Wouldn’t it be great for business development if you could tap all the connections that your fellow lawyers and staff have? 

Well you can. Doing so has been easy for quite some time as I reported in Something for Nothing? Enterprise Relationship Discovery (30 May 2007).

If you are in large law firm knowledge management, marketing, or business development, it should now be easier to persuade management to buy enterprise relationship discovery software. Email Software Delves Into Employees’ Contacts (Wall Street Journal, 21 April 2008) reports on this category of software. “Companies are rolling out software that allows them to mine their employees’ emails and electronic address books for contact information, in a bid to make it easier to establish relationships with potential clients and others.” The article reports that Contact Networks “is used at about 40 law firms, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP”.

Few firms like to be first to try something new. A mainstream media report on something means it can’t be all that new. And with two named AmLaw 100 firms as customers and 38 other law firms (and that is just for one product), other firms risk missing being in the middle of the adoption curve, where they usually prefer to be. How long before partners grill the CIO, CKO, or CMO about why the firm does not have this type of product?