Web 2.0 Law Firm Adoption (from ILTA) | Knowledge Management

ILTA – August 27, 2008 1:00 pm

These are my notes from the program.  [Since I am taking paper-free notes and because there is free Wi-Fi here, I thought that I’d add the notes to the blog.  Disclaimer: my notes are rough, so forgive the typos.]

From ILTASee the description and download the slides here

Title: Web 2.0 – Law Firm Adoption
Description: As Web2.0 tools mature, there is an increased number of adoptions by Fortune 500 companies.  We explore and learn if Web 2.0 solutions already being adapted by Fortune 500 companies would be accepted by the lawyers in your firm.
Speaker(s): Bruce MacEwen – Adam Smith, Esq.

Learning Objectives: Learn how the new Web 2.0 tools are being utilized by Fortune 500 companies and its potential impact for law firms.
Analyze adoption rates amongst law firms.

LawyerKM’s notes:

These notes are highlights, you can see the slides on the ILTA site.
Bruce has many good diagrams in his presentation – check it out.

Web 2.0 Agenda:

  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Mashups
  • Social Networking
  • Implications for law firms

The nature of the web and how it has changed:

Web 1.0 > Web 1.5 > Web 2.0
key difference is 1.0=surf, 1.5=search,  2.0=share

Blogs 101
23 blogs known in 1999
125 million blogs in 2008

Blogs as a management tool: a place in professional services firms because there are so many advantages over email.

Blog Basics:
important to have firm-wide blogging policies
you’re personally responsibe
respect and keep secretsinclude positive and negative comments (for credibility); some firms use blogs just for a replacement of client alerts, etc. and disallow comments (whether your firm does this depends on the culture)
be nice

Be Aware:
there is significant time committment to blogging.
your firm may require legal approval

Do’s & Don’ts:
there were a number of these, see the slides link above.
Highlights: don’t get defensive; develop a tone of voice – there is a brand aspect to your blog, a brand is a promise to your readers.

Why blog?
Internally – facilitates collaboration
Externally- demonstrates expertise

Web 2.0 [and Enterprised 2.0] –  At the heart of the knowledge management function; also at the heart of the project management function.

What lawyers do (cases, deals, etc.) are projects.  The intrinsic characteristics of blogs lend themselves to project manaement – the most recent thing is on top.

The way a firm is organized is usually different that the way people interact (see Bruce’s diagram)

Wikis
like a blog with multiple authors (e.g. wikipedia)
“it will never work in theory, but it works in practice”
the concerns that people will vandalize wiki pages is unfounded (if it happens, the good people will fix it and the vandals will be exposed)
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein reported 75% drop in email on projects after implementing wikis.
There is very little instruction required.

There is not much downside to trying out wikis and blogs becuase they are generally inexpensive and they are generally accepted because they mirror the way people work.

Mashups
Definition: basically mixing two or more databases together (e.g. craigslist rentals with google maps or chicago crime with google maps)
Hypo – key clients mashup with a map of an area – could have real value to a firm.
Hypo – “caller ID on steroids” when a client calls, identifies the person as a client, it pulls up all types of firm info and a news feed related to the client.  [this is a great idea – other than this I haven’t heard too many good ideas for mashups in organizations].  this is real “just in time” information that can be very useful for lawyers – getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

This stuff is not “high tech” it is “appropriate tech”

Social Networks
MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Legal OnRamp (specifically for lawyers).

Bruce is disturbed by the number of members and the presence detection features of Legal OnRamp.   [to me this is of minor concern – better platforms, like Facebook allow better control over privacy and presence detection].

Success Stories:
there are some anecdotes, but most are struggling for a balance

McKinsey study: companys are shifting from experimental to broad adoption.  But, 21% were satisfied and 22 were not satified.
Specific internal uses: KM is 83%
External uses: improving client services is 73%

Leadership buy-in, promotion, and endorsement are keys to the success of social networking.  [in my view, this certainly is the key.  you may get some adoption, without it, but it will never be widely adotped and considered a success without it.]

Main take-away: power of the tools is to strengthen relationships that already exist.  It requires business and IT / KM to really collaborate.  It is the IT / KM job to identify new tools, such as social networking, and for senior management to push it forward.

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

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