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.

 

Speaker(s):     

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

Web 2.0 in Law Firms (from ILTA) | Knowledge Management

ILTA – August 26, 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: Recap of G100 CIO Event – Web 2.0 Focus

Description: Join the G100 CIO Advisory Board as they provide a recap of the G100 CIO event held on Monday, August 25 in conjunction with ILTA ’08.  The focus is “Web 2.0 – What It Means to Law Firms,” including a summary of what Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager for Google Apps shared with the group around the phenomenon of Web 2.0 in general.
Date/Time: 8/26/2008 9:00 a.m.
Location: Fort Worth 5,6,7
Speaker(s): Peter Lesser – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP
David Rigali – Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP
Karen Levy – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Peter Attwood – Simmons & Simmons

LawyerKM’s notes:

  • The panel recapped the G100 CIO Advisory Board meeting from 8/25/08
  • What is Web 2.0?
  • an aspect of collaboration rather than just web consuption.
  • structured vs. unstructured data – it may be ok to have multiple collaborators.
  • Is it different the Enterprise 2.0? – trying to take the concepts of web 2.0 and incorporate them in organizations.
  • At Mallesons wikis started with IT staff and now it is among the practice groups – someof the most prolific users are the more senior attorneys.  average age of partner there is 39 (is this a factor?)
    • Firm culture is important – some use DMS as a confidential repository, some have them open.  The latter may find wikis more acceptable. 
    • They has a client facing wiki.
    • They allow people to even restructure the wiki page.
    • Firms are not looking to IT to set it up.  It is very low cost. 
    • Use: from a practice group perspective, the wiki content was not a part of the record (i.e., the matter records) – the content is more practice-group related rather than matter related. 
    • Some fear contributions to wikis becuase they don’t want to be seen as having written something stupid.
    • The wikis are getting 1000 hits per day. 
    • Best adoption was in IP practice group.
    • In technology department they have a wiki page for their meeting agendas.
  • The panel was asked if they will use wikis.
    • Lesser said not now, but didn’t rule it out for the future.  It is a cultural thing.
    • Levy – there are ways to introduce it (admin first, perhaps) – find out where it fits.  It’s a tool and it may fit some problems, not others.
    • Attwood – has tried it in IT, some have worked, others not, agrees with Levy
    • Brandt – thought was – if it is “cheap to fail” why not try it. 
  • Question: what about blogging?
    • Lesser’s firm has a policy against it – presumably refering to external blogs (but there is one internal blog).
  • What about the fear of discovery (from a litigation perspective)?
    • Brandt – the stuff is still there (now it’s just in email and other electronic places) [great point – people need to understnad this!!].  Levy agreed. 
  • Google Apps (some of the notes below are beyond Google specifically)
    • idea is cloud computing and using Offie-style apps (like Word, email, spreadsheets, presentations) on Google’s servers. 
    • the price is fixed, the upgrades in functionality are frequent. 
    • Docs has full doc version control.
    • there is real time collaboration on documents.
    • Attwood was surprised how far forward Google is.
    • Lesser thought this was the most interesting topic.  Many in the room thought they might see this in the next 1-1.5 years.  It may be client driven (if a client adopts it, law firms may have to adopt it as well). 
    • The thought was to sit with Google to adjust it to make it legal specific.
    • The functionality is very far from the feature set that we are used to from Microsoft. 
    • Security seems to be there.  It is encrypted. 
    • Google allows you to tie in your own authentication methods
    • There was debate about whether firms are ready to give up all they have done in the last 10-15 years. 
    • Many firms are looking at getting away from a specialiszed approach and going for a more corporate approach.  Stop making and using customized applications and use more standardized applications.
    • The cost issue (often 1/10 of what the existing systems might cost) may be the thing that convinces partners to move away from the customized apps and go for more standardized apps.
    • The panel agreed that communicating with Google early on may convince them to focus on what they might be able to do to make it work for law firms.
    • A benefit to focusing on more out-of-the-box approach is that you can upgrade quickly. 
    • The panel plans to reach out to Google and others, like Microsoft, etc. to see how firms can move in this direction.
  • One take away
  • Levy – the dramatic gap in cost between the traditional approach and the new Google approach.
  • Attwood – this is moving much faster than he thought. 
  • Lesser – thinks that the whole cloud computing could work.
  • Brandt – There seems to be no real road map to the development of the products – it is based on user feedback, which is good.

It was refreshing to hear such forward-looking ideas on the panel. 

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

Enterprise 2.0 and Your Law Firm | Knowledge Management

If you are at all interested in knowledge management, web 2.0, enterprise 2.0, and the like, you should point your RSS reader to Read Write Web.  It is easily one of my favorite blogs, and it is packed with useful information.

Bernard Lunn, of RWW, wrote a piece called Enterprise 2.0: The Nature of the Firm.  In addition to being an insightful piece, it is an announcement that ReadWriteWeb is dedicating a new “channel” to Enterprise 2.0.

“When the irresistible force of social media hits the immovable force of a traditional enterprise, it makes a loud noise.”

If this quote from the article rings true to you then you should tune into this channel.  

I will.  And I look forward to reading more of what Lunn has to say on the topic.

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

The Enterprise is YOU! | Knowledge Management

With most of my time devoted to knowledge management at a law firm, I often forget about my own needs. I’ve got a lot of digital stuff in various silos that could use the KM treatment. At home, on my iMac, it’s not a problem because I have Spotlight. I can find just about anything on my iMac pretty quickly. But I have a lot of stuff on the web – and it’s not all that easy to find. Off the top of my head, here are some of the web applications that I use frequently:

  • Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail (multiple accounts), iGoogle, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Reader, Upcoming.org, Meetup.com, WordPress, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Netvibes, Picasa, Mac Web Galleries.

In the Google applications alone, I have a lot of pretty important information. My Gmail contact information is more up-to-date than my Outlook contacts at work.

In some ways — on a smaller scale, of course — I have the same problems as a large enterprise: there’s a lot of information and no easy way to find it. If I am looking for contacts, for example, I can go to Gmail, LinkedIn, or Facebook. But, I have to go to each and search them individually. And with new web applications popping up all the time, it’s only going to get worse.

I need a search engine for the enterprise called “me.” One search box that will tap into all of my online silos. Clearly, Google should be the one to offer such a solution.

Google already has Google Custom Search, which allows you to build a search box that searches specific sites to the exclusion of others. Several KM folks have written about Custom Search. See here, here and here [Doug, I think there’s a KM blog missing from your KM Sites Search list 😉 ].

So, Google, let’s take Custom Search one step further: maybe call it “Personalized Custom Search” or “iCustom Search” or “Self Search.” Give me the ability to search all of my web apps in a secure, password-protected way. One search that hits all of my web apps. So, when I do a search for my business contact, “Jim Smith,” the results include emails to and from Jim, pictures of Jim that I tagged in Picasa (and in Facebook), a Google Map that shows me where Jim’s office is (based on the information in my Gmail contacts), Jim’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, the activities that Jim will be attending from Upcoming.org and Meetup.com (because he is tagged as a friend), his Twitter posts and Delicious tags, etc., etc.

While you’re at it, please make an advanced search page that allows me to select or un-select certain web apps. Now, is that too much to ask?

By the way, I created the image with Gliffy. Check it out.

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management, Technology & Social Media for Lawyers and Law Firms

Visual Search Engine >> Searchme.com | Knowledge Management

While researching for a blog post, I came across SearchMe.com (still in beta), which is a pretty cool twist on web search engines. It’s a visual search engine.

From the Searchme web site: “Searchme lets you see what you’re searching for. As you start typing, categories appear that relate to your query. Choose a category, and you’ll see pictures of web pages that answer your search. You can review these pages quickly to find just the information you’re looking for, before you click through.”

Check out this video to get the idea (if you are a Mac or iTunes user, you’ll notice that Searchme resembles Coverflow in iTunes and Finder):
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZSpjXEvy1I&hl=en]

This “coverflow” type of visualization would be fantastic in the enterprise. Speed is the key here. Imagine if you could “flip” through documents in a search result from your DMS the way you can flip through documents in a file. Coverflow is one of the best new features in the new Mac OS X Leopard and it really helps you find documents quickly. Interwoven and Open Text should look into this. 

Update: I hadn’t notice before, but Robert Ambrogi wrote about Searchme in his blog last weekCheck it out here.

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

Wiki Webinar – March 19, 2008 | Knowledge Management

This is a PBWiki Webinar called “Getting the most out of PBwiki 2.0 for your business” on Wednesday, March 19, 2008.  Register.

From the invite: “Join us and explore how PBwiki 2.0 can help your business get more from your wiki. Explore examples of using folders and access controls, as well as how you can customize your wiki’s look in seconds, just based on your company logo.  Plus, ask the PBwiki team your questions.”

I’m looking forward to this because I am not crazy about PBWiki 1.0.

See other LawyerKM wiki posts.

See a page with all of my favorite blogs (many of which also discuss wikis).

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

Knowledge Management for Law Firms :: In case you missed it… Mar 2 – 8, 2008

Here are some of my favorite legal knowledge management & technology blog posts and other items from the week of – March 2 – 8 , 2008:

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

Twitter and Follow | Knowledge Management

twitter common

Another great Common Craft video (see below). This one is about Twitter.

I like Twitter (see the link to follow LawyerKM on Twitter on the right –>>). But I’m getting a little inundated with information these days, and Twitter isn’t helping. Neither is following people like Robert Scoble, the self-proclaimed “tech geek videoblogger” and prolific twitterer (or is it tweeter?). More than 11,000 people follow Scoble on Twitter.

I like following him as a Google Reader friend because he essentially vets content for me. Well, not directly, but you get the idea: I read the stuff that he has shared because if he thinks it’s interesting enough to share, then it probably is interesting enough for me to read. (See RSS Overload is the New Black to see how Scoble rips through 600 RSS feeds in a flash with Google Reader).

And for me, “following” is the killer app of Twitter. Socially, it may be interesting to learn that a friend is shopping for a new sweater or is exhausted from a six-mile run, but in a law firm – we can take the “following” concept to a business level. Whether it’s blogs, micro-blogs, instant messages, or tagged / favorite documents, if my boss thinks it’s important, I should too. If certain information flows to (or from) smart, important people (like the senior partners in my law firm), I want to catch that flow, too.

Give young attorneys a way (other than email blasts) to capture information flows and follow senior attorneys so that they can benefit from what these smart, important people are consuming (or generating).

And by the way – if you, too, feel inundated, check out one way to get a lot of content in one space: the LawyerKM Netvibes Universe.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o]

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

Social Network Aggregation (Pull yourself together with Netvibes) | Knowledge Management

“What is Ginger?” you may ask. It’s the new and improved release of Netvibes (the last release was called Coriander – there’s a spice theme going on here).

ginger

What is Netvibes? It’s an “ajax-based personalized [internet] start page much like Pageflakes, My Yahoo!, iGoogle, and Microsoft Live.” (see Wikipedia) It lets you bring in customized widgets and all types of other feeds or streams of information – everything from RSS news feeds to various web applications. The new release embraces social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Last night, I tweeted from Ginger. I know that doesn’t sound good.

The Netvibes folks probably say it best: it’s a

“dashboard that’s updated live directly from all your favorite Web services (email, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, widgets) and media content (blogs, podcasts, video). Everything you enjoy on the Web, available at a glance, all in one place — spend less time surfing and logging in from site to site and more time enjoying your web, your way.”

As Doug at KM Space noted, this is about aggregating yourself (or your stuff) – and this type of thing can be used inside the enterprise. Ginger is yet another way to help you aggregate your stuff – to bring all of these streams into one place to access (and use) the various web applications via widgets.

The killer thing is that Ginger gives you a personal space and a public space – the public space is called your “universe” – and it’s there for all of your Facebook friends, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers (and anyone else you want) to see. There are also universes by companies and news providers, like Slate, USA Today, and others.

In addition to the private and public aspects of Ginger, you can see and “follow” friends’ activities.

I could go on and on, but your best bet: check it out here. Or see what Ars Technica had to say about it.

Here’s a link to the LawyerKM Netvibes Universe. It’s still in its infancy, but includes a feed of the LawyerKM blog, a KM blog search feed, the LawyerKM Twitter feed, and a wall on which you can write. I’m not crazy about the color, which I’ll likely change.

lkm uni

Please add LawyerKM as a friend. Use the Contacts tab at the top of the screen, search for “LawyerKM” and click the icon. On the following screen, click the “Add Friend” button.

lmk uni

Will I replace my iGoogle home page with Netvibes’ new Ginger? Not sure yet. But iGoogle, you’d better get in this game. You’ve been warned.

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