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Time for Change: Welcome Sharon Lee

5 Mar

By Ginevra Saylor, National Director, Knowledge Management, Dentons Canada LLP

After a wonderful and rewarding stint as ILTA KM Blog Editor, I am pleased to pass the editorial virtual pen on to Sharon Lee. In Sharon’s capable hands, the blog’s popularity and community of readers are certain to continue to grow and soar.

Currently a Knowledge Management Specialist with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, Sharon worked as a senior legal editor for a major legal publishing company and practiced law for nearly ten years as a litigator in New York City before joining WSGR. Sharon looks forward to collaborating with other ILTA members to bring valuable commentary and insights to the blog.

For me, the best part of serving as editor over the past several years has been the opportunity to meet and get to know the many contributors from across the world. The diversity of thought and knowledge shared has been outstanding and I will miss working with such a broad and talented group of individuals. I wish to personally thank all of the authors I have had the privilege of working with for taking the time to share their expertise and perspectives with our KM community.

Please join me in welcoming Sharon Lee to her new role.  And… keep the excellent content coming.

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Knowledge Management Round-Up: 2017 Programming to Revisit

20 Dec

By Gwyn McAlpine, Director of Knowledge Management Services, Perkins Coie LLP

As last year’s catalog of ILTA’s KM-related programming was well-received, let’s make it an annual event.  Think of it as ILTA KM’s holiday letter, without the stories about kids and travel.

As you will see below, ILTA’s KM programming comes in a variety of formats, from articles and blog posts to webinars and ILTACON panels. If you need a refresher on these programming types, refer back to the explanation in last year’s post.

My main observation from putting together the list below is that KM professionals have diverse interests. I focused on content that was targeted to, or created by, KM professionals, and the resulting breadth of topics was noteworthy.  In addition to KM standbys, like search, portals, expertise location and strategy, newer categories like artificial intelligence, innovation and data analytics continue to be hot programming topics.  But interestingly, marketing, training and project management all make an appearance as well.  This rings true to me based on my own experience and conversations with many of you:  KM is casting a wider net.

If one of your areas of interests is on the periphery, be sure to check the ILTA archives for additional content.  For example, there is much more programming related to data analytics, which bleeds into business intelligence and financial analysis.  Or for those of you thinking about training and adoption of KM tools, there is a vibrant User Support community with even more programming.  I had to draw the line somewhere.

If you have suggestions for the future programming, submit an IDEA, start a conversation on the Knowledge Management community, or drop a note to a member of the Knowledge Management Content Coordinating Team.  Enjoy!

A note on the links: Some do require ILTA membership to access, so be sure to log into the ILTA website as a first step.

Artificial Intelligence

Collaboration

Data Analytics

Document Assembly

Document Management/Information Governance

Experience & Expertise

ILTACON

Innovation

KM Strategy & General

Marketing

Project Management

Professional Development

Research

Portals and Search

Training

Your New Biggest Security Threat – DMS Adoption

12 Dec

By Tom Baldwin, Partner, Fireman & Company

It seems like not a day goes by without another article or news headline featuring a security breach, whether it be Equifax or a law firm.  In light of law firm breaches finally becoming public, there’s been a fever pitch focus on security – and rightfully so.  These breaches are evolving from pure ransomware to malware wipers capable of rendering all locally saved data inaccessible, even after the ransom is paid.

In response to these threats, many firms are looking to the cloud as a means to become more secure.  For most firms, this is a very sound decision, as cloud providers are able to spend significantly more on security measures.  However, simply moving your document management system (DMS) to the cloud won’t solve your security issues.  

In most firms, DMS adoption is mediocre to downright nonexistent.  This year, Fireman & Company has interviewed almost 2,000 lawyers across a wide range of projects and one common theme crosses firms and practices: lawyers work very hard to avoid using the DMS. Most often, they’ll put files on their local C drive, or a network share, because they feel it’s simpler and easier to save and retrieve documents that way.  Left unaddressed, this is a ticking time bomb, even if you move to the cloud.  Malware wipers are designed to delete, or permanently encrypt, the data on any hard drive they touch.  This was the method used in the attacks on several law firms and what was part of the Sony breach.  Documents stored on C drives and network shares are susceptible to these malware wipers.  Fireman & Company has seen firms where over half the work product sits outside the DMS. 

The bottom line is this: poor adoption is a major security issue.

Unlike other security issues, technology isn’t the answer. This problem can be solved only by people and process. 

Start by being honest about your DMS adoption.  Adoption means that lawyers are using the DMS effectively, which implies much more than measuring basic system interactions. We have seen DM administrators willfully blind themselves to user avoidance behavior by falling back on meaningless usage stats. There is no need to be defensive about your levels of user adoption; after all, most of the legal industry is equally bad. Get a clearer view of user behavior by analyzing useful metrics. Look at how many files live on your file shares (Varonis is a good product for this).  You might be surprised how many people are circumventing the DMS.   

Next, listen to your lawyers. They will almost universally deliver one message: they need flexibility. Matters can be large or small; practice needs vary by the area of practice, geography and industry. Partners have their own, equally effective ways of managing matter files. In plain English, get the system out of the way and let the lawyers practice law. What would you prefer: Knowing that all of your matter content is in an organically structured, flexible DMS – or a perfect taxonomy that is misused and avoided? 

Planning for DMS adoption is about much more than how you structure matter workspaces. You need to understand why lawyers have been frustrated with document management. Here is one example. Many litigators save their first drafts of pleadings outside the DMS. They know they are not complying with the firm’s risk management policy, but it’s more important to them to avoid having raw drafts – which reflect on their work quality – floating around the DMS and search results. So, get creative. Make it easy to save first draft pleading in the DMS as private documents and make it simple to render later drafts public. Understand your users’ needs; they know how they need to work. Build empathetic processes. 

We are entering a significant DMS upgrade cycle. Do not risk continuing legacy approaches to DMS design; this will only exacerbate adoption challenges. For instance, think about how to leverage DMS-based artificial intelligence features to simplify, streamline and enhance work product quality and productivity.

There are other benefits to driving better DMS adoption. With better adoption compliance, you can more confidently, comprehensively, and systematically ensure ethical walls and security are enforced. When you’re asked to produce a complete record of a client file, you can be more confident you’re turning over all work product.  Better adoption also ensures your work product is actually under the umbrella of security your DMS provides.  Lastly, your partners will appreciate that you are trying to maximize the (not so trivial) investment in the DMS. 

With so many firms planning DMS upgrades in the next 12 to 18 months, this is the perfect time to revisit your DMS adoption.  If done right, you can be a hero in the eyes of your lawyers and staff, and put your firm in a better security posture in the process.

 

Embracing Change: Lessons from an Immigrant

6 Aug

By Milena Higgins, Founder and Innovation Coach, Audacious Legal

Reposted with the author’s permission. Ed.

I was a 12 year old in Poland when the communist regime was in full force. People could not openly speak their minds for fear of being caught not obeying the communist rule. My parents would often meet with their friends in private, carefully selecting participants to avoid communist sympathizers, to discuss their political views and concerns for the country. Meetings like that is how an underground social movement called Solidarity got its roots in my home town of Gdansk.

I still vividly remember passing by the striking shipyard workers behind a tall metal fence with their families and supporters just on the other side. A strike in a communist country was a rare sight indeed. I felt proud of my people for taking a stand, but also felt afraid for their safety. Years later, the Solidarity movement eventually led to the fall of communism, but at the time the country was going through much political upheaval. The future was uncertain.

The winter of 1981, my mother decided to make a bold move and flee the country with my younger sister, leaving me and my dad behind. Somehow, we would figure out how to join her later. But things were not easy during this transition. Between 12 and 14, I had to adjust to dramatic changes, ultimately living with my grandmother in a city away from my home, school, and friends. After a long, turbulent two years, including a separation from my dad when Poland declared a police state with martial law, I finally re-joined my family in the suburbs of Chicago to start a new life.

In order to get through those turbulent two years, I had to learn how to embrace change. Multiple times. That experience changed me forever and influenced who I am today. I view change as a positive force that propels us forward. And leads to better things. The pace of change in the legal market is accelerating, yet lawyers in general have a hard time adjusting to change. Here are five strategies I have honed that will help you embrace change and lead your organization into the future.

  1. Focus on the ultimate goal. For me the ultimate goal was a new life in a new country. I didn’t know which country we would end up in, but I knew that wherever it was it would be better than communist Poland. I always kept that as my guide post, no matter how hard things got. Whenever anyone starts a new project or initiative, there is always a goal, a positive outcome that we expect as a result of the change. The more you focus on that result, the easier the change becomes. If you keep thinking about the old way of doing something, that will only get you to gripes and complaints about the new way. If you keep reminding people that the reason you are doing X is so that your organization can be better at Y, which will ultimately lead to Z, people start feeling good about the changes they are being asked to make. Even if the changes are temporarily painful, the ultimate goal makes the pain worth it.
  2. Measure and report milestones along the way. My family’s journey was full of unexpected twists and turns, but each twist and each turn, brought us closer to the ultimate goal. If your change effort is a three-year process that involves multiple steps, be sure to stop along the way and look back at the progress you’ve made. I advocate measuring your progress before, during, and after a change. While you’re in the midst of a large change initiative, it may feel like all you’ve experienced is pain, but when you actually look at the metrics you might discover you are actually making progress. Don’t forget to celebrate those incremental wins. Shout them out to your team. Celebrate them! They will give you the fuel to keep going.
  3. Don’t forget the silver lining. It sucked for me to be stuck in war-state Poland with my parents in another country, but having some newly-found freedom and reduced constraints as a teenager was not such a bad thing. In any change situation, there are bound to be negative side effects. But usually nestled among them are some good things. It might take a bit of extra effort to see them at first, but when you stop to think about what is going on, you can usually find them. Seek them out and shine a light on them.
  4. Look for role models. We knew of other families who made similar journeys before us. You may have done another change project five years ago. And you may remember the pain and the reward. Remind yourself and your team about that success. Or you may have a colleague or a competitor who implemented a new initiative that turned out well for them. Look to those examples for inspiration and a reason to keep going.
  5. Keep a positive attitude. I am an optimist. I see the glass as half full. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your attitude. If you are leading the change effort and you are the one grumbling and complaining about it, be sure that your people will follow your lead. If you are positive they will be positive too. And that circles right back to point #1— focus on the ultimate goal. There is a reason you decided to make a change in the first place. That reason is positive. If it weren’t you wouldn’t have started going down this path. So brush those Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers aside and keep on marching forward.

Change is a good thing. Really. Use these strategies to guide your law firm, legal department, or legal team through change to new or improved legal services. Change may be temporarily painful but it ultimately leads to better things. And all of our clients want that!

Changing Knowledge Management (KM) Priorities

21 Jul

By Ron Friedmann, Partner, Fireman & Company

How and why are KM priorities changing? This was the topic of an ILTA virtual roundtable I moderated on July 6, 2017. I report here on the survey administered in advance and the flavor of the discussion (as moderator, I was not able to take good notes). An appendix contains survey results we did not have time to discuss.  The panelists were:

KM Priority Survey

We opened with poll results on KM priorities. The poll was completed by 39 of 115 registrants; no demographic breakdown is available. The KM priority question offered eight options and required force ranking. Here are the average scores:

Figure 1

The results surprised me. The average priorities, except for PSLs, seemed close together. So I charted just the top three priorities:

Figure 2

While this view provides more detail, the highest priorities are split pretty evenly (except PSLs ).

What Drives KM Priorities in Firms?

In the Roundtable, rather than try teasing out the data, we focused on how firms decide on KM priorities. While some look at metrics such as usage, the general sense was that proving ROI or finding a dispositive metric remains challenging. Some focus on what clients are asking for, others on what specific practice groups want.

From my consulting, rather than the poll or discussion, I know that some firms set priorities based on formal or informal benchmarks. For example, “Our Intranet is ten years old and everyone complains about it. Maybe it’s time to fix it.” Or “Most firms have enterprise search;, maybe we need to get it too.”

A discussion about KM drivers aligns well with a recent industry development, the rise of corporate law department legal operations professionals.

Align with CLOC?

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) had its annual conference in May and I knew that panelist Camille Reynolds of Fenwick & West attended. She reported on her impressions, which include that CLOC members are very interested in KM, improving practice efficiency, and establishing better workflows with outside counsel.

Jason Barnwell of Microsoft represents the legal operations view of a very large and forward thinking client. He reports that his law department’s challenge is managing all incoming work product from multiple outside counsel. Microsoft would love a single platform to consolidate work product.

I agree that a single platform would be helpful, but aligning multiple clients and law firms faces challenges. I commented that I had blogged in 2003 about the rise of extranets and, even then, noted that multiple law firms would not want to use multiple extranets. Instead, I suggested in that post that the market needs a data exchange standard. I am not sure that would be any easier though.

We then discussed the potential alignment of law firm KM professionals with in-house legal operations professionals. At least among this group, there was consensus that it would make a natural alliance: both want to improve efficiency and are open to new workflows and tools that would help do so.

 Artificial Intelligence (AI): The Holy Grail?

You cannot discuss KM priorities today without including AI. We started this portion of the roundtable by sharing the survey results:

Figure 3

These results mirror some other AI surveys I have seen and group AI discussions I have participated in: more talk and consideration than deployment. (I note, not from this discussion, that a recent Altman Weil survey suggests more activity than this, at least in the largest firms.)

The panelists agreed that the clearest use case for legal AI today is machine learning to accelerate due diligence review. Eagerness to investigate AI remains high, but no one has yet found the killer app.

We discussed that “big data” in legal is not nearly as big as in other markets, but pointed out there is nonetheless enough for interesting applications of AI.

Conclusions

Anyone who expected a clear roadmap to emerge from the discussion left disappointed. But for those who wanted to understand where the action is and how to think about setting priorities left with some good information and tips.

Appendix – Poll Results We Did Not Discuss

I hate wasting interesting poll results so I include here, without discussion, two additional poll question results that did not have time to cover .

The poll asked respondents about three 2017 or 2018 major projects many firms are undertaking. Only one choice was allowed:

Figure 4

Another common KM discussion topic is client-facing KM. We asked about where firms are on that :

Figure 5

 

A New Era for Managing and Finding Experience in Large Law Firms

9 Jun

By Ron Friedmann, Partner, Fireman & Company

Experience management – the ability to find relevant matters and lawyers with specific experience – has become critical for both knowledge management (KM) and marketing large law firms. Here, I explain here its importance and examine the evolution of the technology and processes that support it.

KM Evolves from Documents to Experience

Lawyers have long tried to find and re-use work product. They started in the paper days with file folders and indexes. With the rise of PCs and networks in the early 1990s, forward thinking firms deployed full-text search tools to find work product. Variations on search continued for over a dozen years.

Search started with promise, but is ending with disappointment. It was not smart enough, often failing to find relevant documents. Even when lawyers did find good documents, those documents had limited re-use value without context about the matter or from the author. This dramatically changed KM around 2005, when new technology emerged that tapped into matter types and billing data (number of hours and narratives) to infer lawyer experience and a matter’s area of law. With this new capability, KM professionals learned that finding relevant lawyers and matters was at least as valuable as finding documents, if not more so. A quick conversation with an experienced lawyer not only supplied context, but also identified the most relevant documents. The software also significantly improved relevance ranking in document searches.

Need for Experience Data Expands

The 2008 economic crisis spawned many changes in large law firms. Marketing and business development grew in importance and firms hired pricing professionals to set budgets and alternative fees. Management started analyzing profitability by matter, client, partner, and type of matter. These new initiatives require accurate information about lawyers’ experience and the matter’s area of law:

  • Winning Pitches. Clients want lawyers with proven expertise to solve their problems. Proving expertise, whether in formal written proposals or informal discussions, requires a dossier that demonstrates the firm’s relevant experience and best- suited lawyers.
  • Establishing Expertise Publicly. To win opportunities to pitch, firms must establish their expertise publicly by presenting specific matter experience by practice, earning league table top rankings, and winning awards. All three require locating relevant experience.
  • Pricing. Pricing professionals need to find similar matters to estimate costs and set prices, which requires an accurate record of matter type and experience.
  • Integrating Laterals and Cross-Selling. With lawyers regularly moving laterally to new firms, the complexion of cross-selling has changed. Personal connections and memory of past matters no longer suffices. To cross-sell effectively, partners need a constantly refreshed source of information on matters and lawyers.  

Approaches to Managing Experience Evolve

Law firms have tried many ways to capture and manage experience, most with limited success. Today, new and much better options exist.

Email was the earliest approach with the all too familiar “pardon the interruption” (PTI) messages that lawyers send to internal mailing lists. In some firms, this yields answers but they come at a cost: PTIs interrupt the other lawyers and several may answer, duplicating effort. Because firms rarely capture the responses, lawyers ask the same questions again. In some firms, the culture does not tolerate this practice.

Early in the century, many firms created area-of-law taxonomies to catalog expertise. Firms asked lawyers to rate themselves, which generally failed because many lawyers never rated themselves and those who did often under- or over-rated their experience. Self-rating has a place, but not as the primary way to capture experience.

The inference approach described above was a big breakthrough and served firms fairly well for about a decade. Then, requirements changed and its limitations became apparent. Inference captures only area of law. For pitches, pricing, and profitability, more detail is needed. Many firms created custom databases to capture deal attributes or litigation metadata, such as opposing party, judge, and jurisdiction. Firms also licensed specialized RFP generation software. Unfortunately, these approaches require substantial care and feeding and have their own significant technology or process limitations.

Rise of Modern Tools and Processes

Recently, a new class of software has come on the market designed to manage experience. These tools collect important details about lawyers and matters, offer flexible reporting, integrate with other law firm systems, and have simple-to-use interfaces. Furthermore, they offer a single, enterprise system that can power marketing, KM, finance, and other functions.

However, software alone is not enough; someone must populate the data. Reluctance to hire staff to do this has fallen as firms respond to the need to pitch, price, and analyze profitability. Many Marketing Departments already invest heavily in capturing this type of data. Finance and new business intakes often contribute and KM departments happily contribute given that they can ride on the experience system’s coattails.

These systems rest on more accurate matter typing. Depending on the nature of the legal work, accurately characterizing matters may be possible only well into the life of the matter. Marketing or KM typically chases down the information at suitable points in the matter, which can be days, weeks, or months after inception. Some leading firms, however, are building tools based on role and time entry with phase and task codes as triggers that add a controlled workflow component to capturing information over the lifecycle of a matter. That lifecycle integration holds real promise.

As a Fireman & Company partner, I have worked with several leading providers of experience management systems, including Prosperoware, Neudesic Firm Directory, and Foundation Software Group. Each offers its own spin on experience management. Regular readers know that I do not review products or even compare and contrast them. I mention brands to illustrate the general point – and to disclose business relationships. Fireman & Company’s partnership with Foundation Software Group, announced on May 31 (here), is the most recent partnership with a leading legal tech provider. As with all of Fireman & Company partnerships, we gained experience with the platform through our clients.

Through Foundation (and we can extend this thinking to experience management information in general), we began to see the exponential value of experience data when run through machine learning and AI tools and combined with document management, time narratives and entries, and other content. Auto-classification, analytics and entity (including clause) extraction are more dependable and effective when trustworthy experience data is available. As we move forward into an integrated information environment, experience management has become a core component of a firm’s service delivery infrastructure.

Quoth the RAVN: How iManage’s RAVN Acquisition Will Affect the Legal Market

25 May

By Joshua Fireman and Ron Friedmann, Fireman & Company 

The document management, search and AI spaces have seen accelerated activity and innovation over the past two years. iManage’s acquisition of RAVN, announced May 24, 2017, brings these three streams together. Integrating all three categories into a single product likely will have a significant impact well beyond the deal. We discuss here the potential impact on document management (DM), search and artificial intelligence (AI), and how this new platform approach validates both emerging and maturing trends. For context, we start with an overview of how the market arrived at this point.

A Decade of Change: Trends in Legal Tech

After years of relative inactivity on the vendor side in both search and document management, we now see a generational, if not a once-in-career, shift in the market. Many factors have led to this major point of inflection.

  • Lawyer needs have changed significantly versus a decade ago, with better collaboration, real (not just stated) information governance, more value for clients, mobile work (from anywhere), and cybersecurity.
  • Technology has changed dramatically with the rise of cloud computing, mobile devices and apps, and enterprise-quality open source code.
  • Artificial intelligence needs to be considered separately. The rise of machine learning and other AI creates many opportunities. While the AI hype concerns us, we do see tremendous potential.
  • Client demands have increased. General Counsel want more efficiency, more security, and more transparency in how their outside counsel work. With 1000 people attending the CLOC conference earlier this month, it is clear clients are organizing and improving their game.

Accelerated Market Innovation in DM and Search

Prompted by these changes, we have seen major advances in the two leading providers of document management systems.  As a partner of iManage and NetDocuments, Fireman & Company has extensive experience with both and here is what we see.  NetDocuments, which started as a cloud-based system, has gained significant market share in the last few years as it has upgraded its features, functionality, and back-end architecture. iManage, now back to a stand-alone company with the ability to invest and plan its own future, has invested significantly in developing the next generation of its flagship product.

We have also seen substantial change in the search market. Recommind, long the dominant provider of enterprise search for law firm KM, is rapidly losing market share. Multiple new or newly improved options now vie for mind and market share. We see that most firms buying or replacing existing search installation are looking at Handshake Universal Search and RAVN (again, Fireman & Company partners with both). But other choices are available, including the industrial-strength Sinequa.

The Acquisition’s Impact on DM, Search and AI

So, with all the changes, what should we make of iManage’s acquisition of RAVN? As noted above, this is a bold move. It brings together DM, search and AI in ways that may that well affect all three. What this means for law firms, both those comfortable with their current tech stack and those evaluating significant changes, is important to consider:

Document Management

Foundational Platform. Both iManage and NetDocuments have been innovating at a rapid pace over the past few years. Both companies have invested in advanced data analytics, entity extraction and other services that add significant value to matter management, pricing analysis and knowledge management. What RAVN brings to iManage is a powerful analytics, machine learning and visualization platform, in addition to solid enterprise search capabilities. With iManage planning to integrate key RAVN tools (auto classification and clause banks, for example) into its platform, iManage is doubling down on a vision of the DMS as a legal service delivery foundation. NetDocuments has also been developing similar capabilities with its sizable investment in SOLR and Lucene open source search tools.

Adoption. We discuss AI in a separate section below but, for DM purposes, we expect that with the addition of AI and other extraction / classification techniques, adoption will grow. (As a side note, we see many law firms across size ranges where lawyer use of the DM ranges from under 50% to typically no higher than 75%.) With the potential for automatically classifying document type and extracting key metadata, the effort involved in saving documents may go down. And, finding documents in the DM – even without search – likely will be easier with more fields and facets available to filter content quickly.

Information Governance. In the age of regular and massive cyber breaches, every law firm now takes cyber and data security seriously. Beyond hardening the perimeter and detecting intrusions, today most firms assume that at some point a breach will occur. To minimize damage when an intruder gains access, documents must be properly secured to those who need access. Consequently, firms are rapidly moving to gain wider adoption of DM and better lawyer compliance with information governance policies. Gaining that compliance remains a challenge because it requires lawyers to take extra manual, tedious steps. The addition of AI for automated entity extraction and document classification will almost certainly ease IG challenges.

Search

Search as Platform. Legal-focused search platforms have evolved significantly over the past two years. We see the RAVN acquisition as validating the “search as a platform” approach that RAVN, Handshake Universal Search and Sinequa had adopted. Search is no longer a black box bolt-on tool to other law firm IT infrastructure. Each of the above platforms offers APIs and developer tools to build search apps, leverage personas and deliver information in context based on client work, time entry and more.

Almost all firms have DM, but only some have enterprise class search. The iManage acquisition of RAVN signals that search has now become a core part of DM. (NetDocuments has also made search core to its platform by using SOLR and LUCENE open source search tools.) We believe the integration of search into the DM and the addition of AI to search will eliminate many of the past challenges with search, such as auto-classification and relevance ranking.

Artificial Intelligence

Mainstreaming Legal AI. As noted at the outset, we have observed a bit too much hype around legal AI for our taste. But, we do believe that the acquisition of RAVN signals the validation of legal AI. As important, it reflects a more complete “productization” of AI. Most legal AI products to date tend to be stand-alone solutions. With AI integrated into a core platform, it will become a tool lawyers use regularly. That is, instead of “going to an AI tool” for a specific task, the “AI tool will come to lawyers” as part of tools and workflows already in place.

Competitive Hotbed. NetDocuments has told us that they too have looked at AI companies to acquire and, in parallel, is considering a build rather than buy strategy. With Google, Facebook, and Amazon all having open sourced their AI tools, building AI into other systems at relatively low cost and effort is now possible (compared to what it would have taken even two years ago).  iManage’s RAVN acquisition will likely push improvements in this area to even more law firms, lawyers and clients. Beyond DM, we think this acquisition will accelerate the already vibrant development of use-case specific AI tools. The list of AI tools grows longer by the month. Prominent acquisitions are always a good motivator for budding entrepreneurs. Moreover, so many types of AI and potential legal market use cases for it exist that we think other products will continue to thrive.

In Sum

Regardless of the deal’s details, we see this as a turning point for the market. Document management will move from what had been almost an afterthought utility at many firms to being deeply integrated with the business and practice of law. Likewise, both search and AI will become core parts of law firm infrastructure.

We have long focused on identifying and understanding law practice and law firm business problems and then turned to technology as part of the solution. For us, this deal heralds two exciting advances in solution design. First, many good solutions will now be easier to design and deploy. And second, the deal’s validation increases the awareness and likely willingness of lawyers and firms to embrace more sophisticated solutions.