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Knowledge sharing, the BIG obstacle for law firms?

- Reda Bennani - Consultant

Innovative legal service Practices have been threatening the status quo of the traditional legal profession. An overabundance of legal information and document management systems have been taking advantage of the anticipated genesis of new-adopted business models, that would change the practice and influence business leaders. Trending IT practices and systems, have deployed their expertise to serve the legal industry which is lacking far behind in adopting pure Resource Planning solutions.

Law Firms have jumped on the collaboration bandwagon using tools such as Microsoft SharePoint to collaborate both on a firm and client-facing basis, but the recent study from ILTA 2012 shows that only 24 % of law firms adopt these systems, which is a weak number compared to the potential upside this tool can bring to the firm bottom line. We all know that there are traditional and trending unorthodox reasons for the lack of Knowledge sharing, here is my take on that:

  • The fear that a legal document accessible by everyone, which could be used by a non-specialist in a non-collaborative way that increases risk management level.
  • Confidentiality relationship between the lawyers and the clients
  • There is still a strong feeling for lawyers that technology is not reliable , especially with the trending Ssas solutions, that add security concerns to the equation.
  • Legal opinion sharing can be risky, and includes a high level of criticism.
  • The knowledge management strategy lacks ROI figures, which doesn’t encourage business decision-takers in adopting the different solutions. 

Successful business and IT strategies need metrics system to demonstrate their future long term benefit to the firm , such as:

  • Measurement efforts need a well-established management team to lead the Revolution!
  • Search for already-existing metrics systems used within the firm, to allow easy adoption by knowledge management professionals.
  • Speak the same language.

The  reluctance of most lawyers to adopt Knowledge management solution  won’t change until IT and management teams come up with a well-thought plan that would establish KM as part of the expected responsibilities lawyers will have within the modern law firm!

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