In my prior post, Knowledge Management Reincarnated, I argued that KM is expanding beyond its core remit today because KM professionals span multiple disciplines, think laterally, and can handle complex problems that fall outside the boundaries of other support functions. Three experienced KM professionals wrote great comments, which I reproduce here. 

Patrick DiDomenico, CKO of Gibbons P.C. and
Great post, and a much-needed one. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I’ve always noticed that legal KM is different wherever you go, and it often depends on the background of the people involved in KM. I’m head KM (CKO) at my firm, but I also manage the library and litigation support department, have an active role in our E-Discovery Task Force, and am the social media evangelist (among other things). My role as a former practicing litigator at my firm has a lot to do with what I now do for the firm. The fact that I do these things does not make them “KM activities.” Rather, these are some of the things that the head of KM happens to do.

Meredith L. Williams, Director of Knowledge Management, Baker Donelson
Great post and comment. I couldn’t agree more. These days CKOs and KM professionals are being asked to expand their roles further and further in addition to continuing many traditional KM tasks. As Patrick referenced, I too aid in multiple projects that are not traditional KM such as Social Media, Competitive Intelligence, E-Discovery, Legal Project Management, Alternative Fee Arrangements and Mobility. In addition, our firm expands KM into the client relationship role. We look at KM tools as aiding with risk management for the client. The interesting question will be where will KM be in 10 years?

Rob Saccone, VP, Product Management, Thomson Reuters ||
Hubbard One
, founder of XMLaw

Great article and comments. As a former KM’er and now a vendor, I’m also seeing the role of the KM professional change within many firms. But this is not limited or isolated to KM. In some firms, particularly those without a formal KM function, I’ve seen other senior positions such as the CMO or CIO take on such projects that require a broad, cross-functional understanding of both the practice and business of law. I’ve argued that, as law firms become more business-minded, many senior level non-attorneys (or non-practicing attorneys) will evolve into more “traditional” business management roles. In many firms, the combination of marketing, business development and knowledge management is looking more and more like product management in the corporate world. It’s interesting to observe how firms adopt corporate best practices, though at times they choose different names to describe them.