Implementing KM at a large law firm

Meet with lawyers to identify and/or develop key goals (“wishes”)

Internal knowledge management

  • Share and re-use work product
  • Contact management
  • Capture tacit know-how and re-use (“best demonstrated practices”)
  • Catalog professional expertise
  • Collaborative tools

Delivering services to clients

  • Matter management (billing information)
  • Client-specific document delivery and/or collaboration via extranets
  • Collaborative tools
  • Knowledge databases and legal updates
  • Advisory systems (e.g., document assembly, checklists, and expert systems)

 Evaluate current situation (“reality”)


  • Map existing processes for creating, saving, and re-using work
  • Understand incentives to share, contribute, and re-use
  • Review existing intranet, work product systems, extranets
  • Interview key staff (e.g., Librarian, Marketing Dir., Finance Dir., Prof. Dev. Dir.)
  • Review technology infrastructure


  • Assess needs and interests
  • Get feedback on potential responses to proposed goals
  • Help identify additional needs and services firm could provide


  • Benchmark internal practices against other law and professional service firms
  • Survey client-facing initiatives and impact on firms and clients


  • Assess potential services and/or software solutions to achieve goals
  • Evaluate vendor quality and responsiveness (talk to other customers)

Write first-cut plan (“closing the gap between wishes and reality”)

  • Organize and explain goals
  • Prioritize goals based on business benefits
  • Estimate (rough only) resources — technology and staffing — required to achieve goals
  • Discuss organizational and cultural shifts that may be required
  • Identify key issues and areas for further investigation
  • Conduct follow-up research as necessary to fill-in gaps

Review and Refine Plan

  • Discuss first-cut plan with management and section heads
  • Discuss first-cut plan with key directors and staff
  • Convene client focus groups or other mechanism for client feedback
  • Assess in more detail subset of vendors identified earlier
  • Based on feedback, perform additional research and refine plan

Develop working plan with proposals for pilot projects

  • Specify technologies and staffing
  • Develop budget
  • Specific goals and activities
  • Metrics of usage and value created (not necessarily the same)
  • Include milestones and feedback loop to adjust pilot project

Gain approval for pilot plan from firm management

Supervise and work on pilots

Assess pilots and modify plan

Develop final plan, with staffing and budget recommendations

Assist in staffing new initiatives

On-going consultations to review and refine plan and initiatives