I’m still at the Ark KM conference in Chicago. Ali Shahidi, the CTO of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan is presenting a fascinating empircial comparison of three work product retrieval solutions. This is another “real time” post. 

The firm has 3 KM products in production: RealPractice (RP) for 2.5 years, WestKM (WKM) for 0.5 years, and LexisNexis Total Search (LNTS) for 2.o years. Before reporting on what Alschuler found, some context: The firm has one million documents, operates in a single location only; it is 60% litigation, 40% transactional. The empirical findings below are based on interviews and surveys the firm conducted over 2 years. Though Shahidi included Recommind in his presentation, the firm is not using it; since it is in my opinion really a different product category, I am not including it here. Here are the key work product retrieval empirical findings from the firm:

  • Resources required to roll-out: RP easiest, followed by LNTS, then WKM
  • Usability & Training: Little new training required for LNTS or WKM because of similarity to research interface; but the interface of RP is very easy to use.
  • Practice Group Library: RP has it built in; LNTS and WKM do not. Lawyers like this feature
  • Control of Results Sets: WKM provided most tools to fine tune which documents end up in the work product collection.
  • Speed: Running on the same document collection and similar hardware platforms: LNTS and WKM are fastest
  • Custom Taxonomy: RP is the only one with this.
  • End User Interface and Design: RP is designed from scratch to optimize results list. RP results are much easier to use than results lists in WKM or LNTS. The latter two are more designed around the companies’ research tools.
  • Relevancy: RP followed by WKM gave most relevant results. With RP, documents are displayed with actual document names (generated by the software), not the title in the document profile. This makes browsing results easier.
  • Expertise & Cross Selling: LNTS is best because of Lexis ownership of Interaction (a CRM system)
  • Work Flow Features: Lawyers like RP best. Once lawyers do a search and find a document or clause they like, they can save the result to a personal, practice group, or firm library. This allows maintaining the equivalent of “favorites.”
  • Embedding Hyperlinks: LNTS
  • Hyperlinked Cites: LNTS and WKM do better than RP
  • Use by Litigators if no Citations: RP
  • Use by Litigators with Citations: WKM and LNTS
  • Transaction Document Searches: RP or WKM
  • Transaction and Clause Management: RP
  • Personal Library: RP

One interesting finding from this study was that relevancy ranking is different across the three products.

So, why did the firm buy 3 products? Half the lawyers use West and half use Lexis for research. The total cost to have all 3 products was not that high.

Originally posted at 11am Central, at finish of this session