Law firm knowledge management leader Freshfields is considering KM cutbacks and re-organization. 

Freshfields profits drive targets Italian partners and City back-office (LegalWeek, 10/20/06) reports that the firm may reduce staff to enhance profits. Freshfields has “put forward proposals to review its London back office functions this week and is currently consulting with the affected staff.” Nothing is definite but the “main areas under consideration are knowledge management and business development, which are set to merge.”

I’ve heard other reports that Magic Circle firms seek to reduce their KM investments. Top London law firms have employed many Practice Support Lawyers. In contrast, US firms have only a handful, relying instead on automating KM. That the London firms would cut back on PSLs or KM is not surprising. Nor is combining KM with business development or marketing. These functions naturally overlap and KM might show a better return were it more closely aligned with a revenue generating function.

Thanks to fellow blogger Joy London for alerting me to this. Joy co-edits Law Librarian News / excited utterances, a global electronic newsletter for law librarians and legal knowledge managers (for subscription information, contact Joy at jlondon at