Legal IT columnist Joanna Goodman attended KM Legal Europe, Managing Partner’s annual two-day knowledge management event
KM Legal Europe in Amsterdam concentrated on the role of knowledge management (KM) to identify and exceed clients’ expectations. The themes were familiar but the perspective has shifted – towards client-facing initiatives. Conference chair Dr. Raffael Büchi, Head of Know-How & Business Development at Bär & Karrer, Switzerland highlighted the blurring lines between KM and other business support functions, particularly marketing and business development. Legal KM is looking for continuous improvement and broadening its focus to help deliver the ‘Wow factor’ that differentiates them from the competition. This review is a snapshot of a highly interactive event – bringing together knowledge professionals from law firms and corporate legal teams across Europe to share ideas and insights.
Security is not a new concern for law firms. However, with news of breaches—including just this January when tens of thousands of phishing email scams were sent, looking as if they came from some of the top US law firms--persistently hitting the headlines, so too are clients’ demands to increase security measures.
It is no surprise that the subject dominates much of LegalTech New York’s 2015 agenda. LegalTech is always one of the best conferences for the legal industry to discover innovative products to meet their current and future technology needs. But law firms may be questioning how the necessary new security products, updates and releases showcased at LegalTech can fit into their budget.
Dear legal technology vendors,
It’s a competitive marketplace and you want to get press coverage at LegalTech New York next month. Trust me, as someone who is employed by a legal software company, I totally get it. It’s a big investment to exhibit at this conference and you want to get your money’s worth.
In addition to lots of foot traffic, new leads, and new customers, you want to trumpet your company’s achievements to the world. So, you scour the press list and you either have an employee of your company reach out to the media or you hire a PR firm to do it for you.
In July, the American Bar Association released the 2014 Legal Technology Survey Report. Included in the results was an interesting break down of lawyers’ and law firms’ use of cloud computing in 2014. The survey results showed that while the use of cloud computing had essentially stabilized since 2013, overall familiarity with the concept of cloud computing increased as did the willingness of lawyers and firms already using it to continue to do so.
Let’s start with the overall use of cloud computing. According to the report, the overall use of cloud computing didn’t change much from last year, with 33.3% of lawyers reporting that they used cloud computing for law-related purposes.
For corporate legal departments, among the highest priorities today are improving efficiencies, reducing risks, cutting costs and being better partners with the businesspeople. While there are many different paths to achieve some of these goals, document automation is one of the few ways that in-house counsel can hit them all simultaneously.
However, before launching into document automation, corporate legal departments need to understand what document automation is and how it works, as well as the benefits that come with automated document drafting and approval.
Last week saw retirement drinks for Janet Day, who is standing down as IT director of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) after 18 years with the firm. Janet hands over to Mike Nolan on 1st January, but she assures us that she isn’t disappearing completely from the legal IT scene!
As befitted a reception for the undisputed leading lady of legal IT, BLP’s client suite was packed with Janet’s friends, including numerous IT directors from top City firms and beyond, suppliers, consultants and more – as well as many current and former clients and colleagues.
There are two groups of law firms being rewarded by the market: go-to firms whose clients are returning to a strong, established brand and firms which are adapting their model to create a more client-driven, client-centric organization by demonstrating high-level efficiencies and driving value to the delivery of legal services. Some firms pursue both strategies, some one of the strategies, some neither.
Law firms’ value lies in the knowledge of the law and so is the primary target for driving value to the client. More to the point, today’s attorneys require access and mastery of a variety of types of knowledge extending beyond legal expertise in order to serve as high value business advisors to clients or business managers of their departments, and are persistently tapped to perform at high levels using the most innovative knowledge platforms.
It’s almost that time of year for Americans: Thanksgiving. It’s a day when we reflect on all that’s going well . Now I realize that not all of you reading this post reside in the States. But even so, it’s never a bad idea to take stock of all the positive aspects of your life.
For lawyers practicing law in 2014, there are many things to be thankful for, not the least of which are advances in legal technology that have simplified and streamlined our daily lives. In 2014, there are so many different tools that are both affordable and innovative and have the potential to change the ways that we communicate, collaborate, and represent clients.
The first complaints haven’t even been filed, but they’re coming. The ether is abuzz and there’s traction – so, more than likely, there will be legal action to follow.
Because this isn’t your first rodeo, you already have “The Plan.” Your Early Case Assessment (ECA) Dream Team is in place, always ready for action. Legal hold, research, document review, facts and issues database, budgeting and other tools … check, check, check …
Using Your Voice to Get More Done Each Day
Trained law firm assistants who are good at their profession can type about 65 words per minute. Most IT professionals and many lawyers who don’t have word processing as part of their official job descriptions can still peck away at keyboards fairly efficiently, since many schools and jobs require students and employees to type at 40 words per minute.
Traditional law firm marketing is changing. Ten years ago much of the revenue generated for law firms was through established long-term existing clients, and new business was attributed to partner networks and direct connections. Now with the changing legal market, the introduction of legal start-ups, and client demand for better value, the market is more competitive. Firms need to differentiate themselves to win new business. Law firm marketing is now as much about lead generation as it is about the traditional marketing and communications role, and the responsibility for generating new business is being shared across the firm.
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