“Knowledge is power,” said English philosopher Francis Bacon. Yet many law firms are not as powerful as they could be given that partners typically fail to see the value in sharing know-how and facilitating case collaboration among attorneys working remotely.
In his Bloomberg BNA article, author Chris Marr explored the state of knowledge management (KM) within firms. According to Marr, while a 2014 International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) survey of 150 firms found that “42 percent had a dedicated staff member with the title of chief knowledge officer or director of knowledge management, while others gave a different title — or no particular title, in some cases — to the person in charge of knowledge management operations,” getting counsel to actually buy into using systems “faithfully” that would facilitate collaboration, like customized applications on the Microsoft Sharepoint or Google Docs platforms, remained a challenge.
According to Marr, there may be hope for KM professionals and the initiatives they’re tasked with carrying out for their firms. More lawyers may make the switch from using email to actual collaboration tools for sharing and storing knowledge as these tools continue to be improved and the necessity for big-data analytics increases.
The same ILTA survey points out, however, that financial resources allocated for KM are decreasing. KM is not an area that firms can afford to skimp on. Efficient and effective collaboration among attorneys on case after case depends on valuing and investing in these technological tools.
But there is an innovative and money-saving alternative firms can consider: using SaaS products that also have KM capabilities. These solutions work beyond Microsoft Sharepoint and Google Docs platforms, easily connecting case preparation and strategy while also satisfying KM needs. By using comprehensive software that is connected in this way, firms can save money and facilitate more successful and meaningful collaboration among colleagues, wherever they may be.