The Evolving Role of Knowledge Managers in Legal Innovation

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TitleThe Evolving Role of Knowledge Managers in Legal Innovation
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Posted by Callie Sierra
16 May 2019

 

Rapid advances in technology, combined with increased competition and changing client demands, mean that law firms need to achieve greater productivity, whilst innovating service delivery. In short, today’s legal services clients want more value from their firms. By the nature of business, the greatest value law firms hold is specialist knowledge and expertise. So, it is no surprise that knowledge managers have become a crucial driver of law firm success.

A decade ago, knowledge management focused on work product retrieval and reuse. Today, it may be the key to creating a true competitive advantage. Changing market conditions have shifted knowledge managers’ attention from templates and precedents to legal project management, alternative pricing arrangements and lawyer productivity. So, what role can knowledge managers play in driving law firm innovation? How can legal know-how be better leveraged to create differentiation and value?

Move from Managing to Automating

Knowledge is a law firm’s most valuable asset, whether it be legal, relationship, process or organisational. As the keepers of this invaluable know-how, knowledge managers can play a significant role in contributing to the broader aim of delivering high quality legal services and improved profitability. No longer is knowledge management simply about organising and managing content; today’s knowledge managers need to think strategically about how to best leverage firm expertise to solve client challenges quickly and accurately.

Forward-thinking knowledge management professionals have moved beyond traditional knowledge management to uncover ways to automate knowledge within their firms. Advanced automation technologies enable knowledge managers to effectively link people, process and know-how to transform how lawyers perform transactional work, address clients’ needs, manage risk and solve evolving business challenges.

Take for example, how the knowledge management team at Castren & Snellman, Finland’s oldest law firm, developed and launched a comprehensive knowledge management system that has completely transformed the way the firm’s lawyers work. The system, originally named Transformer, employs automation to enable the firm to easily capture and manage the firm’s collective know-how, whilst also unifying document creation across the firm.  The system has been successful for internal content creation and is now being rolled-out for direct access by the law firm’s corporate clients.

Bring Value to Client Relationship

As clients demand quicker, consistently high quality service from their firms, knowledge managers can help lawyers bring value, efficiency and cost-savings to the client relationship. Knowledge managers can employ technology to evolve legal processes to maximise productivity and minimise the time lawyers spend on mundane, repetitive tasks.

Consider for instance, a law firm’s new client engagement letters, which are important for documenting and establishing relationships with clients. In most firms, these are standard templates that are then customised with details regarding the work to be performed, responsible parties, billing and other information. However, knowledge managers can leverage automation to transform these standard letters into easy-to-complete guided online forms that can be completed by legal assistants. Not only does this hasten production and ensure accuracy, but also allows lawyers to spend more time advising clients.

One firm that is leading the way in using technology to deliver greater value to clients is Vinge, one of Sweden’s premier law firms. The firm’s knowledge management team empowers lawyers to quickly and easily create new documents directly from the knowledge library through its Vinge Dox system. Vinge Dox allows lawyers to create single documents, or save time by creating a set of documents using the information input into a single form.

Modernise Service Delivery

In the changing market for legal services, service delivery innovation is crucial to law firms’ continued success. Knowledge management teams can play a vital role in service innovation by delivering valuable know-how to clients through secure knowledge portals. These portals enhance the client relationship by granting clients access to tailored expertise and insights. Portals can focus on industry sectors, practice areas and trending topics, like Brexit and regulatory compliance.

As firm’s face greater competition and changing market demands, knowledge managers have the potential to play a vital role in their firms’ future success. However, this requires them to move beyond the traditional concept of knowledge and adopt technology to effectively use knowledge to achieve differentiation and create true value for clients.




SummaryChanging market conditions have shifted knowledge managers’ attention from templates and precedents to legal project management, alternative pricing arrangements and lawyer productivity. So, what role can knowledge managers play in driving law firm innovation? How can legal know-how be better leveraged to create differentiation and value?
Resource TypeBlog
CategoryKnowledge Management

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