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KM in Law Firms = Waiting for Godot

By October 6, 2003Uncategorized

Gretta Rusanow in LLRX: “Law is a knowledge based profession. Knowledge management – the leveraging of your organization’s collective wisdom by creating systems and processes to support and facilitate the identification, capture, dissemination and use of your organization’s knowledge to meet your business objectives – should be key to your practice and business. However, for many lawyers, knowledge management remains a narrow theoretical concept.”

Joy London has a post with a quote from a Project Manager for a Lotus KM initiative: “The second largest hurdle we faced was organizational and political. The IT department we worked with was constantly faced with ridiculous demands from the partners. Creating a fire brigade mentality and completely subverting the project planning process.”

Obviously, some law firms have adopted KM strategies (otherwise Joy and others like her wouldn’t have the jobs they have). But why haven’t more firms adopted KM initiatives? Well, one reason is that the legal profession is still excessively dependent on the hourly-billing model, which –let’s face it– isn’t auto-configured for efficiency. As clients become increasingly vigilant of lawyer fees it will become increasingly important for lawyers to learn how to make money by cutting costs and adopting more efficient methods. So when will KM reach a tipping point? I’d like to see that happen in the next five years, but I know better than to expect the tipping point to be reached that quickly.


P.S. If you appreciate my observations, you might want to check this out.

One Comment

  • Michael says:

    KM is tough in any organization, no matter how you slice it.

    Doing it right involves changing process workflow.

    People really don’t like change.

    Expectations need to be managed so people know what to expect and why it will be clearly better without a lot of hand waving or consultant-speak.

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