What’s hot in legal knowledge management? What would KM managers not do again? And what legal KM topics are of most interest now? KM professionals at about 50 large US, UK, and Canadian law firms answered these questions in a recent survey in advance of a private meeting. 

The survey asked open-ended questions, meaning respondents wrote completely free-form text answers. One of the meeting co-organizers and I subjectively categorized answers so we could provide an aggregated “directional sense” of the group’s views. Below are results for each question. We also do a subjective trend analysis to assess how the answers trend over time. (Totals across questions vary because respondents could provide multiple answers and/or skip questions.)

1. What’s hot or tough
DM, EM, S/P, RM, Search, or Collaboration 28
Legal project management (LPM) 21
Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFA) + Budgets 16
Social Media + Web 2.0 12
Lawyer Adoption or Sharing 11
Process Improvement 10
Forms, Precedents, and Document Assembly 8
Matter Management 6
Client Facing 5
Litigation Support and e-discovery 3
Experience location 2
2. What would you not do again?
Taxonomy 6
Customize Software 5
Forms, Brief Banks 5
Ask Lawyers to Change 4
Expertise Database 4
Search or Document Management (DM) 4
Blogs-Wikis 1
3. What would you most like to hear from your peers?
[Note: only lists topics with 3 or more votes; many topics received 1 or 2 votes]
AFA / Budgeting 6
Change management 6
SharePoint 5
Alternative staffing 5
Client facing KM 4
Matter management 3

Trend Analysis
We have asked similar questions for a few years. (See 2010 What’s Hot in KM? results.) In an even more subjective assessment, a co-organizer and I also put together a list that assesses how answers have changed over time. Changes in level of interest do not necessarily equate to to changes in level of activity.

KM organization, budgeting, alignment, change management
Blogs and wikis

Process improvement

Content, DM, SharePoint, and software challenges
Change management challenge
Social Media (but below prior expectations)
Client facing KM (at a low level)