I recently reported that only 49% of large law firms have someone in charge of KM (knowledge management). What’s the deal? I’ll ask a panel that question at an upcoming KM conference. 

The Ark Group’s “Knowledge Management for the Modern Law Firm” conference is on February 22-23 in NYC (details at excited utterances). Joshua Fireman of ii3 and I co-chair it.

I moderate a session called Is KM Morphing into Practice Support Consulting? with Dave Hambourger (Technology Partner, Winston & Strawn), Jim Lantonio (Executive Director, Milbank Tweed), and Eugene Stein (Chief Knowledge and Technology Officer, White & Case).

We’ll explore whether KM is/should remain a separate domain or if large law firms should focus more on practice support, which can include KM. I planned this session before ILTA released its ILTA staffing survey. It reports that 250+ lawyer-firms have about 3% of IT staff focused on KM. In contrast, they have 12% on practice support and almost 20% on application development and administration. That means almost 1/3 of IT staff that could focus on anything from lit supp and basic apps to pretty interesting and advanced practice support consulting.

Given the percent split between KM and practice support + apps, we’re not just talking semantics. KM v. a broader vision is key to what staff deliver to lawyers, appropriate skills and experience, and reporting structures.

The Ark conference will be small and I expect a good dialog not only with panelists, but also participants. I hope to answer some of these questions here after the session.