage technology to stay competitive in today’s legal market – there is no doubt about that. Clients often ask for a lot when it comes to technology, and firms will bend over backwards to offer all of the latest and greatest, from extranets and AIs to dashboards and more. But are clients interested in every bit of legal technology available? And will the tools offered really help them? In this session, hear from thought leaders in firm innovation and client service as they discuss what really matters most to clients, how firms and clients can combine forces to identify the best solutions, and what firms need to do to provide consistently excellent service across the board.  You might walk away saying, “I didn’t know clients felt that way!”

A Whirlwind Tour of the Hits and Hyperbole in Legal Research, Workflow, and Other Products, featuring Steven Lastres, Director of KM at Debevoise & Plimpton, and Jean O’Grady, Sr. Director of Research & Knowledge Services at DLA Piper. Session description:

There are a multitude of practice support and collaboration products and apps available with new ones arriving on what can seem like a daily basis. Many of these products tout features and functionality designed to help lawyers and law firm staff work smarter and more efficiently. Filtering out the hype can seem like an insurmountable task. A panel of industry experts will rapid fire through the latest new practice area specific applications. Within two minutes you’ll learn something about one of a minimum of thirty newer and more popular products and leave with data that can be used to help make the decision about which will work for you and, perhaps more importantly, which won’t.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Best Practices for Evaluating and Implementing Legal Technologies featuring a panel, including Jessica Hackett, Director of Online Services – KM at Baker Donelson
  • The Right Tool for the Right Change: Practical Approaches to Change

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

The last KM-focused session of the day, Succeeding With Document Automation, features Silvia Leblanc, Director of KM at Morgan Lewis, Mickey Lloyd, Sr. Software Analyst at DLA Piper, Angela Banegas, Practice Automation Specialist at Cooley, and Barron Henley of Affinity Consulting Group. Session description:

Hear from organizations that have successfully implemented and sustained document automation projects. Learn best practices for structuring the project to ensure success and manage growth, how to maintain ongoing engagement and adoption by attorneys, and how document automation can be integrated with other systems, processes and workflows for even greater utility.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Emerging Roles in Legal Technology featuring a panel, including Philip Bryce, Global Director of KM at Mayer Brown
  • How Chatbots are Changing the Way We Work

Thursday, August 22

9:00 – 10:00 AM

Start off the final day of the conference with the KM-focused session, How Knowledge Management is Achieving its Goals in a Security-Centric World, featuring Gwyn McAlpine, Director of KM Services at Perkins Coie, Jessica Marlette, Sr. Content Governance Lawyer at White & Case, and Ian Raine of iManage. Session description:

Facing pressures to increase data security, more firms are considering the move to a “pessimistic” document management system. How can knowledge management (KM) achieve its collaboration and information-sharing goals when access to client/matter documents is restricted? Learn how firms are rethinking their document-based KM strategy, finding alternatives to the traditional model of sourcing precedents, and trying to strike a balance between security and access to information.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • Expectations of Outside Counsel: A General Counsel Perspective

11:15 – 12:15 PM

The final session recommended for KMers is Leveraging Technology to Harness Data and Drive Efficiency in Your Firm, featuring Meredith L. Williams-Range, Chief Knowledge & Client Value Officer at Sherman & Sterling, Glenn LaForce of Aderant, and Joe Breda of Bloomberg Law. Session description:

How are you enabling efficient access to research data and other relevant information within your firm to stay competitive and drive business? Firms focusing on improving access are seeing significant costs savings in addition to productivity gains.  During this session, learn how the paradigm is shifting to a model where firms are creating an agnostic legal research platform that surfaces commingled results from all providers to create a more efficient and effective lawyer.  Hear how legal research can be automatically pushed to the user based upon matter type and queried through enterprise search.

Additional sessions of interest:

  • “It’s the People, Stupid!” Low Cost Innovation Without a Tech-Centric Focus
  • Voice and Legal Practice: Current and Future State

2:00 – 3:00 PM

There are no KM-focused sessions during this time slot.  Sessions that may be of interest to KMers include:

  • Artificial Intelligence Beyond the Hype
  • Advanced Data Analytics in Legal – Tales from Teams Tackling Big Ideas in Analytics (Data Analytics Series Part 4/4)
  • Conflicts and Matter Intake Best Practices: Accelerating the Process and Reducing Risks

3:30 – 5:00 PM

Conclude your ILTACON 2018 experience by attending the final collaboration session, Knowledge Management Share ILTACON Takeaways, to reflect on the takeaways from the week and discuss gaps.

Note to First-Timers

Are you a first-time attendee? Be sure to review the following resources to ensure that you have a successful conference experience:

Tips for First-Timers

First Timers Tips for a Rewarding Conference Experience (webinar featuring David Hobbie, Director of KM at Goodwin)

We look forward to meeting you at the conference!

Enterprise Search – a 2018 Round-Up

25 Jun

close up of text on wood

By Amy Halverson, Director of Knowledge Management, Research & Information Services, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

More than ten years have passed since enterprise search hit large law firm KM radars in a big way.   Much has changed since then – the technology, the providers, and perhaps most critically, law firm content repositories.  These changes appear to be pushing enterprise search back onto law firms’ to-do lists.  The topic is appearing more frequently in ILTA programming, as illustrated by the recent, and highly recommended, ILTA webinar entitled Enterprise Search Tool Stories, in which three law firms walk through the processes and choices that went into enterprise search upgrades.  The 2018 KM Priorities survey issued annually by Ron Friedmann also shows enterprise search/information governance to be a higher priority for firms than in recent years, with over 45% of large law firm respondents identifying it as a top priority for the year.

Given the above, we thought this would be a good time to look at where things stand now with law firm enterprise search, and to spotlight some of the considerations that arise when upgrading or changing out an enterprise search platform, as opposed to installing one for the first time.  This overview provides a high-level view of the enterprise search landscape, and is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of enterprise search products, providers, or feature sets.  We welcome input in the comment section from readers who have additional information and perspectives to share on the topic.

Types of Search Products and Their Functions

By way of background, the term “enterprise search” in large law firms has broadly been used to describe an internal search application that delivers relevant information to end users from more than one enterprise information repository (such as a document management system, an HR database, and a client-matter system), via a keyword query in a single search box, and that offers users the ability to target specific content within an initial search result using categorical filters, similar to the experience of consumer online shopping platforms.

In talking to peers about their recent experiences with enterprise search projects, Lisa Gianakos of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman aptly observed that today there are at least three flavors of search technology products:

  • Search Engines with UIs
  • Search Engines
  • Search UIs

Search engine with UI is your all-in-one tool that provides the technology and the user interface packaged together.  OpenText Decisiv is an example of such a tool that can work out of the box with little customization, although many firms do elect to modify the end-user experience and extend the native search features.  iManage Insight also fits into this category, as it can be used for different DMS’s and has an out-of-the-box UI.

Search engines are the tools that actually power the search, but which have no standard UI or a limited UI and few means to customize.  SharePoint Search (formerly FAST) is one example.

Search UIs are the services that can be used in tandem with the search engine and act as facilitative connectors that deliver the results of the search engine to the user.  SharePoint Search + Handshake is an example of such a combination.  SharePoint powers the search index, while Handshake gives the firm the ability to customize what and how results are delivered and displayed.

Finally, there is the native DMS search.  iManage offers an IDOL-powered search, though with its next release (10.2) it will offer its customers the option of having either IDOL or RAVN-powered search.  NetDocuments relies on Solr, and SharePoint on, well, SharePoint.

Examples of search technology types by product name.

A. Halverson_ table_blog

Requirements

In speaking to KMers who are, or have recently undertaken an overhaul of their firm’s enterprise search systems, I asked what new features their users have really liked or found to be valuable.  Here are a few that you might consider including in a requirements document:

  • Integrated search box that allows users to search intranet content alongside documents and other content repositories
  • Natural language search queries
  • Guided, predictive search that produces easy-to-read top results and pre-programmed best bets
  • Preview view for individual search results
  • Export search results for matters and people to Excel
  • Ability to contextualize intranet content pages by inserting pre-formed search queries that “publish” to the page

If your firm is considering a change or upgrade in its enterprise search system, the first requirement should be that the replacement do at least as much as the current one.  Either track down the requirements that were drawn up for the existing system, or start from scratch.  Does your search allow users to multi-select categories?   Make it a requirement.  Do your users have the ability to preview the source document?  Share or save searches?  Toggle from one data source to another?  Be painstaking; don’t assume anything.   Once you have those requirements listed, build on them to add the new capabilities you want.

Other Considerations

Requirements should extend beyond just the search tool features to include functional needs and dependencies as well.  For instance, if you intend to index intranet html and/or SharePoint pages that include stub pages and non-substantive content, make sure the index can filter out the non-substantive content, because otherwise they will appear in search results and overwhelm legitimate, useful search results.

Other considerations relate to the services provided by the vendor(s) you engage.  When selecting a provider, remember to:

  • Confirm the provider’s level of technical support, and the terms/cost of engaging professional services for improvements
  • For Search UI providers, confirm that the provider offers out-of-the-box templates that are based on experience and feedback received from prior customers. Also confirm that the provider regularly iterates its product based on experience gained from prior installations.
  • Ask about their work process, how do they plan for and implement feature enhancements; what is its typical release cycle. Ask to see the product roadmap and hear how upgrades are deployed.

Should you not have the resources or inclination to undertake the project on your own, your firm can consider engaging a consultant to help you, whether for specific aspects of the project, such as doing user interviews and drafting a resulting requirements definition, to aspects such as technology assessment, solution design and implementation, end-user training, and internal marketing and adoption.

Pre- and Post-Project Tips

Before embarking on a search upgrade, examine the state of your firm’s DMS metadata.  You may want to clean it up before using in a search index (garbage in = garbage out), or may elect to extract metadata  (entity extraction).

After launching your new search, use analytics to assist with adoption and track problems.  Monitor user activity, flag abandoned searches, and follow up with the users to find out what they were trying to find.  This will allow you both to spot functional problems and to do targeted training for users who struggle to use search effectively.  Use reports are also a rich source of clues for what to program as “best bet” search results to particular query strings.

New Flavors

Despite the advances of the past ten years, enterprise search has not changed fundamentally in how it is used – an attorney types in a description of the thing she wants to find.  But in coming years it seems likely that chatbots and voice-activated tools like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant will be adapted for the enterprise and used to deliver results of certain types of searches.  In fact, one firm I spoke to, Foley & Lardner LLP, is already developing a chatbot search that is enabled for Alexa voice commands (Charlotte Logullo describes this briefly in the ILTA webinar noted above, Enterprise Search Tool Stories).   So if your firm is not ready to take on an enterprise search overhaul, but does want to improve the efficiency of retrieving certain types of information, a chatbot may be worth consideration.

 

Thank you to Charlotte Logullo of Foley & Lardner LLP, Rick Krzyminski of Baker Donelson, and Lisa Gianakos of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for sharing their valuable insights and experiences with me for this posting, and to Joshua Fireman of Fireman & Co. for contributing to the list of search providers.

What Are You Ingesting and Will You Digest It For Me?

22 May

blur-books-close-up-159866By Deborah S. Panella, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

I recently stumbled upon a web post, 50 Popular Business Books Summarized in One Sentence Each, and appreciated authors Drake Baer and Mike Nudelman’s ability to synthesize entire books so succinctly.  For example, about Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: “[t]here are six universal principals that determine if people will change behavior – reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.”  Okay, so one sentence is sometimes more like a teaser, but the list helped me decide which books to explore in greater depth.  It also made me realize how much I value recommendations from – and summaries by – peers.   Several selections are shared below.

Stephanie Abbott, Director, Janders Dean (Australia):

“I’m currently (re) reading an oldie but a goodie – Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. A title with “checklist” in it might not normally scream “page-turner,” but the first time I read it back in 2011, this one was so compelling I actually stayed up until it was finished. I find this book even more relevant now amidst the hype and ever-escalating promise of legal technology. It’s handy to remember that, sometimes, all you need to make major improvements is to think about what you’re doing.

This book traces the origins of the process checklist through real (and at times, hair-raising) stories: starting with the evolution of the aviation industry then branching out into operating theatres, disaster recovery, investment banking and construction, to name a few. It’s a great reminder that processes too fiendishly complex for one human or a team of humans stay on top of can still be managed and improved without resorting to magic bullets or billion dollar investments. All it requires is some intelligence, diligence and empowering the right people with a simple, no-tech solution. Sound attractive? You betcha.”

Marlene Gebauer, Director of Knowledge Solutions, Greenberg Traurig (US):

“I read a blog post on Knoco Stories on knowledge documents versus project documents, and I thought Nick Milton laid out the differences very nicely.  There is a difference between the knowledge workstream and the project workstream and both serve different purposes.  Documents in the project workstream serve the purpose of completing the project and their lifecycle revolves around the project.  Knowledge documents are not tied to a project, but are applied across an organization and have an extended lifespan.  The two types of documents can be linked; there may be best practices or examples that come out of a project and that can be absorbed into the knowledge base.  I found the distinction interesting because there is sometimes a misconception that these documents and workstreams overlap or are the same when they are not.”

Mara Nickerson, Chief Knowledge Officer, Osler (Canada):

“I recommend the podcast, Here is Why All Your Projects are Late and What To Do About It. If you have been in KM for more than … hmmm … 6 months, then you have had a project take longer than you thought, and I am guessing all of you have had projects go over budget (if you haven’t then please give me a call as I would like to hire you). Assuming you are not some kind of project management savant, then you should listen to this Freakonomics podcast.

The central theme of the podcast is the planning fallacy – a tendency to underestimate the time it will take to complete a project, despite knowing that similar projects have typically taken longer in the past. The speakers on this podcast posit that planning fallacy stems from a combination of the optimism bias and coordination neglect. The first being our tendency to idealize and over simplify when we are planning.  The latter, being our tendency to underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to coordinate activities and communication across a team. (Reinforcing my belief that if I could just do the work all on my own I would get it done on time!).

So what can you do to overcome the planning fallacy? The primary answer seems to be – look at the data!  (I suspect most of you are not surprised.)  When we are doing a budget for project X, ignore the specifics of project X and instead use reference class forecasting. Look back at similar projects and see how much they cost and how long they took.

The planning fallacy isn’t a new concept and many of you may have read the Harvard Business Review article on the Planning Fallacy and the Innovators Dilemma. But I found this a really interesting podcast to consider not just with respect to my KM projects but to reinforce for our lawyers the importance of data on past matters to support budgeting and pricing efforts for legal matters.

Check it out on Freakonomics Radio, available through iTunes.”

Deborah Panella, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (US):

“I was recently drawn to a book’s title: Best Practices are Stupid, by Stephen M. Shapiro.  The author, an ‘innovation advisor,’ offers 40 short chapters, each covering a tip to avoid innovation failures.  Some chapters, like ‘Simplification is the Best Innovation,’ need no explanation, while others are more substantive.  Each chapter ends with a quote, including this one which will surely resonate with KM professionals: “We often hear the expression ‘Build it and they will come,’ but with innovation, a more accurate statement is ‘Eliminate a pain and they will come.’”  Shapiro advises readers to manage their innovation portfolios much like your investment portfolios – with a balance of Incremental Innovation (safe bets that are relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, and sure to yield positive results), Adaptive Innovation (relatively easy changes from a technical perspective, but possibly difficult to drive adoption), Technical Innovation (where the need is clear but the solution is technically complex and challenging), and Radical Innovation (both technically complex and with a high level of adoption uncertainty).

Given most law firms’ and law departments’ budget and staffing challenges, few KM and Innovation professionals have an active project portfolio with such a mix.  Instead, we must prioritize the winning projects – by identifying the difference between ideas that are duds and those that are worthy of time and investment.  This is surely one reason that ILTA’s recent workshops and 2017 program on Sustainable KM: Turning Treadmills into Windmills (featuring Mary Abraham and Chris Boyd) were so popular.”

 As for reading foundations and keeping up with hot topics and identifying what to read, several peers provided useful recommendations.

Mary Abraham, Instructor, Master of Science Program in Information and Knowledge Strategy, Columbia University (US):

“I have two recommendations: Working Knowledge by Davenport & Prusak is a classic that everyone in KM should read — several times. I’d also be happy to pass on a recommendation for my blog: AboveandBeyondKM.com. I’ve been writing about KM and the legal industry for 10 years so there’s a terrific archive of useful information for my readers.”

Chris Boyd, Senior Director of Professional Services, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (US):

Some of my favorite blogs are: 3 Geeks and a Law, Above and Beyond KM, Above the Law, Adam Smith, Esq. and Strategic Legal Technology.

Patrick DiDomenico, Chief Knowledge Officer, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (US):

The book Knowledge Management for Lawyers.   I would also recommend the Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals LinkedIn Group. It has over 9,000 members.

Ron Friedmann, Partner, Fireman & Company (US):

Here is my list of blogs and one book I found relevant.

KM Book: For an excellent deep dive, I highly recommend the 2015 book, Knowledge Management for Lawyers by Patrick DiDomenico, published by the ABA.

For all the sources below, I read via my feed (RSS) reader. I use Feedly. If you want to follow more than a couple of regularly published sources, a feed reader is a must.

Legal AI + InnovationArtificial Lawyer Blog by Richard Tromans. Daily coverage of legal AI, both news and commentary. This is more about AI and innovation than KM – but can we even draw the line anymore?

Legal Tech: KM is not just about technology of course. But KM professionals should stay current on legal tech, especially since so much is happening now. I find three sources useful for regular updates: LegalTech News (ALM), Legal IT Insider (aka The Orange Rag), and Legal IT Professionals. KM professionals might also consider Above the Law: it has noticeably increased its tech and start-up coverage, and also covers the business of law, but if you subscribe to the feed, you’ll get a lot of other content too.

Legal Research and Legal Start-Ups: KM also often touches on legal research. I read Lawsites (Bob Ambrogi) and Dewey B Strategic (Jean O’Grady). Bob also provides excellent coverage of legal tech start-ups and other topics.

Legal Business: KM professionals should stay current on developments in law practice management, legal operations, and firm management. For the big picture and strategy, I read Adam Smith, Esq. (Bruce McEwen), Law21 (Jordan Furlong), Legal Mosaic (Mark Cohen), and Legal Evolution (Prof. Bill Henderson).

In addition, members of the Knowledge Management Content Coordinating Team recommended the KnowItAALL Newsletter, Wired Magazine, and PinHawk Daily newsletters for Legal Tech and Library.

If you have recently read or listened to or seen something you found valuable, please share your thoughts.  And if anyone recommends one of the many subscription services (e.g., GetAbstract, Summary.com, or Business Book Summaries), please let us know.