Another live report from the Ark KM conference in Chicago about an innovative approach to search and workproduct retrieval. Session title: Linking KM & DM Systems at Skadden Arps. Presenters: Charmaine Polvara, Knowledge Systems Manager and Rudy DeFelice, CEO of Practice Technologies. 

Skadden did not want to create a new interface for search. Rather, the firm wanted to use its existing document management system, but more efficiently. A long-standing goal has been to put more and better information in document management (DM) profiles, but without asking lawyers to do more. This approach means that lawyers get more from a tool that they already know well.

The firm chose Practice Technologies’ ACE Profiler to extract document information about each document to populate the profile automatically. The DM profile will have an Advanced Search button that will invoke the new profile data generated by the ACE energy. This solution will be portable to future upgrades of the document management system. And this approach allows searching across all the DM libraries, which has been a long-standing challenge because of the number of DM libraries and servers.

Issues with this new approach include how far back to go in time and deciding when a document is actually final and no longer a work in progress. The firm will, over time and with experience, adjust the business rules controlling this decision.

Here is background information on Skadden Arps provided by Polvara: 22 global offices with 1750 lawyers; 5 data centers around the world; 450 applications run on 300 Citrix servers (all lawyers access all apps via Citrix); PC Docs v.4 is the document management system (with an upgrade to DM 6 planned for next year); 34 Docs libraries, 15 Docs servers, almost 10 million documents; 280 document types; more than one-half of documents are categorized as “other” in the document management system; full-text search in Docs is impractical; attorneys crave a single-search access across all libraries.

Here is background on the profile data that is automatically extracted provided by DeFelice: document type, objective of document, practice area, parties and lawyers involved, legal topics, judges involved, controlling law, jurisdiction, clauses in the document.

DeFelice reports that Practice Technologies is considering other ways to use these data: other search tools (including full-text search), CRM (populate certain contact fields based on how companies appear in documents), populate a marketing database with more granular information on firm experience, experience database re experience with specific judges.

Posted at 3:12pm Central; full disclosure: I have a consulting relationship with Practice Technologies.