What does a law firm that takes KM seriously look like? 

Knowledge management consultant Gretta Rusanow of Curve Consulting answers this question in KM and the Law (KMWorld, 1/07).

Rusanow describes the KM program at leading Australian law firm Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR). The firm has one KM staff person for every 22 lawyers. It also “requires each lawyer to spend 50 hours a year on KM-related work.” Moreover, “that contribution is considered in each lawyer’s performance assessment.” These facts confirm my long-held view that Australian firms are way ahead of the US in KM. (The article also spells out in detail many other aspects of AAR’s KM program.)

AAR “also leads other law firms in managing knowledge relating to internal processes. By focusing on developing methodology and processes, and collecting and sharing lessons learned from past projects, AAR can use that knowledge to work more efficiently (and profitably) in future matters.” I’m not 100% sure what this means, but it sounds like developing best practices for how to work. US firms should pursue this avenue. In February I will moderate a discussion on best practices at a KM meeting and hope to have more to say about it afterwards.