This is a live post from Legal Tech New York City.  The topic is Bolstering KM Through User Experience Design.  [Please excuse typos and inaccuracies – this will be brought live as session ends.]


  • Andrew Baker, Director of Legal Technology Innovations Office, Seyfarth Shaw
  • Tom Baldwin, CKO, Reed Smith
  • Kate Simpson, Tangledom
  • Patrick DiDomenico, Director of KM, Ogletree Deakins


Kate Simpson – User Experience (UX) Overview

The key is to start with understanding what drives and motivates humans. User experience (UX) and user interface is about taming complexity. UX is a profession with specific training. Design must be useful, usable, desirable, and valuable.  The typical UX toolbox includes many tools. Good UX is a process:

  1. Analysis
  2. Personas
  3. Top Tasks (UI must be goal-oriented – top user task must be easy to find)
  4. Sketch the UX
  5. Prototype and test

UX has been driven by the consumerization of IT to mobile devices. Mobile apps have created demand for simple and better UI.


Tom Baldwin – Using Gamification to Drive Matter Profiling and More Portal Use

Tom will show screen shots of actual systems that show the firm’s UI and how it is using gamification.

Shows a deprecated matter profiling screen. System branches based on prior answers. The new system collects the same information but the UI is much more elegant and prvovides many clues to user about what to do.  It includes a leader board that shows who has completed the most profiles – this is driving partner behavior.  Home page shows top profilers and practice groups falling behind.  These changes have a big impact: In old system, 130 matters per month were profiled.  In new system, average is 300 per month.

Coming soon… firm directory will look more LinkedIn. It also has type-ahead look-up features.  Tom expects this will drive use of the directory. Also using Neudesic Pulse to collect more bio information for lawyers.  It sits on top of SharePoint.

The firm is also applying UI/UX principles to presenting financial data. The firm visually renders key data without asking partners to know Excel.

Periscope will launch soon. Firm has 120+ full-time document review lawyers. The firm is collecting data about document decisions. Software will render visual displays about review and reviewer performance.  Expectation is that this will help staff matters to optimize skill sets per project.


Andrew Baker – Case Study in UX/UIX


Current intranet has been live since 2009. It has the look of classic law firm intranet – quite cluttered. Firm will re-launch soon. For new portal, firm did color research (based on science about colors).  Making search more prominent is a key design goal. The re-built team conducted many interviews to understand what information to make easiest to find. They also used card sorting to help guide the right navigation structure. Once that structure was defined, the firm used wireframing (Balsamic) to mock-up page designs.

If the firm were to do the design process again, here it what it would do differently: Make UI less graphics heavy. As structure grows, revise and prune. Search out of the box in SharePoint has been hard.

A final question is whether a law firm even needs a “traditional” intranet. The functionality is needed but we can re-imagine how to deliver it.

SeyfarthLink for Collaboration

The site is not matter-centric; rather it is portfolio-centric.  Many of the firm’s client overseen a portfolio  of matters.

There are portfolio sites, client sites, and matter sites.  They can exchange information.

Client pages are branded with client logo. Still using mega-menus but introduced a left-side slider draw to navigate to different matter sites. The site presents financial information in a very clean graphic.

In the future, the firm will focus on mobility and responsive design. (Responsive means that each page automatically adjusts to the type of device on which it is used.)


Patrick DiDomenico – Intranet Design and UI/UX

Goals of intranet / portal re-design:

  • Simple and minimal (remove clutter and distractions)
  • Usable (intuitive, minimize training)
  • Eliminate Questions
  • Familiar (reduce frustration)
  • Magnetic (expose meaningful information, especially for lawyers)
  • Uniform (for ease of use)

Shows before and after.  Before is text-heavy, too many colors, and cluttered. The theory was that everything had to be in one place and firm had to cater to every stakeholder’s request. An intermediate step was an out-of-the-box SharePoint intranet with a few tweaks. Current intranet (ODConnect) is much cleaner, has discrete areas on page.  Views vary by persona. Highlights content each persona needs and uses. Uses tabs across the tab (with nicely understated tab design).

Based on user demand, the number of buttons on intranet kept growing. While minimalism is good, blank is not. Upper right of ODConnect has “quick six”: six personalized buttons on the upper right of every page.

Other features: Search accesses multiple repositories. For search, had similar problems with native SharePoint search (like Reed Smith). Mouse movement is software controlled to make mega-menu navigation easier

[Pictures of a few slides are available on my Twitter feed.]