ILTA Knowledge Mangement Reception at LegalTech

Social.  Networking.

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) Knowledge Management and Law Department Peer Groups will be hosting a reception at the LegalTech Conference on January 31 at 5:15 at the Bridges Bar in the Hilton NY Hotel.  the event is sponsored by Autonomy, Bridgeway and Prosperoware.  I hope to see you there.  This is social networking in an analog sort of way.

Register Here

Keep Tabs Without RSS Using Google Reader

Since I’ll be discussing External Knowledge Management: Using Internet Resources to Your Advantage at LegalTech next week (see my post about it), I thought I’d share a new Google tool that can help.

Google Reader is not new, but Google just announced a new feature that allows you to follow changes to any website — even those that do not offer RSS feeds.

It’s simple: find the website you’d like to track, copy the URL into the “Add a subscription” field in Google Reader, then click “create a feed.”  I did it for my firm’s website’s articles page:


According to Google: “Reader will periodically visit the page and publish any significant changes it finds as items in a custom feed created just for that page.”

Obviously, this is a great tool for keeping up with clients’ websites that don’t offer RSS feeds.  But even if a website has RSS feeds, you may want to set up the Google Reader tracker for parts of websites that the RSS feeds do not cover.  For example, if a company has a web page listing employees, it might not publish changes to that page with an RSS feed.  You can keep tabs on who joins or leaves the company by using this new Google Reader feature.

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

Upcoming KM Presentations at LegalTech (and Beyond)

LegalTech New York and The Sixth Annual Law Firm Chief Information & Technology Officers Forum are right around the corner – coming up February 1 -3, 2010.  I’m looking forward to participating on a couple of panels:

First: External Knowledge Management: Using Internet Resources to Your Advantage, at LegalTech on Monday, February 1 at 4:15 p.m.   I am joining David Hobbie, Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Procter LLP (and author of the Caselines blog), and Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer at Reed Smith, LLP.   Rob Saccone, Vice President, General Manager, XMLAW at Thomson Reuters is moderating.

Here’s the outline:

  • Explore free and paid-for services and content sources becoming available for firms to support their knowledge management, marketing and practice needs
  • Using search sites and social networks for legal research, competitive intelligence and current awareness about clients and partners
  • Find information that is out there about your firm
  • Going beyond Google
  • Best practices for understanding the messages the marketplace is sharing about you and your firm and how to manage the data

Next: Enterprise Search: How to Mitigate Risk and Drive Productivity, at the CIO – CTO Forum on Wednesday, February 3, at 11:00 a.m.  I am joining Ali Shahidi, Director of Knowledge Management at Bingham McCutchen LLP and Bill Puncer, Search Advantage Evangelist at LexisNexis.

Description from the program: Law firms are increasingly inundated with information.  Join us for a lively presentation on managing that information—making it searchable; actionable and enhancing its value within the enterprise, thus managing your risk exposure and driving productivity.  Discover how an enterprise search platform can power a range of flexible tools your firm can use to integrate, enrich and manage both internal and external information, reducing the risk of making costly mistakes and increasing productivity within the enterprise.

Also of interest is The Business of Law Symposium, Charting a Successful Course in Today’s Brave New World, sponsored by LexisNexis at LegalTech on Monday, February 1, from 1:00 p.m. to  5:00 p.m.  This promises to be very interesting, starting with a Keynote by Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith, Esq. There are three other sessions: Knowledge Management; New Structures for the New World; and Future Strategies.  Other notable speakers include: Ali Shahidi (see above) and Oz Benamram, Chief Knowledge Officer at White & Case, and too many others to list.  The program is eligible for up to 4 CLE credits.

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

Bringing E-Discovery In-house (LegalTech NY Coverage)

I attended LegalTech New York and took some notes from Wednesday, February 4, 2009.    They may be a little rough, so please forgive any typos.

From the conference:  Session title:  Bringing E-Discovery In-house

  • Operate in the most efficient and cost-effective way with external counsel
  • Minimize objections from opposing counsel
  • Create an effective working relationship between legal and IT professionals
  • Recognize and address risks
  • Identify necessary tools and when you need to use them
  • Capitalize on potential savings
  • Identify trends in the marketplace

Jason R. Baron, Director of Litigation, National Archives and Records Administration

Will Robberts, CEO, Kempton Advisors, Former President, Livenote (division of Thomson-Reuters)
Tom Tigh, President, SuperiorGlacier
Christopher A. Byrne, Esq., Christopher A Byrne, Esq., P.C, Former Assistant Director, FDIC’s Division of Liquidation
Stuart W. Hubbard, Attorney, Schiff Hardin LLP
Johannes C. Scholtes, President / CEO, ZyLAB North

My notes from the presentation:

One goal of the panel is to help legal types and tech types to better communicate and understand each other.

The panel was impressed that Judge Facciola talked about concept searching in his keynote address this morning.

As Judge Facciola said, it is critical for lawyers to keep up on the technology around e-discovery and to understand it.  It is no longer an option.  You simply cannot litigate these days without knowing about e-discovery.

Cooperation among parties (and among lawyers and in-house IT professionals) is key to saving money matters involving e-discovery.

Mentoring: Baron’s rule of thumb is to get the youngest person in the organization to be involved in e-discovery and make sure they know about it.  But maybe this is bottom-up mentoring?  It works both ways; it fosters cooperation and each learns from the other and develops a positive relationship.  And it helps the firm or corporation to save money on vendors.

Communication is difficult between and among IT folks, lawyers, and records professionals.

Among the audience, many want to bring e-discovery in-house.  For those in the audience who have had success with it, a lot has to do with the good relationship between the lawyers and IT.

The Role of Record Management: starting your strategy with RM and records retention policies and planning can help control the costs and time down the road when you become involved in litigation.  With good RM techniques and practices (including ultimately, records destruction) the process is more manageable.  Destruction of records may sound bad, but in reality, it is simply part of the RM lifecycle.

Baron: The Achilies heel of records keeping is people.  The more you have to rely on people, the high the risk and the more work in the long run.  Auto email archiving can be helpful, but it must be done correctly, or else it can get way out of hand.

Knowledge Management: Baron claims that there are tons of KM conferences, but they never invite lawyers.  Of course, I beg to differ.  Case in point: LegalTech NY – there was a whole legal KM track in this very room on Monday.  Readers of this blog know that there are many KM conferences that are focused on law and lawyers are welcome.  Nevertheless, Baron’s point is well taken: lawyers are often ignorant about KM principles and they are important when considering RM and e-discovery.  These are all connected.

Most companies react to things out of fear.  The key is to be pro-active and to address this before the need arises – before the lawsuits.

Search: Johannes C. Scholtes (ZyLAB pitch): Knowledge management search is different than “legal” or e-discovery search.  KM search just wants the best results, e-discovery search is concerned with finding “everything.”   ZyLAB provides the high level of recall.  But with high recall, you get a lot of “junk” and “noise” (i.e. non-relevant search results).

Finding what’s not there: the technology can find words and concepts that are not actually present in documents.

Key: Early collaboration (before the meet & confer) between the lawyer and technologist to develop strategy and how to perform the search.

How can law firms bring e-discovery in house?:  the panel really did not dig into this issue.  I expected more concrete advice on it.  Perhaps someone will ad a comment and augment my notes?

Factors to consider when selecting e-discovery / EDRM vendors: Ownership of IP – the vendors should own their platforms; important product requirements: scalability, open formats and integration with in-house systems, usability, compare coverage with the EDRM model; Cost of software; size of vendor doesn’t matter – focus on competencies and service levels; speak to references.

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

Best Practices for Social Networking for Lawyers – Web 2.0

I attended LegalTech New York and took some notes from Tuesday, February 3, 2009.   I was reluctant to call this “social networking” but the name persists.  They may be a little rough, so please forgive any typos.

From the conference: Web 2.0: Best Practices for Online Networking Exhibit

  • Opportunities in online networking for attorneys
  • Re-energize the traditional, valuable art of networking with tightened budgets, time and resources
  • Growth areas, benefits and challenges of online networking
  • Best practices on selecting a network
  • Gaining the strategic advantage of an online network

Robert Ambrogi, Journalist

John Lipsey, Vice President, Corporate Counsel Services, LexisNexis
Vanessa DiMauro, CEO & President, Leader Networks
Eugene M. Weitz, Corporate Counsel, Alcatel-Lucent
Olivier Antoine, Counsel, Crowell & Moring

My friend and fellow KM guy, David Hobbie,  is also blogging this session on Caselines.

My notes form the session:

Not surprisingly, this session on packed.

Among business people, online networking and social media (SM) is a source of fear.

One survey said 15% of people in the legal industry are members of some sort of social networking (SN).  Another survey says that 59% of lawyers are members of some sort of SN.

Vanessa DiMauro finds that web 2.0 stuff is still new, but maturing.  SM is no longer about tools, but how to apply them and measure them and determine ROI.

John Lipsey – Martindale Hubbell is looking to transform from what it was (print-based lawyer listings) to what it will become (a more useful way for lawyers to fulfill their business needs). The new product is Martindale Hubbell Connected (MHC).  He likes the term “professional networking” rather than SN – me too. They have done a lot of research to figure out what lawyers want and need.

The MHC does not allow anonymous users – it authenticates so that the members have confidence that they know who they are communicating with.  The advantage that MH has is a HUGE database of information on lawyers that they can use to make and enhance connections.  They want to integrate into existing workflow.  This could include the connectors that InterAction (another LexisNexis product) has with LinkedIn.  [makes sense to me]

Olivier Antoine is a practicing attorney who gave his perspective about the value of SN.  It provides value to clients so that you can provide information about who knows who.

Eugene M. Weitz mentioned how he has 2 Blackberrys because he has a professional network and a social network.  He maintains these separately intentionally.  He wants to keep them separate.

The networks allow in house counsel to connect with those who they want to – among in-house counsel, for example.  They can discuss things that are important to them and collaborate within that group.

Bob Ambrogi questioned how Weitz is able to maintain two separate networks.  The investment in time is very difficult to justify.

[side note: while blogging this, I’m also watching Twitter, which is on fire with the #LTNY.  Doug Cornelius just wondered–on Twitter– when MH Connected will be launched.  Mary Abraham, who was in the room, passed along the question and go the answer: Q1 this year.]

DiMauro says there are different social norms that come along with SN – much of the communication is transparent, so you need to be careful.

There was much discussion about networks of trusted people – this reminded me of the really nice ILTA online networking community that is used to connect and ask questions without the threat of vendors reading of contributing

Weitz stressed the need to maintain client confidentialities when participating in online networking communities.   Even asking a simple question or asking for a recommendation can disclose certain information that shouldn’t be disclosed.

Weitz says that this is no different than the type of communication by lawyers – only the vehicle has changed.  The bottom line is that lawyers haveto be as careful with SN sites as they are with all communications – and is some cases, more careful.

DiMauro noted that many other industries have adopted SM and SN.  The legal industry — which has been a late comer and fearful of it — can learn from these other industries.

An audience member asked about the value of LinkedIn.  Oliver gave an example about how he could see that five people from a company he pitched had looked at his profile after the pitch.  There is no other way to get that type of information.  Bob Ambrogi noted that LinkedIn is at least an online directory of business people on the web – the way Martindale Hubbell used to be.

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

How Integration Drives Knowledge Management

I attended LegalTech New York today and took some notes.   They may be a little rough, so please forgive any typos.

The first session, How Integration Drives KM, was a good one.  It addressed:

  • Early approaches to KM
  • Individual, highly customized systems
  • Commercial applications
  • Benefits of powerful combined approach


Tom Baldwin, Chief Knowledge Officer, Reed Smith
Preston McKenzie, Vice President and General Manager, Business of Law – West, a Thomson Reuters Business

My notes of the presentation:

Opening Remarks by Oz Benamram, CKO at White & Case.

Preston McKenzie spoke first about the framework and context of KM, including client development and the fact that in this economy, we are expected to “to do more with less.”  So, the emphasis is on productivity.

Three Key Challenges of law firms today:

  1. Information complexity
  2. Organizational complexity
  3. Market complexity

Historically, vendors have offered point solutions.  They solve the problem, but they are not efficient, in fact, they’re  expensive.  And it increases complexity because there are several systems and tools to do different things.

Now, systems are much more open and able to be integrated – e.g., ContactNet integrated with Westlaw for contacts mashed up with the content of cases on a Westlaw search.  Features:

  • open architecture allows for the integration.
  • deployment and development consistency.
  • ability to provide hybrid applications.
  • lighter tech footprint is needed.
  • more intuitive.

West km is an example.  The feature of the application are now unbundled
(the ability to do something is what’s important – not the application or the product as it has historically been delivered by the major vendors).

They are getting back to the core value of the product – for West km it is the taxonomy.  The system becomes configurable by the law firm – to use in the way it wants.

This idea of integration is all about the ability to create mash-ups of information.  This has been happening on the web for quite a while now and it is becoming more common inside law firms.

Tom Baldwin spoke next.  He covered a few preliminary thoughts and then explained how they are integrating systems at Reed Smith.

What does “doing more with less” really mean?

ATV – Awareness-Training-Visibility

  • A – need to market the tools that we already have
  • T – make sure they know how to use them – in a cost effective manner.
  • V – a self preservation issue.

How are you providing value?  Demonstrating value and helping the cause.

Gaining and Maintaining Adoption:

  • KM systems are not considered essential (like email or the DMS) – try to change that.
  • Find your champions.  Not just that, but find those who will take credit  like it’s their idea (like Al Gore and the Internet).
  • Attorney testimonials are key – get lawyers to tell others – you must ask them to do it.  Even ghost write the testimonial for them – good for PR.
  • Make sure people understand what the system does and how to use it.  Go to the practice group  meetings, etc.

Measuring the Value of KM

  • Report on the numbers – # of extranets, blog his, search usage, business generation.
  • Lawyer and client testimonials.
  • Go for easy, cheap wins.

Reed Smith’s “ouRSpace” – this is the firm’s new portal.

Vendors and products:

  • Recommind
  • West km
  • Dot Net
  • Monochrome
  • Silverlight
  • AJAX

The wrapper for the portal is SharePoint, but looks nothing like SharePoint.

– The interface is clean and simple
– There is one icon-style navigation bar at the top
– items are targeted by subject, practice group, office, etc.

Live Demo

– navigation is one simple icon based navigation bar.
– time zones – interactive time zone pop-up app with an integrated meeting organizer.
– standard XMLAW SharePoint functions, but, again looks nothng like SharePoint.

West km inside of Recommind inside of SharePoint (also searches the whole DMS – InterWoven)
– West km docs are weighted higher
– incorporates all of the WKM
– prominent red search box – uses XMLAW-type search scopes.
– all SP content (intranet) is indexed y Recommind.

People search
– integrates all types of information about the lawyers.  Even billing rates and compensation are visible by everyone.

WSJ News Ticker – right below the the navigation bar
News and Information section
New Partners section introduces the firm to new partners.  They have started to add video with their video conferencing systems; not highest quality, but good, inexpensive and sufficient.  Other videos are organized by various categories.  This is done with SilverLight

Blogging within the Firm:
– firm heavily discourages email blasts to the whole firm (most people are not even able to send firm-wide emails – only Chiefs, and certain partners).
– All Chiefs, Managing Partners, etc. are a part of the Management corner, which includes blogs.
– blog feedback has been good.
– it was difficult to get people involved, and sometimes the KM staff ghost writes the blog posts.

Financial Information
– is distributed to users based on the users position.
– Rate look up is a very popular feature – it allows lawyers to look for associates based on location, billing rates, class year, etc.

This was a highly-customized system, was not cheap, and required a lot of custom work and a large staff.

This was a great presentation.  It’s always good to see what Tom is doing.  He is one of the more cutting edge KM people out there.

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

Law Firms on Twitter – An Update

Back in August 2008 I wondered “Is the AmLaw 100 on Twitter?” The answer was a resounding “no.”  There were a couple of “exceptions.”  Skadden had an account, but it  seemed to be simply parked, with no updates.  It’s still there, still with no updates, but now has 25 followers (including LawyerKM).  It also appeared, back then, that Orrick had an account, but based on the updates, it was clearly “brand jacked” as Steve Matthews put it, in the comments on that post.  The Orrick Twitter account still appears to be controlled by someone other than the firm, but it now has 49 followers, and two new/different updates, which are less offensive than the previous updates.

That was almost six months ago.  This is now, and the new answer to that question “Is the AmLaw 100 on Twitter?” is: well, not really, but sort of.

Here’s what I found looking around Twitter:

  • Fulbright & Jaworski has apparently embraced Twitter.  It appears that the account was started in October 2008.  Since then the firm has acquired 106 followers and posted 53 updates.
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP has 73 followers, 25 updates and has been tweeting since December 2008. [updated 2/1/09]
  • McDermott Will & Emery started tweeting in December 2008.  84 followers and 40 updates.
  • Weil Gotshal & Manges also started tweeting in October 2008.  It has 65 followers and has posted 61 updates.
  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice gets the award for the best Twitter image (a bulldog) and slogan (“Innovators @ Law!”).  I also like their first update: “Launched the new Womble Carlyle Twitter page. Get current information on the legal issues facing your business. Friend us, we won’t bite.” With 92 followers and 86 updates, they have been tweeting since November 2008.

You’ll notice that the firms mostly post links back to their websites.  Not surprising – this is law firm marketing, after all.

There are several AmLaw 100 firms that have apparently claimed their accounts, but have done nothing with them.  This is a smart move if they are trying to avoid the fate of Orrick.  Here’s a list of firms and possibly their Twitter handles.  I say possibly because this is based on my research on Twitter – I have not contacted any firms to ask whether they have, in fact, claimed their Twitter accounts.  I didn’t include hyperlinks because, for the most part, there is nothing to see on the Twitter pages.  But the URLs, as listed, are valid.  If you see some that have one follower, it’s me.

  • Akin Gump –
  • AlstonBird –
  • Arnold & Porter –
  • Baker & Hostetler
  • Baker & McKenzie –
  • Baker Botts –
  • Bryan Cave –
  • Cleary Gottlieb –
  • Davis Polk –
  • Debevoise & Plimpton –
  • Dickstein Shapiro –
  • DLA Piper –
  • Fish & Richardson –
  • Foley & Lardner –
  • Gibson, Dunn –
  • Goodwin Procter –
  • Hogan & Hartson –
  • Holland & Knight –
  • Howrey –
  • Hunton & Williams –
  • Jones Day –
  • Latham & Watkins –
  • Dewey & LeBoeuf –
  • Mayer Brown –
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius – (has four followers and is following four others)
  • O’Melveny & Myers –
  • Patton Boggs –
  • Paul Hastings –
  • Paul, Weiss – (I think that this may be a person named Paul Weiss – probably not the firm)
  • Proskauer Rose –
  • Reed Smith – (this is a “marketing guy” in Austin Texas – probably named… Reed Smith)
  • Ropes & Gray
  • Schulte Roth –
  • Seyfarth Shaw –
  • Sidley Austin –
  • Simpson Thacher –
  • Sonnenschein –
  • Squire Sanders –
  • Sutherland Asbill  –
  • Vinson & Elkins –
  • White & Case –
  • WilmerHale –
  • Wilson Sonsini –
  • Winston & Strawn –

I may have missed some.  If so, please let me know.

It’s not just the AmLaw 100 on Twitter.  Here’s a list of other firms that I’ve encountered from comments on Twitter:

  • Deacons (Australia) – 140 followers, 120 updates.
  • Staton Law Firm (Huntersville, NC) – 73 followers, 28 updates.
  • Clements Law Firm (Charlotte, NC) – 66 followers, 2 updates.
  • Christensen Law Firm (Draper, UT) – 4 followers, 1 update.
  • Hinshaw (USA) – 32 followers, 0 updates.
  • Gowlings (Canada) – 66 followers, 24 updates.
  • Patel & Warren (Houston, TX) – 47 followers, 12 updates.
  • Jackson Walker (Texas) – 79 followers, 18 updates (has 13 other associated Twitter accounts, and check out their website, which has a prominent “Follow Jackson Walker on Twitter” link).
  • Simmons Cooper (Illinios) – 80 followers, 130 updates.
  • ShannonGracey (Texas) – 173 followers, 31 updates.

And for those firms that have not *yet* jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, here’s the good news:  You’re still in the Twittersphere.  You may not be tweeting, but others are tweeting about you.  For example, the ABA Journal has a Twitter account, has posted more than 4,400 updates, and has almost 1,000 followers.  The AmLawDaily also posts updates about firms.  It has 188 followers and has made over 350 updates.

Others are Tweeting about law firms, as well.  There is a huge community of lawyers and others in the legal profession on Twitter.  They post updates about firms big and small.  Unfortunately, these days, a lot of what they’re are saying has to do with law firm layoffs.  There’s even a Law Firm Layoff Tracker on the Lawshucks website that’s, sadly, a hot topic on Twitter.

The question remains: should law firms be on Twitter?  Some say no, but that lawyers at firms should be.  Maybe these are the Twitter purists.  Perhaps they think that Twitter should be all about the conversation and not about simple broadcasting and posting links.  My personal opinion is that Twitter conversations are great, but law firms should be on Twitter.  It is a marketing opportunity, just like a law blog.  It’s an opportunity to get a firm’s content in front of more eyes and drive more traffic to its website.  If a firm’s lawyers also use Twitter, then all the better.  Those lawyers can have Twitter conversations and build relationships.  But the two needn’t be mutually exclusive.  Firms might not engage in Twitter conversations, but neither do the many of the mainstream media outlets, like Fox News, CNN Breaking News, and New York Times.  Twitter–in its short life–has grown into more than just a place to chat.  It is a place to post news and information that others will chat about.

Being a mere mortal, and there being only so many hours in the day, I’m sure that I missed some law firms on Twitter.  If you know of others, please let me know by leaving a comment.  Thanks.

Finally, if you’re going to LegalTech NY this coming week, you won’t want to miss “What is Twitter And How Can I Use It?” – a panel discussion moderated by Monica Bay with panelists Matthew Homann, Kevin O’Keefe, and Chris Winfield.   It’s Monday Feb. 2, 2009 at 3:00 PM.  I’ll be there.   And feel free to DM me and say hello – in person.

In the meanwhile, join the conversation about Twitter in the comments below.

  • Should law firms be on Twitter?  If so, how should they use it?

Update: Thanks to Bruce Carton for pointing out his great list of BigLaw Lawyers on Twitter.  He noted a few firms I missed (now updated above).

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