It’s an old adage that knowledge management is 80% process and culture. But if people don’t play, process won’t work.  

In US law firms, the success of manual KM is mixed at best. I’ve suggested previously that automated approaches may be preferable (e.g., 2006 (Not) Technology Prediction, Is Manual KM Doomed?, KM – Why Automated Approaches Are Easier).

The Wall Street Journal reports in Skills Tracking Lets Firms
Measure Bench Strength
(2/13/06, $) that some US businesses have developed skills databases “to help fill specific needs.” Employers create databases that track employee skills and credentials. It’s simple in theory but not in practice. “Employees can misstate or deliberately overstate their qualifications. And some managers may withhold information, fearing that their most skilled employees will be poached by others.” The article details several companies that have developed skills databases and the limitations they encounter.

So law firms are in good company. Those that have built self-rating experience location systems find that lawyers hate rating themselves and tend to under- or over-state their experience. This is just another reason driving firms to automated solutions. For experience locations, systems are emerging that can infer experience based on matters worked on and time billed to those matters.