Joy London posted in Excited Utterances that Paul Hastings is hosting a vendor-sponsored luncheon roundtable (sponsors are Practice Technologies and Recommind). This should be an interesting session and nice follow-on to an article that Peter Ozolin, CKO of Paul Hastings recently wrote. 

In the September 2004 issue of Law Technology News, Peter described in Case Study: Paul Hastings (free registration required) his firm’s quest to locate relevant work product. Peter outlines common KM challenges such as too many hits, poor profiling, and under-inclusive results. He acknowledges that a manual effort is a good way to address these problems, but takes significant cultural change.

The challenge of that change management and investment in human resources led Paul Hastings to explore automated approaches to identifying useful work product. After reviewing several products, the firm settled on a pilot test of Practice Technologies, which uses a classification engine to select and profile documents automatically.

Separately, for searching across multiple repositories, the firm selected Recommind. In the article, Peter suggests that the “targeted search” of Practice Technologies yields more useful results than the universal search of Recommind. But he makes clear the jury is still out.

So it will be interesting to hear from both vendors and perhaps an updated from Peter on the relative merits of each. Of course, both products represent “automated” solutions rather than manual ones. Some firms, especially in the UK, do opt for more manually intensive approaches. In the US, given the interest among large law firms in West km and Recommind in particular, it is clear that the market favors automated approaches.

See my article What’s Your Strategy for Collecting and Cataloging Documents? for a discussion of automated v. manual approaches.)