Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Most Popular Dewey B Strategic Posts in 2015

2015 was a year of innovation and acquisition in legal publishing. Watson continues to intrigue law firms and legal publishers. New platforms, new alignments, new identities, , new environments and new tools for powerful insights dominated the legal market.

Thanks to all my readers for your valuable insights and feedback. 

The Top Dewey B Strategic Posts of 2015: 

Has the Librarian-ship Sailed? The American Association of Law Libraries Board Votes to Rebrand As the Association for Legal Information

 LexMachina Launches Custom Insights: Data Mining for the Impatient Lawyer

IBMWatson - Not the Robot Apocalypse! 

Fastcase and Loislaw: Reading the Tealeaves-- Realignments in Legal Research Market Ahead?

 Welcome to the Loungebrary: 2015 ALM Library Survey. Transformations Abound.

WoltersKluwer Launches "Cheetah" Research Platform: Usability,Workflow and Context Drive New Design

 Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Group Publishes Resource Guides For Strategic Planning, Intranets and Legal Research on the Internet

 Dear Watson:: I have a question for You. Watson and Legal Research… But Can it Ask Questions?

10KWizard Bites the Dust. Morningstar Directs Customers to Intelligize. Will Intelligize Enter the Workflow Race?

Proview Professional: Thomson Reuters Releases eBooks And Promises to Break the Book Paradigm

BloombergBNA Levels the Corporate Deal Landscape with Launch of Corporate Drafting Platform Leveraging Analytics and Enhancing Workflow.

Ravel Law Launches Judges Analytics: Precedential Behaviour Analysis Made Easy.

New ALM Law Firm Staffing Report: Outsourcing Out, Library Staff In, Partners Answering Own Phones?

"3 Geeks" Founder Greg Lambert Enters the C Suite At Amlaw 200 Firm Jackson Walker: An Interview With a Geek 

The 2014-15 Start Stop Survey Results: The Products. Out with the Old. In With theInnovative: Lex Machina Best New Product. Fastcase/HeinOnline Best Innovation

ThomsonReuters Intelligence Center: Map Out Your Opportunity and Business Development Strategy

BloombergBNA Releases Open Access "Big Law Business" Platform Targeting Law Firm Partners and In-House Counsel 

LexisNexis to Launch NewsDesk Aggregation Platform: Cool Tools, Deep Content, Rich Analytics

New York Law Institute Goes National: Offers “Just In Time” Research, Desktop Access to 75,000 eBooks to Member Law Firms Across the US and a Free Trial!!

AALL Releases "The Economic Value of Law Libraries" Report-- Long on Rubrics-- Short on ROI

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2016. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Out with the Obsolete In With the Innovative: Take the 2015-16 Start/Stop Survey: Share Your Wisdom With Your Colleagues

The Poll: Please take the brief (11 question)  2015-2016 Start Stop Poll here.
For the last two years the Start/Stop survey has generated some terrific insights into trends and triumphs shared by readers of this blog. Here are links to the  2013 and 2014 results. The 2015-16 Start Stop Survey is now open.
We are living in a whirlwind of change. We routinely assess new products, new processes, new roles,  new organizational options, new expectations.  Let's help each other decide what's worth doing. Let's leap boldly into the future together. Share your insights. What were your victories, false starts or  plain old bad choices. Share your hot tips,  short cuts,  projects and best practices.

Are you launching an AI project? Did you outsource? Centralize? Switch to a single online provider? Stop distributing deskbooks? Start offering eBooks? Participate in a Lean Six Sigma team? Launch a content curation project? Develop an app?

Make Room For Value. The speed with which old processes and assumptions become obsolete is accelerating. We can only deliver more value by eliminating or streamlining the routine, the redundant and the unexamined. 

Invest in the Future. Since law firm budgets remain flat, the best  way find the budget for innovative new products, is to reduce or eliminate redundant  products  and products which offer a low ROI.
The Wisdom of Colleagues. In the spirit of collecting the wisdom of colleagues I am once again asking readers to share  insights on the processes and products they  started or stopped in 2015 and  what they plan to start or stop in 2016. What products did you  stop using? What new ones will you adopt in 2016?

Anonymity Results will be aggregated and there will be no attribution to any individual person or organization without the written consent of the respondent.
The Poll: Please take the brief (11 question) survey here.
The Survey will remain open until January 15th and I will report on the results. Thanks in advance to all participants.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Time For Law Firm Leaders to Understand Knowledge Strategy: An Interview with ABA Knowledge Strategy Interest Group Chair Jack Bostelman-- Knowledge Strategy Group Launches Free Webinar Series.

“Knowledge management and knowledge strategy are not well understood at the senior management level in law firms. Yet economic pressures today make this practice management technique an even more important activity, which should be managed and accountable at the senior partner level. A handful of law firms are doing this now and the trend will likely continue. Our Group hopes to facilitate that trend.” – Jack Bostelman, ABA Knowledge Strategy Interest Group Chair.
KMWebinars Logo
Editor's Note: I was recently appointed as Vice Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Knowledge Strategy Interest Group. I asked the founder and Chair of the Knowledge Strategy Interest Group, Jack Bostleman to provide his thoughts on knowledge strategy in law firms and describe the upcoming initiatives of the ABA, LPM Knowledge Strategy Interest group.
What in your prior experience inspired you to take a leadership role in promoting Knowledge Strategy? 

Jack Bostelman
My “day job” for 30 years was practicing transactional securities law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. From my days as a young partner, I found myself acting as the de facto knowledge sharing coordinator within the firm. Back in the late 1980s, I had the idea of hooking up our fledgling desktop PC network and document management system database to the search engine running on the firm’s mainframe computer, used at the time only for e-discovery. This created a powerful way for users to search for documents in our system. It’s hard to believe, but at the time the DMS had no search function, and even later for a long time couldn’t search across office libraries. My band-aid and bailing wire system was a success and I suppose cemented my de facto status.

Over the ensuing years I wore a number of internal hats that allowed me to push further on a variety of knowledge-sharing initiatives, including overseeing the IT department and acting as firmwide coordinator of our securities practice. We also were an early beta site for what ultimately became West KM’s automated document categorization feature. We combined those categories with data collected within practice groups about matters to create search filters to augment enterprise search.

When I took an early retirement at age 55,  becoming a knowledge strategy consultant focused on AmLaw 200 firms seemed to be a natural next step. (Jack is president of, San Francisco based KMJD Consulting) .

What inspired  the  creation of the Knowledge Strategy Group?

When I was starting my consulting business a few years ago I looked around for professional organizations focusing on knowledge strategy or knowledge management. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any that focused on the subject from the perspective of law firm leaders and client-facing lawyers, as opposed to in-house KM professionals or technologists. I’ve been active in the American Bar Association for 20 years. When I switched from the Business Law Section to the Law Practice Division when I changed careers, I decided to try to organize a knowledge strategy group under the ABA’s auspices. Happily, my proposal was accepted by the Division’s leadership.  We now have a terrific advisory board that is helping us pursue a number of new initiatives, including publications and webinars. Our goal is to get the knowledge strategy message out to as many law firm leaders and practitioners as we can reach, and to stimulate dialogue about the subject. 

What is the biggest challenge to implementing knowledge strategy in law firms? 

An issue I have observed for a long time, which I now understand is rooted in the lawyer personality - skeptical, autonomous, low resilience (resistant to change), high urgency (work only on client work) and low sociability (bad at teamwork) - is that most lawyers have not been willing to invest the time and effort to create the efficiencies and other benefits of knowledge strategy. Recognizing the effect of these personality issues is the first step in coming up with strategies to overcome them. And there ARE successful strategies for overcoming them. Our Group seeks to raise consciousness in this area. 

Knowledge management and knowledge strategy are not well understood at the senior management level in law firms. Yet economic pressures today make this practice management technique an even more important activity, which should be managed and accountable at the senior partner level. A handful of law firms are doing this now and the trend will likely continue. Our Group hopes to facilitate that trend. 

How it is  Knowledge Strategy different from Knowledge Management?

As we say in our Group’s charter, "Knowledge Management is about how lawyers share what they know about client work, about clients, about markets for their firms’ services and about their firms as businesses. It’s a broad topic… . Knowledge Management becomes Knowledge Strategy when all these elements are considered together as a core function managed by the firm’s senior-most leaders to support the firm’s strategic goals.” In other words, the active involvement and support of senior management in selecting KS initiatives that align with the firm’s strategic goals, giving the most bang for the buck, and then pushing these initiatives on the firm’s lawyers is the difference between KM and KS. Involvement by firm leadership is also one of the ways to overcome the lawyer personality issues I referred to. 

Why  do lawyers and firm leaders need to think seriously about Knowledge Strategy?

There are huge pressures today on law firms to do more with less, and to manage their services more predictably and transparently. KS can be a game-changer. It takes time and effort by both management and practicing lawyers but the pay-off in efficiency, quality and service levels can be huge and a real differentiator. And it can improve the firm’s bottom line at the same time. I normally advise that a firm start with a single practice group - one that is already somewhat successful and visible within the firm and has some interest in these kinds of improvements. When that practice group takes it to the next level through successful KS initiatives, the other practice groups want the same thing and become more motivated to try. 

What programs are being offered by the Knowledge Strategy group in 2015-16? 

During our inaugural year we are launching a monthly free webinar series, starting in January. These are aimed at practicing lawyers who have no prior knowledge about KS but are interested in figuring out how to do more with less, both at the individual level and at the practice group or firm level. These will be 30 minutes and recorded. They’ll be free and open to ABA members and non-members alike. Our first few webinars will have content for firms of all sizes. Later some webinars will have a solo/smaller firm focus and others will have a larger firm focus. We are hoping to build a community through our registrant list, and will be setting up moderated discussion groups so lawyers will have a place to go to ask questions and share ideas.
We will also be publishing some articles, which will also be available on our website. We have already written two 50-page white papers, each outlining 10 specific KS initiatives that a firm could pursue which are also posted on the website. One paper is for larger firms; the other for solo/smaller firms.
Free Webinars: Information  and registration for our first webinar on Jan. 28 at 12:00 Noon, Eastern, can be found on our new website. The title of that webinar is:  “How to Compete with IBM Watson JD:  Future-proof your practice by improving efficiency now - Part 1”. This Part 1 will focus on the business case for KS. Part 2 in February will offer practical KS tips and tools lawyers can use in the practices. 

Program December 9th : Our Group is also sponsoring a 90-minute ABA CLE program on Dec. 9 at 1:00pm, Eastern, entitled “Improving Law Firm and Practice Group Efficiency Through Knowledge Strategy:  The Top Ten Ways to Improve Client Service and Profitability”. I will moderate. Our panelists will be two of our advisory board members, Jean O’Grady (Director of Research and Knowledge Services, DLA Piper) and Delilah Flaum (Partner at Winston & Strawn). Pricing and registration can be found here.