Is There a KM Role for Administrative Staff? That was the topic of a session I moderated today at a meeting of large law firm KM professionals. 

Staff roles in KM vary widely. At one firm, secretaries reguarly contribute to KM in both litigation and corporate practices. This “institutionalized” role is an exception, not the rule. A participant pointed out that years ago, secretaries typed everything a lawyer wrote and so really knew the lawyer’s work. I’m not suggesting returning to that model but if firms systematically defined the secretarial job, weaving in some KM would be easier.

Another firm invests to collect data during matter intake to support KM. I’ve long thought that if firms put in any extra effort for KM, it should be during the intake stage to capture industry, matter type, issues, and other “meta data” that can support not only KM but also marketing, finance, and business intelligence.

A participant reported asking support staff to volunteer to help with KM and had many takers. With rampant lay-offs, staff seem eager to add value. KM professionals who seek help may find more volunteers now than in the past.