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management (KM) is an important aspect of law
Wikipedia entry describes KM as "the process of
capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using
organisational knowledge" and "refers to a
multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational
objectives by making the best use of knowledge."
One common way to think about managing knowledge is
categorizing it into two basic types: explicit
knowledge (information that is written down) and
tacit knowledge (hidden personal learnings).
In a law firm
setting, explicit knowledge tends to be
precedent or sample business agreements or litigation
pleadings, checklists, research memos, opinion
letters, and "how to" guides. Equally – if not more
important – is the tacit knowledge, being
what legal professionals know, their experience and
their professional judgment. Capturing and organizing
explicit legal knowledge can be relatively
straightforward and involves a combination of
technologies (internal document management systems,
search and tagging technology, and intranets).
Capturing and organizing tacit legal knowledge can be
more challenging. In most law firms, tacit knowledge
is transferred through mentoring, training and
encouraging a knowledge-sharing culture to flourish
with the organization.
Depending on the
law firm, legal knowledge management can potentially
involve a wide array of activities, including:
- Document management
- Records management
- Precedent development
- Legal research
- Business or competitive
- Continuing legal education
and professional development
- Intranet deployment
- e-Discovery support
- Project management
- Client support (virtual deal
- Document automation and the
creation of smart systems for clients
- Abbott, Stephanie, ed. Legal
Knowledge Management: Insights and Practice.
Ark Group, 2013 (book details here).
- Apistola, Martin, ed. Practical
Strategies for Effective Law Firm Knowledge
Management. Boca Raton:
Universal-Publishers, 2012 (book details here).
- Apistola, Martin & Petter
Gottschalk. Essential Knowledge and
Management Issues in Law Firms. Boca
Raton: Universal-Publishers, 2012 (book details here).
Karen. Know How in the Legal Profession.
Edited by Caroline Poynton. London: Ark Group,
2006 (book details
- Boake, Barbara & Rivk
Kathuria. Project Management for Lawyers.
London: Ark Group, 2011 (book details here).
Atul. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get
Things Right. New York: Metropolitan
Books, 2010 (book details
- Gottschalk, Petter. Knowledge
Management Maturity in Law Firm Business.
Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2012 (book
Jim, ed. The Legal Project Management
Quick Reference Guide. 3d ed.
Boston, MA: LegalBizDev, 2013 (book details
here) (my SLAW book review on an earlier
edition is here).
Patrick. Alternative Fee Arrangements:
Value Fees and the Changing Market.
London, UK: Ark Group, 2010 (book details here).
Stephen. Legal Project Management:
Control Costs, Meet Schedules, Risks, and
Maintain Sanity. Seattle, WA:
DayPack Books, 2009 (book details
Stephen. Legal Project
Management Field Guide: Five Tools for Busy
WA: DayPack Books, 2014 (book
Matthew. Effective Knowledge Management
for Law Firms. Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press, 2004 (book details
- Raridon Lambreth, Susan &
Michael Walker. Project Management for
Lawyers, 2015. New York, NY:
Practising Law Institute, 2015 (details here).
Gretta. Knowledge Management and the
Smarter Lawyer. New York: ALM
Publishing, 2003 (details here).
Richard. The End of Lawyers? Rethinking
the Nature of Legal Services. London:
Oxford University Press, 2008 (details here).
Richard. Tomorrow's Lawyers: An
Introduction to Your Future. London:
Oxford University Press, 2013 (details here).
Selected recent articles
(most recent first)
David. Everything is Miscellaneous.
New York: Holt, 2008 (book details here).
Filstad & Petter Gottschalk. "Chapter 4:
Knowledge Management in Law Firms" in
Anders Örtenblad, ed, Handbook of Research
on Knowledge Management: Adaptation and
Context (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar
Publishing, 2014) (book details here).
- Wendy Small, "Essential or
'Nice to Have'? The Impact of the Financial
Downturn on KM in Law Firms" (2009) 9:4 Legal
Information Management 287.
Selected conferences papers by
me on knowledge management
- Petter Gottschalk & Jan
Terje Karlsen, "Knowledge Management in Law Firm
Business" (2009) 16:3 Journal of Small Business
and Enterprise Development 432.
There are also a number of good
blogs relating to legal knowledge management:
Research and Writing:
Published: January 2016
Canadian Online Legal Dictionary (click here)