What is BigLaw KM?
BigLaw refers to large law firms and the particular issues associated with operating and working in a large law firm environment. How large? Suffice it to say we’re talking about the largest cohort of law firms measured by some combination of headcount, revenues, and office number. It’s one of those “know it when you see it” kind of things. KM, of course, stands for knowledge management. If you need an explanation of what knowledge management is, this is probably not the right place for you. So, BigLaw+KM means doing KM-related work in a large law firm environment. It’s that simple.
Much of what I write about will also be relevant to in-house KM operations, especially because of the symbiotic – and sometimes parasitic 😉 – relationships between inside and outside counsel. Likewise, many of the KM challenges that apply to the megafirms also affect smaller ones and even solo practitioners, but I will normally leave it to the readers to fend for themselves when it comes to that determination.
I can’t help it. I have a passion for this stuff and want to share my thoughts with my BigLaw KM colleagues out there. Now that I’ve moved into a consulting role, I’m finding that I have more time to monitor the developments that impact BigLaw KM and to reflect on their broader relevance beyond the boundaries of my previous BigLaw firm. My goal is for BigLawKM.com to become more than just a personal soapbox. I hope it turns into a popular exchange for the BigLaw KM community with comments, guest posts, and useful resources, but that’s really up to you, the readers. Please get in touch if you have suggestions for blog topics or for the site itself.
Check out my very first post here to read more about some of the key thematic “waves” I expect to be returning to frequently.
Who am I?
I’ve been involved in BigLaw KM for about as long as anyone out there and at least as long as KM was a named function in the law firm world. In addition to having managed a global KM operation in a BigLaw firm, I’ve done strategic technology planning, legal IT management, and application development. Back in the days of quills and ink (err…dictaphones and carbon paper), I practiced law and was a partner at a 50- lawyer firm. I found my true calling when I became the first lawyer in my firm with an honest-to-goodness personal computer on his desk. That started me down a path to becoming a pioneer for a number of legal operational, technical and KM developments, including document assembly systems, uniform task-based management codes, portals, collaboration tools, enterprise search, semantic web applications, matter lifecycle management applications, machine learning, wikis and more. Along the way I helped found the large law firm KM group in New York that is still thriving and, when I wasn’t too busy managing a team of over 30 legal KM professionals, regularly presented at legal KM and technology conferences.
These days I’m offering my knowledge management and technology strategy consulting services to professional service firms and other knowledge-intensive organizations with an emphasis on metadata capture, management and analysis; selection, implementation and optimization of search, collaboration and workflow tools; matter/project tracking; and information/records governance. View my LinkedIn profile (below) for more details or contact me directly to discuss how I might be of assistance to you and your organization.