Is JD Supra inter-law firm Knowledge Management?


Lots of people are writing about JD Supra, the new free database of legal documents. Is this the start of some sort of inter-law firm KM? Is there such a thing? Doesn’t the definition of KM for law firms (or at least a good one from Knowledge Management and the Smarter Lawyer by Gretta Rusanow) exclude the idea of inter-firm KM? One of the goals of KM in law firms is to meet the firm’s business objectives, right? Perhaps sharing legal articles (MoFo is the #2 contributor to JD Supra, but all of the documents are articles) helps meet business goals if doing so is seen as marketing. But are any firms going to share the good stuff — the “intellectual capital” that really gives them the competitive advantage over the other firms out there? It’s difficult enough to convince some lawyers to share knowledge within their own firms, so only time will tell. It just went live.

Regardless of the future of the KM implications of JD Supra, I like the resources tab. It is a nice collection of web sites for state and federal courts, law school clinics and journals, and national and state bar associations. Handy stuff to maybe link to on your law firm’s intranet.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

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2 thoughts on “Is JD Supra inter-law firm Knowledge Management?

  • February 28, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    A couple of points.

    1) There’s no doubt that firms will be holding onto high value items like their best contracts. This isn’t about giving away the farm. More about getting more value out of quality documents in the public domain, like court filings, decisions, articles, pleadings, white papers.

    2) Most of the documents in the JD Supra are court filings & decisions, and not simply articles.

    3) As far as KM goes, you’re right that KM must support the law firm’s business objectives. But the fact is, there will always be a portion of law firm knowledge operating on the public internet. What about law firm’s that blog about their subject expertise? That’s great KM fodder, and content that I intentionally used RSS to pipe back into our firm’s internal KM collections. That content was valuable for internal sharing, AND valuable for firm marketing.

    4) Every firm I know of has increasing the firm’s profile and generating business as primary objectives in their annual plan. KM has an important role to play in law firm business development.

    5) You mention the fact that it’s difficult to get lawyers to share? My experience has been that if you put business development in the mix, lawyers have a much greater incentive to share. An example – – the commercial real estate group at my former firm used this site to gather every resource they knew of (downloadable forms, articles, links, hot topics), and shared it with local decision makers. Rather than doing this behind the firewall, they did it publicly, generated great business from it, and were diligent about adding new materials. Why? Because clients were looking. Great ROI for KM in my books.

    If public facing KM efforts like JD Supra encourage lawyers to gather & share untapped resources, then I think everyone is all the better. And I don’t think the type of documents here are infringing on business objectives.

    Wonderful post BTW. You really got me thinking. Now I’ll have to go blog a follow-up. 🙂

    All the best,

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