Enterprise Search – Impact on how we do business | Knowledge Management

ILTA August 25, 2008 2:30 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.]

Chad Ergun, Jeff Rovner, Robert Guilbert, moderated by: Rachelle DeGregory

See the ILTA site for the speaker line up

Jeff Rovner – O’Melveny & Myers – Recommind

  • decided on Recommind –
  • decision influenced by The Long Tail (there are obscure items that collectively make up a great amount of what is stored and searched)
  • modeled after electronic commerce (Amazon)
  • there are many ways to find content [many paths to the top of the mountain]
  • the key is that the content and existing systems allow you to make inferences and create the tags that attach to the content automatically.
  • Aug 2006 to September 2007 launch – 10 months
  • April 2008 – integrated MindServer and firm intranet
  • Recommind as a stand alone application
    • used websites as model for simplicity (FLickr) – called Ommni (“your one source for firm information”)
    • had tutorials
    • used Bloomindales.com as a demo to show how to drill down into jackets.  then went directly into Recommind demo and repeated the exercise with documents [brilliant!!]
  • Integration with Intranet
    • browse-able search
    • has same search box, just adds an intranet tab
    • e.g., find personnel box – includes all of the relevant info about the person, including news stories.
    • has an advanced personnel search – very detailed ability to drill down into what people are looking for.
    • Find Active Clients box- leads to a client page (created a template so the it brings up info for any client)
    • the Client page lists all matters and leads to the matter page.
    • can display all matters liked to a client
  • Intranet has table of contents
    • displays offices, and then the people in those offices (powered by Recommind) with the standard filters.  (just like the Bloomingdales site)
  • A PRactice Group centric page – where you can get all info related to the PG
  • Topic pages – Can do a client matters search associated with topic pages
  • The difference with Recommind is that it is all automatic
  • Recommended book – Everything is Miscellaneous

Chad Ergun – White & Case – Autonomy

  • created matrix listing all vendors and features
  • language independence was # 1 issue due to international practice of White & Case
  • started using Autonomy for enterprise search, then added it to intranet, knowledge bank, DMS, and desktop search.
  • Next phase to turn voicemail into searchable content
  • uses one single search box with tabs across top to drill down if desired.
  • has results drill down on left side (similar to Recommind)
  • The desktop search is like Google Desktop [my guess is that this would be very popular – I used to use it and miss it – I can’t find my emails!!]
  • there is integration with MS word – and the results come up based on words typed into a word document while you type.  It uses a Word toolbar.
  • The voicemail piece turns voice to text and searches them.

Robert Guilbert – Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – Interwoven’s Universal Search (IUS)

  • One office – 235 attorneys
  • Email blasts – “does anyone have any docs related to XYZ…” [i.e. PTI emails]
  • Attorneys wanted one place to look for all information
  • IUS gives them the one search with left side drill down functionality
  • System is very customizable
  • Timeline: August (first introduced) to June (launch) – 10 months
  • Averaging 300 searches a day in week 1  – week 4 was close to 500.
  • User adoption also increased.
  • [This seemed limited to the “what we know” problem – with such a small firm, the “who we know” problem is probably not so much a problem]


  • citation integration?   Jurisdiction – Recommind – yes, but not citations.  Autonomy – they system is not legal specific, but can be “trained” but not out of the box.  IUS can, but relies on adding metadata to the documents.  Thomson integrates with Recommind with their WestKM system.
  • SharePoint – White & Case will be integrating SharePoint with Autonomy later this year.  Recommind crawls SP.  IUS engine searches SP
  • Securtity – IUS respects DMS security and other systems security.  Recommind also respects security and adds ethical walls.  Autonomy does the same – if you have no access you can’t even see the document.
  • Tagging – IUS is coming out with tagging of documents.  Robert says that an attorney has already asked him about the ability to tag.  Recommind is introducing in the next version.
  • Integration with work-product retrieval systems like WestKM and RealPractice – WestKM has deconstructed it and now allows integration with Recommind.
  • What about Google? – relevancy ranking is not adjustable.  It is not really ready for law firms.
Which you choose will depend on the nature of your law firm.
If you’re reading this, you’ll likely be interested in the LinkedIn Group called Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals.

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

LegalTech New York 2008 on YouTube | Knowledge Management

With all the peer pressure from Doug at KM Space to write something about LegalTech, I just had to do something. Better late than never, right? So, while looking for something else, I came across a bunch of interviews of folks at LegalTech. Here is one of Monica Bay:


Here is a link to a bunch more. Other than the interviews of Monica and Bob Ambrogi (below), most all of these are of Thomson people.


And seeing that this is a KM blog, we’ll have to highlight one more: George May talking about West KM 4.0.


Clearly clever marketing by the Thomson folks. But I must say that I like the use of YouTube to promote legal KM and technology. (Marketers can be innovative, too, right?) I, for one, would like to see more video of KM products on the web. And not just videos. Screencasts of KM products would be great. I would much rather see a demo than read some dry description about how an application works.

Finally, props to Craig Carpenter of Recommind, who apparently beat the everybody to the YouTube video marketing punch (by about a week) by posting this YouTube video interview.


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

Law Firms & Enterprise Search | Knowledge Management

An interesting article at ComputerWeekly.com called Legal Firms Wake Up To the Benefits of Enterprise Search notes that law firms, like Linklaters, are turning to enterprise search systems because “finding information from many different collections and sources … has become … one of the biggest challenges facing lawyers in the information age.”  It also reports, not surprisingly, that law firms are the biggest customers of enterprise search vendors due to the “extremely document oriented” nature of firms’ work. 

And while not all large law firms have enterprise search systems, most seem to understand the value of being able to quickly find their intellectual capital with tools more sophisticated than a document management system.  More than half of the Am Law 100 firms have a work-product retrieval system from one of the four more popular vendors: West km, Lexis Total Search, Practice Technologies RealPractice, or Recommind.  And some lucky firms have more than one. 

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

"Innovation" is not a four-letter word | Knowledge Management

Legal KM folks are innovators. They’re always looking for new ways to get the right information to the right people at the right time.  Always trying to make the practice of law more efficient. 

Innovation, by definition, is about newness. “The introduction of something new” or “a new idea, method, or device,” according to dictionary.com. New can be good or it can be bad.  Either way, it will meet resistance. Most people tend to dislike change – the more drastic, the more resistance. Lawyers, and those others who work in the legal field, are not shy about expressing their aversion to change. 

Remember when your firm announced that it was switching from DOS-based WordPerfect 5.1 to the new-fangled Windows-based WYSIWYG Microsoft Word?  Remember “reveal codes?” Some legal secretaries still want to go back to those good old days, but most are now pretty happy with the change.

My mother didn’t need a microwave oven in the late 1970s, — or more accurately, she didn’t know she needed one. Today, estimates claim that 95% of households have one. There’s a reason for it. It’s not the only way to cook food and boil water and pop popcorn, but it’s pretty efficient.

The same goes for my iPod. Aside from being super cool, it is a great device that makes it easy to listen to music.  I could carry around my old Sony Walkman and a bunch of cassette tapes, but, well you get the picture. 

So, why do lawyers, in particular, hate change? I’ve experienced this, but I’m not alone. There are several reasons, and this article mentions some.  A lot has to do with focus and familiarity.

Lawyers work long, hard hours. They write briefs, try cases, do deals, etc. Few, however, focus on the business of law or ways to make the practice of law better.  If they work at firms, then they assume that there are others that deal with that. 

Lawyers, like most people, also tend to do what’s familiar.  We like what we like.  We fear things that are different.  Even if something is better and more efficient, we find ways to avoid it. 

That’s where the KM folks come in.  We don’t focus on what lawyers focus on.  We focus on making it easier for them to focus on what they need to focus on.  We are also more comfortable with change, so we need to make it as painless as possible for them.  Say what you will about lawyers, but they tend to be a reasonable bunch.  Once you get them past the focus and familiarity challenges, they are usually receptive (and sometimes even appreciative).  In the end, most of the time they’ll ask you, “Why haven’t we been doing it this way all along?”  And that’s just what you want. 

So, why innovate? 

Or should I avoid the “i word” and say, “Why introduce some new method or idea?”?  Well, it’s not for innovation’s sake.  It’s not for the sake of being cutting (or bleeding) edge.  It’s to help make things better, easier, and more efficient. 

My mom never asked for a microwave oven, but she did plead for more time to do things other than slave over a hot stove.  Your lawyers may never ask you for a work product retrieval system, an enterprise search engine, blogs, or wikis.  But they will ask you for a better and faster way to find the firm’s documents and other information.  They will ask for a better way to communicate with members of their practice groups and clients.  In short, they’ll ask you to innovate — just not in so many words.   

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

Recommind partners with Anacomp | Knowledge Management

KMWorld reports that “Recommind and business process management company Anacomp have formed a partnership that combines Recommind’s Axcelerate eDiscovery technology with Anacomp’s CaseLogistix litigation support solution. The companies say the integration will facilitate more accurate and insightful litigation review processes and significantly reduce processing times and costs. …”  Read more here.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management for Lawyers and Law Firms

More ILTA Coverage | Knowledge Management

There is more good ILTA coverage at the Caselines blog by David Hobbie, Goodwin Procter’s Litigation Knowledge Manager.   It is great to see so much knowledge sharing among the legal KM community! 
Speaking of which, if you have not joined ILTA’s KM Peer Group, you are missing out. 
There has been a lot of lively discussion lately about the Share Point, West km, Lexis Total Search, Recommind, Autonomy, and RealPractice.  We love to see what everyone has to say about these and other products.    

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management for Lawyers and Law Firms


Recommind + West KM = Trouble for Lexis | Knowledge Management

Thomson West announced today West km integration with Recommind‘s MindServer Legal platform. It’s not exactly clear from the press release how the two systems will work together, but Recommind pundit Oz Benamram, director of KM at Morrison & Foerster, says “This integration expands the utility of our AnswerBase Knowledge Management system, providing one central location for our attorneys to answer all of their legal research questions. … This will save us time during our legal research and, in turn, help us serve our clients better.”

It was only a matter of time before West or Lexis buddied up to Recommind. One could argue (and Lexis probably will) that it didn’t need Recommind because it already has Fast. We’re not sure if that passes the straight-face test. If they’re smart, Lexis will get really friendly really fast with Practice Technologies and “integrate” with RealPractice.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management for Lawyers and Law Firms

Can You Digg It? I Knew That You Could.

Can Digg help lawyers?

digg-logo.png Digg is social networking / social bookmarking / collaboration website that displays content submitted by its users.  Once content (in the form of a news story, website, video, etc. — anything with a URL, really) is submitted, other users can “digg it” or “bury” it by clicking on the appropriate link. Digging content elevates it and when “a submission has earned a critical mass of Diggs, it becomes ‘popular’ and jumps to the homepage in its category.” (See, Digg.com/how). Basically, it’s a popularity contest for stuff on the web. The site started out with categories such as gaming, music, technology, and Apple — to appeal to the young techie crowd.  It has since expanded to include six main topics: technology, science, world & business, sports, entertainment, and gaming; and several sub-categories. 

What’s in it for me? In addition to the proud feeling of peer validation that comes when you see people digg stuff that you submitted (there is a digg counter that shows the number of diggs),

how-digg-works.gif you can keep up with what is popular in categories of interest by clicking on links that show you the most popular content in the last day, week, month, or year (believe it or not, the announcement of Apple’s iPhone ranks only second in the last year – check out Digg to see number one).  This could be a real time-saver if you don’t have time to read all the good stuff that’s out there.  Let the power of the crowd work for you to vet the stories.

But, Can Lawyers Digg It? So how can these social bookmarking concepts help lawyers? In the microcosm of a law firm there is a lot of content — some good, some not so good.  On your document management system (DMS) alone, there are probably millions of documents.  Some of those (thousands?) may have made it to your collection of models, samples, forms, “best practices,” etc. — if you have such a collection.  If you’re lucky, then your firm has a work product retrieval system, like RealPractice, Lexis Total Search, or West km (and maybe an enterprise search system like Recommind).  So, you can find what you need, but is it a good piece of work product? 

Unless you have a small army of KM staffers, Practice Support Lawyers (PSLs), or attorneys with too much time on their hands, it’s unlikely that anyone will manually vet the firm’s work product to give it the thumbs up or down. 

RealPractice has employs a feature that approaches what Digg does, but it only allows a single tag that designates “best practices” documents.  There is no voting to elevate the popularity of the document — more like a monarchy than Digg-style democracy.  One issue that the RealPractice model raises is: Who determines whether a document is worthy of “best practice” status?  The author?  Practice group leaders?  Anyone?  

A Digg-style voting system would allow lawyers to passively tell other lawyers that certain documents are valuable. Would this pose the risk of hurt feelings (“Why doesn’t anyone like my model document?”) or worse yet, stuffing the ballot box, bribes, or campaigning to gain document popularity?  We KM people only wish lawyers would be so enthusiastic about participating in KM activities. 

The bigger challenge is to get lawyers to click on the Digg button.  One incentive is that doing so remembers the documents that you Digg.  The result is social and personal: You have cast your vote (helping others), and you get a handy list of documents that you have voted for — sort of a personal KM system — that you can reference later. 

Even better would be an “auto-Digg” feature; a system that elevates the popularity of documents based on the number of attorneys who access them, the amount of time it is open in a word processor, or the number of times it is copied. What about: who accesses the document?  Should a two votes be cast if a partner (or her secretary) opens or copies the document? 

Social tagging may have a place in law firms, but how much value will it really add?  Is developing a such a feature worth the effort?  And is it even necessary? 

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management for Lawyers and Law Firms.