Driving Efficiency & Productivity Through Knowledge Management

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TitleDriving Efficiency & Productivity Through Knowledge Management
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Posted by Callie Sierra

3 June 2019

 

Law firms and lawyers have reached a tipping point for technology as the need for efficiency has grown. Competition is heating up and firms face tremendous pressure to maintain or reduce the cost of services, whilst maintaining quality. For today’s knowledge managers, this age of innovation presents many challenges - yet also ample opportunities.

No longer is knowledge management (KM) limited to organising and managing the firm’s knowledge; it’s expanding to play a larger role in the overall business strategy of legal organisations. Today’s KM departments serve as the firm’s trusted resource for knowledge, collaboration and innovation, and as such, assume responsibility for ensuring that firms don’t miss out on promising innovations and maintain a competitive edge.

Here, we look at forward-thinking ways that KM is bringing legal into the contemporary age and helping to drive greater revenue and efficiency for the modern firm.

Automated Knowledge Management

KM’s responsibility for document assembly tools has grown significantly over the years, and it’s a prime opportunity for KM to greatly impact the firm’s profitability. With more clients favouring fixed-fee arrangements, the potential for KM to positively impact the firm’s bottom line is immense.

McKinsey & Company suggests that 23 percent of lawyers’ time can be automated. If so, KM can leverage automation tools to divert the time lawyers’ spend on repetitive tasks to strategically advising clients and building relationships. For example, finnish firm Castren & Snellman seamlessly combined its knowledge management system with automated document assembly to cut document drafting time by half. The firm’s system, aptly named Transformer, enables lawyers to search for automated documents and quickly complete them by answering a series of questions via an online form. The final work product is then automatically filed under the client matter record in iManage, where lawyers can access it, along with other matter-related files, from anywhere, on any device. Through a more streamlined approach, KM helped shift lawyers’ focus from drafting to producing value.

Designing Tools for Lawyers

Though there is inherent value in KM projects, their success is ultimately determined by lawyer adoption. Lawyers must understand the value and efficiency gains provided by KM tools, and more importantly, be comfortable using them. One area where this is most prevalent is document assembly.

A recent ILTA survey suggests that more than 70 percent of KM teams are either fully or partially responsible for such tools in organisations that use them. Within those organisations, the key to true efficiency gains is providing lawyers with intuitive and easy-to-use tools. Take for example, Swedish firm Vinge, who integrated its document automation system with Microsoft Office to enable lawyers to quickly automate and update complex legal documents directly from within Microsoft Word. By making productivity tools available to lawyers from within their day-to-day work environments, KM made it easier for lawyers to access, use and quickly see the benefits of knowledge-based tools.

Client-Facing Knowledge Management

Client-facing KM initiatives are gaining popularity, as clients seek greater transparency and collaboration with their legal service providers. Many KM departments are teaming up with clients on designing and delivering innovative service delivery tools, such as client automation portals. These self-service portals are designed to provide clients with on-demand access to frequently requested documents, which are managed and maintained by their legal services provider. Client automation portals streamline the document creation process, making it possible for firms to engage in more sustainable fixed-fee arrangements, whilst also enhancing service delivery.

 

In today’s highly competitive market, KM plays a key role in helping lawyers work more efficiently and generate more revenue. Through a more strategic and collaborative approach, KM can pave the way for firm-wide innovation and profitable client service delivery.



SummaryLaw firms and lawyers have reached a tipping point for technology as the need for efficiency has grown. Competition is heating up and firms face tremendous pressure to maintain or reduce the cost of services, whilst maintaining quality. For today’s knowledge managers, this age of innovation presents many challenges - yet also ample opportunities.
Resource TypeBlog
CategoryKnowledge Management

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