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)

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.

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

Legal Aspects of Collaboration Tools (Blogs, Wikis, etc.) (from ILTA)

ILTA – August 27, 2008 9:00 am

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 ILTA:

Title: Legal Aspects of Collaboration Tools (Blogs, Wikis, MashUps, IM, Text Messages, Social Networks and More)
Description: Collaboration technologies help promote information sharing, efficiency, cost reduction and can provide competitive advantages. How does the legal environment deal with the information overload and the security of confidential information escaping the realm of the organization? What aspects of legal information need to be considered to help determine how collaboration tools should be utilized in the legal world (and when they should not)? What policies must be in place to protect the shared information?

Speaker(s): Tom Mighell – Cowles & Thompson, P.C.
Dennis Kennedy – MasterCard Worldwide

LawyerKM’s notes:

  • See my notes from yesterday’s presentation
  • Collaboration is no longer an option.
  • Web tools are moving beyond email.
  • News and communication:
    Blogs –
    IM –
    Twitter –
  • Working together:
    Documents – drafts & revisions: the old way was redlining.
    Conferencing – scheduling is a major difficulty and very time consuming.
    Wikis –
  • Web 2.0
    1.0 – focus was getting all the info online – no interaction
    2.0 – making the info available to people in more interesting, interactive ways (e.g. Google Maps, Mashups); moving to user-generated content (e.g., wikis and blogs); software as a service (SAAS); cloud computing.
    e.g., Yelp, Delicious, social networking tools, Facebook and LinkedIn are the main players.
    Martindale-Hubbell is testing their own social network (should be coming out in the next couple of months.
    Mashups – SharePoint can be used to mashup information
    Google Sites – allows you to make a mini portal platform on the web
  • The benefits of collaboration:
    1. taking an active role
    2. enhancing the workflow
    3. getting better results
  • Potential Problems of collaboration:
    1. Loss of control – lawyers are tought that they should control the draft and the drafting proscess. Collaborative drafting (like with Google Docs) can take away this feeling of control, blog comments and wikis also may contribute to the feeling of loss of control. Internal vs. external storage (many lawyers are not comfortable with their data on external servers) there is also the issue of down time of third-party systems.
    2. Security – because you are going outside the firewall, there is a concern. You are potentialll opening up multiple points of compromise.
    3. Ethics – need to be a lawyer’s ethical responsibilities. There have not been many ethics decisions about technology. None were cited about collaboration. Is encryption mandatory? Metadata – one state has found that lawyers should have knowledge that metadata exists in their documents.
  • The Balance between riks and benefits:
    1. Cultural – what is the tolerance for risk at your firm? Balanced scorecard, risk-reward framework.
    2. Costs – many of these tools are free – so lawyers might be inclined to try it out. But, some of those tools may be risky. Hidden costs – free tools have implimentation issues [and what about ads in Gmail].
    3. Portfolio approach – is an economic portfolio approach right (i.e., having a diversified portfolio)? Check out some of the collaboration tools.
  • Defining and Implementing Appropriate Policies:
    1. channel appropriate behaviors – lawyers are good at finding work-arounds when they can’t get what they need.
    2. keeping control – policies, procedures, processes – need some sort of formality to it. Very few people in the audience have any sort of policies or procedures that cover collaboration tools.
    3. security and ethical concers – #1 is confidentiality; different levels of access, authority are key to this.
  • Looking into the Future
    1. recent devlopments – since the cost of travel is high, there is/will be an increase in online collaboration.
    2. trends – web2.0 is becoming more common and people are willing to explore
    3. predicions – clients will drive this (if they want it, lawyers will provide it) video will be bigger in the future
  • Conclusions:
    1. keep current – read blogs [like LawyerKM!]
    2. action steps – find your firms policies; look at the tools that you use; think about the issues that arise with the tools that you use.

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

Collaboration Tools and Technologies for Lawyers (at ILTA) Knowledge Management

ILTA – August 26, 2008 3:30 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 ILTA:

Title:   Collaboration Tools and Technologies for Lawyers


Description:     Collaboration technologies and tools are the most important current developments in legal technology and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. During this session, the speakers discuss collaboration technologies for law firms, review tools and explore alternative platforms.



Tom Mighell – Cowles & Thompson, P.C.

Dennis Kennedy – MasterCard Worldwide


Learning Objectives:  

Identify collaboration tools and technologies for law firms.

Analyze their utilization and explore alternative methods.

LawyerKM’s Notes:

  • Do you know how your lawyers are collaborating?
    • email
    • wikis
    • meetings
    • SharePoint
    • etc.
  • Collaboration is not new
    • history of collaborating
    • telegraph is the first form of IM (sort of)
    • telephone
  • Collaboration today
    • mainly email 
    • document collaboration (redlining, track revisions, etc.)
    • conference calls
  • Internal & external collaboration
    • geography and the parties are factors
    • audience is important – e.g. metadata stripping is important when collaborating with third parties, but not necessarily with internal parties
    • Internal: everyone on the same team, see metadata above; brainstorming, etc. openness about the documents
    • External: the collaborators might be on the same side, but might be adversaries.
  • Basics: Documents and Projects
    • Documents – take advantage of the fact that documents are in a digital format.
    • Project Management – lawyers are very much project managers
      • they need to manage the cases and / or deals that they are working on
  • Basic Collaboration Toolbox
    • choice depends on how you work
    • determining what you’re trying to do helps you match tools to the problem
    • calendaring, conferencing, document collaboration
  • Collaboration Platforms
    • SharePoint
    • Google Apps (Dennis is surprised at the interest in this from a large law firm perspective – so am I see Web 2.0 in Law Firms)
  • Web 2.0 Tools
    • key definition – using the internet as a software tool or application platform  (web 3.0 is the semantic web, see here)
    • Blogs, Wikis, Cloud computing
    • they are platform agnostic (PC or Mac – all the same – you just need a web browser)
    • Calendaring on the web allows easy collaboration
    • web-based large file sharing (e.g. Drop IO, usendit)
  • Next Generation Concepts
    • user-generated content publishing (see, e.g., Wikipedia, YouTube, SlideShare, Mash-ups)
    • social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook) becomes an expertise locator.  [what about Twitter?]
    • Legal OnRamp, JD Supra
  • How to learn about collaboration options
    • lots of collaboration blogs: Dennis and Tom’s blog
    • RSS feeds (subscribe to collaboration tag in technorati)
  • Approaches to develop a collaboration strategy
    • is your approach active or passive?
    • collaboration audit – don’t assume that you know how your attorneys are collaborating – check it out. 
    • what is your firm’s collaborative culture?  – look at the way people actually work (even from a non-technological way)
  • Defining and Implementing your collaboration approach
    • try to guide people to accepted products and approaches
  • What is your collaboration culture?
    • the audit will help
    • what are people doing now
    • strengthen collaboration culture – establish a collaboration coordinator [sounds like a KM position; an evangelist]
    • let people know about successes
    • learn from your failures
  • Conclusions
    • no longer an option
    • impact on day to day practice can be huge
  • What to do next?
    • observe how you are collaborating (notice what tools you use)
    • pick one tool and investigate it

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

Social Networking in Law Firms (at ILTA) | Knowledge Management

ILTA – August 26, 2008 1:30 pm

There are so many great presentations at ILTA.  And sometimes two that you’d like to attend are happening at the same time.  That’s the case here.  I’d love to have seen this presentation, but needed to attend a different one. 

I hope that Doug Cornelius at KM Space or David Hobbie at Caselines (or someone else – maybe noted on Twitter) will cover it.   

From ILTA:

Title: Social Networking – Marketing Boon, Malpractice Nightmare or Simple Boondoggle
Description: The recruiting manager has created a firm FaceBook site.  The marketing director is encouraging all the lawyers to join LinkedIn.  The firm’s general counsel is freaking out over the possible ethic violations and malpractice possibilities.  The older lawyers simply aren’t sure what to do.  The younger lawyers are wondering what all the hoopla is about.  We explore social and business networking, the potential problems and rewards and what you can do about it.
Speaker(s): Jeffrey Brandt – Crowell & Moring LLP
Learning Objectives: Explore social networking and analyze the driving force behind it. 
Learn the differences between social and business networking.

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

Social Networking is Dead

OK it’s not really dead. Actually, social networking is alive and well. And thriving.

The “networking” part is fine. It’s the “social” part that needs to be killed off–at least when discussing the idea to professionals who have no patience for the likes of MySpace and Facebook. Here’s the problem: those who are unfamiliar with the versatility and value of the features of social networking tend to be fixated with the word “social.”

Social, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, means “relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure.” So, it’s not surprising that busy lawyers generally cringe when the hear about social networking. <sarcasm> There’s just no room in most law firms for pleasure </sarcasm>.

This idea prompted the Twitter question, “is it really “social networking” if you use social networks for business reasons? Should we simply call it networking?

Bloggertweeter Nicole Black agreed that it should just be “networking.” Bloggertweeter Doug Cornelius had some thoughts, too.

And what about LinkedIn? It’s a networking site, but it is geared toward business networking. Steve Matthews reported that the number of lawyers on LinkedIn has increased by 98,000 in the last two months. Kevin O’Keefe pointed out that LinkedIn site traffic (unique visitors per month) is way up and that all major law firms have profiles on LinkedIn.

Those who are unfamiliar with it tend to lump together LinkedIn with MySpace and Facebook, but the focus is different. Kevin refers to LinkedIn as a “professional social network.” I kind of like that concept, but I am not completely sold. My gut feeling is still to strike “social” – but really only when the discussion involves those who don’t get it. And just in case my readers aren’t familiar with their work, Nicole, Doug, Steve, and Kevin all get it.

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece called Social Networking Goes Professional, back in August 2007. It describes how some doctors use social networks to share ideas about solving medical problems. When doctors connect with each other online (at a site called Sermo) to seek advice on a tricky diagnosis, it seems to be “all business” to me. There are social networking platforms that target lawyers, too (see e.g., LawLink and Legal OnRamp – Doug has written a lot about them.) Some of these social networking sites are a step in the right direction, but they attract those who already “get it.” Any lawyer who would join one of these sites doesn’t need to be convinced of the value of social networking. [Tangent: doctors and lawyers have no problem with social networking on the golf course, why the aversion to social networking online?]

Those who don’t get it may point to this IBM commercial, which features a Generation Y slacker employee wasting time on a social networking site. His boss points out that his networking is much too “social” and not enough about “business.”


I really like that commercial. The implication, of course, is that IBM can provide solutions that harness the power of social networking and put it to business use. My fear, however, is that some people will use it as ammunition in their crusade against using technology to connect people – just because they think that the technology might be misused by the likes of the slacker.

What we must understand–and communicate–is the idea that it’s not the platform, but the way that you use it. For example, I started using Facebook (which was originally exclusively for college students) to connect with fellow legal KM folks for business networking. (I’ve slowly expanded my use of it to connect “socially,” as well.) There are several KM and technology groups on Facebook – for legal and other fields (see a short list below).

So, when trying to promote the features and benefits of social networking in your law firm or other organization, is it a good idea to dispense with the “social” and just focus on “networking?” Or maybe call it “business networking” or “online networking.” Please discuss in the comments.

Facebook Groups (please feel free to add more in the comments):

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

Help Me Help You: Social Media in Your Law Firm | Knowledge Management

Common Crafts new video, Social Media in Plain English, really emphasizes how a lot of this new-fangled social technology (esp. tagging, commenting, and voting) is really nothing new, and nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a twist on the old way (and often better and more effective way) to do things. It’s not appropriate for every aspect of the way lawyers work, but it can be helpful in many respects. (post continued below video)


(See other LawyerKM Common Craft stuff here)

Allowing comments on model documents in your precedent repository (or DMS – see e.g., Interwoven) can add a perspective–and value–that the author or the KM staff or your PSLs did not initially recognize. For example, you may have added a particular sample because it is a good example of a certain kind of brief related to a particular industry. And that’s the way the KM staff described it in the “official” description in your KM system. But a non-KM user (i.e., a practicing lawyer) may think that it’s a good example not because of the industry to which it is related, but because of the nature of the litigants (e.g., limited liability company vs. professional corporation) – a piece of meta data that’s not likely to be part of your official taxonomy.

As we all have come to accept, meta data is important to the ability to locate the information we need. But don’t forget about user-created meta data (tags, comments, votes, etc.). KM folks may think we know what’s important to the lawyers we support (and much of the time, we do), but those lawyers know what’s important to them. So, why not allow them to help us learn? Sort of “Help me help you…” but I suspect that your lawyers won’t be begging you with as much desperation as Tom begs Cuba.


So, don’t be afraid. Maybe we should call it “Business Media” instead of “Social Media.”

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

Social Tagging 2.0 (Semantic Tagging) | Knowledge Management

Seeing that social tagging is already considered a web 2.0 thing, I probably should have called this post “Social Tagging 3.0” – especially because it involves semantic tagging. However, I had to balance the probable accuracy of the title with the probability that my readers would bash me for using the term “3.0.” So forget I even wrote it (even though some people associate Web 3.0 with the Semantic Web).

This is about a new semantic social tagging application called Faviki. It works like this: Add a Faviki toolbar link to your browser’s toolbar; when you are on a web page that you want to tag, click the Faviki link and instead of adding any old tag you want, Faviki will suggest tags instead. The killer feature is that unlike other tagging services (like Del.ici.ous), suggestions don’t just come from the way other users have tagged things. Rather, the suggested tags come from structured information extracted from the Wikipedia database. Of course, if there are no appropriate tags suggested, you can add your own. ReadWriteWeb (one of my favorite web sites) has a nice write up about Faviki. See the screen shot below (the Faviki tagging tool is in the upper right hand corner) – Click to enlarge. Post continued below image…

I like this because it’s sort of “guided tagging” and it promotes consistency. One fear in law firms (or any company for that matter) is that there will be wild and inconsistent tagging of content. This is often cited as a reason to disallow social tagging. Semantic tagging helps overcome this. It is sort of a balance between the “do-whatever-you-want” idea of folksonomies and the “my-way-or-the-highway” constraints of traditional taxonomies. Of course, the burning question of whether lawyers will tag content (whether it’s semantic tagging or not) still lingers. Perhaps the idea that self-interest will drive users to tag (as Ron Friedmann suggests) is correct. One thing is for sure: Attorney 2.0 will be willing to (and will expect to be able to) tag content.

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

Google Defeated by LawyerKM | Knowledge Management

It is truly a David versus Goliath story. In this corner, little LawyerKM. In the opposite corner, gargantuan Google. But LawyerKM has won the fight over Google Sites.

Back in March when I learned that Google finally finished Googleizing JotSpot and made it into Google Sites, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to check it out. But, to my great displeasure, Google made Sites a part of their Google Apps platform, and required that people “Sign up with your school or work email address.” I couldn’t sign up because I didn’t have a school email address and my employer didn’t allow such use of my work email address.

So, I wrote an An Open Letter to Google Sites and published it right here in this very blog. I demanded [read plead] that Google reconsider. I’d like to say that dozens of my loyal readers commented in support of my cause, but that would be a bit of an exaggeration. Only one person, Tim, supported me. (Thank you, Tim!)

Well, the gargantuan Google has finally come to its senses and agreed with little LawyerKM. Yesterday, Google announced that Google Sites is now open to everyone.

You’re welcome.

Watch the video… then go make a Google Site.


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

Attorney 2.0 – Generation Y in Your Law Firm

Ready or not, there is a new generation of lawyers headed your way. Since “two point zero” is all the buzz these days, we can call this group “Attorney 2.0,” if you like. But before the whole “two point zero” craze, there was the “Generation __” craze. It started with Generation X (attribute whatever characteristics you like), the term that increased in popularity in the 1990s.

Then came Generation Y, those born between 1983 and 1997 (some define Gen Y as “current 13 to 30 year-olds”). However you define them, some Gen Y’ers are now young adults and some of those young adults are lawyers – and they are working at your law firm. Right now.

“So what?” you may ask. Here’s the thing: Generation Y is different because they grew up on the Web. In a ReadWriteWeb piece called Why Gen Y is Going to Change the Web, Sarah Perez discusses some of these imminent changes. As Perez puts it, Gen Y is “the most digitally active generation yet, having been born plugged in.” Here is the key take-away for those legal KM folks among us:

Work Tools Need to Mirror Web Tools: Gen Y will drive adoption of “Enterprise 2.0” products and services. Gen Y in the workplace will not just want, but expect their company to provide them with tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives. If socializing on Facebook helps them get a sale, then they’re not going to understand why they can’t use it at work. For more buckled down companies, if workers aren’t provided with the tools they want, they’re going to be savvy enough to go around I.T.’s back and get their own.

* Check out the SlideShare presentation, The Gen Y Guide to Web 2.0 @ Work, below.

For all of us struggling over the issue of whether knowledge management is about technology or culture, well, when talking about Gen Y lawyers, the answer is “yes.” In other words, for the Attorney 2.0 set, technology is their culture. Sharing, collaboration, social networking, tagging, and voting (and all of that other web 2.0 / enterprise 2.0 stuff) is their culture. [See Doug Cornelius’ post about his survey of summer associates’ use of social networking websites]. These lawyers grew up on the Web. They are accustomed to changes; rapid changes. They roll with it and look forward to it. They are not “change averse” like the generations before them.

Will Gen Y lawyers tag legal documents in your DMS? You bet. Will they comment on a blog post or contribute to a wiki? Definitely. Will they subscribe to RSS feeds? Absolutely. Will all of this replace the monthly litigation department meeting where people share knowledge and collaborate face-to-face? Of course not.

Generation Y lawyers organize their digital lives with the tools of the web (Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader, Newsvine, Netvibes, etc.). They will want to do the same at work because it will help them be more productive. Isn’t that one of the goals of knowledge management?

For the Attorney 2.0 Generation, this is not innovation: it’s a no brainer.

[slideshare id=396865&doc=genyweb20-1210364558509716-8&w=425]

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

Twitter Twist: Tweet 2 Tweet

Tweet 2 Tweet solves the problem of Facebook Wall withdrawal. As the SheGeeks* blog points out, if you like Twitter, but miss the “Wall-to-Wall functionality on Facebook…. This feature allows users to see only messages between [two] people. There has been no easy way to access the same functionality on Twitter nor through any of the plethora of third party Twitter conversation trackers, until now.”

*Thanks to Robert Scoble

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