5 Good Practices for Successful Knowledge Management in Your Law Firm
Knowledge management has become an essential way for your law firm to save time on legal research and motivate your teams. Find out how to set up an effective knowledge management project.
Why should I implement knowledge management in my law firm?
A knowledge management approach aims to collect, organize, and share the knowledge acquired by your colleagues in your firm.
This knowledge is as much about know-how (knowing the law, a legal matter) as it is about process (drafting conclusions or requests, setting a fee estimate, conducting an interview with a trainee lawyer, opening a new file, etc.).
Regardless of the firm structure, the number of lawyers, and preferred subjects, the implementation of a knowledge management project is paramount.
Knowledge management allows you to …
- Save time.
The time saved can be devoted to your private life or to building even more cases to increase your turnover.
According to our report conducted among fifty lawyers, knowledge sharing can save you at least one hour with each case setup.
- Centralize your know-how in one place.
Your colleagues will be able to benefit from knowledge and use it to solve delicate situations more efficiently. The lawyers in your firm will have at their disposal at all times suitable documentary resources, document templates, and work procedures that minimize the risk of errors.
- Encourage collaboration between the members of your firm.
Knowledge sharing is a motivating ingredient for your colleagues. The motivation of your teams helps to prevent early departures and to keep your talents within your firm.
5 Good Practices for Implementing Efficient Knowledge Management
- Identify your needs and objectives.
- Choose a collaboration and knowledge sharing platform.
- Involve the lawyers in your firm.
- Classify the documentation.
- Measure the effectiveness of knowledge management.
1. Identify your needs and objectives
Setting up a knowledge management project does not improvise. A clear strategy must be established from the start. Defining your needs and
objectives will allow you to correctly choose the collaboration platform and evaluate the effectiveness of the knowledge management.
Example: One of the objectives of a partner lawyer is to limit the fact that his colleagues come into his office and distract him by asking where they can find a model, a relevant case law, or a firm’s work procedure.
2. Choose a collaboration and knowledge sharing platform
To facilitate the sharing of knowledge, it is recommended to set up a documentary board.
A documentary board is therefore a monitoring panel for your internal knowledge.
This can be a simple file-sharing tool or a more elaborate knowledge management system.
Example: Symplicy is a documentary board. It automatically searches for court decisions as well as the document templates used by your firm (requests, contracts, conclusions, notes …) that may be useful in regard to your client’s case.
3. Involve the lawyers in your firm
It is essential to involve all your teams in the knowledge management approach.
The knowledge management platform must become a reflex for the whole firm.
This can be done by organizing workshops and participatory
training to better understand the stakes and the advantages of the approach.
Example: Create a diagram on the procedure for importing documentation into the documentary board. For each step, it is useful to specify the precise tasks to be accomplished and the person who should take care of it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating your diagram: “Who imports the documents into the knowledge platform?”; “What types of documents can be imported into the platform?”.
This diagram should then be presented to the whole team to ensure that everyone has clearly understood their role and that no point is overlooked.
4. Classify the documentation
To facilitate access to information, it is important to structure the knowledge and the documents.
This can be done by categorizing knowledge by areas and using keywords.
Example: At Symplicy, in order to make our search engine more efficient, we write keywords and summaries on the documents. Our search engine then partly relies on the summaries and keywords. A search conducted in all the content of the documentation often proves less fruitful. We are quickly faced with an endless list of documents. The lawyers find the relevant document more easily when the search is carried out on our summaries or keywords.
5. Measure the effectiveness of the knowledge management
The implementation of a documentary board must prove profitable, there must be a return on investment.
Example: The lawyer’s hourly rate is 150 euros/hour. The software costs 50 euros/month/lawyer. The software saves the lawyer two hours per month. The saved hour is non-billable. The lawyer can reallocate this saved hour to billable work. So it’s two hours that the lawyer can bill to an additional client. The lawyer has therefore quickly made the software profitable. He has earned 250 euros (300 euros (two hours billed) – 50 euros (cost of the software)).
Another example: Set up a system to collect feedback from the team to identify areas for improvement in knowledge management.
Our documentary board allows you effortlessly to set up your knowledge management project within your firm and quickly achieve your objectives.
Indeed, lawyers use our platform on a daily basis to search for and easily share legal documentation among colleagues.