AMBROGI LAW OFFICE > ARTICLES
Managing Knowledge Management via the Web
By Robert J. Ambrogi
Knowledge is information that has been processed through the human brain, the product of raw data filtered through learning and experience.
In law firms it abounds. But while firms, thanks to technology, have become pretty good at managing information, they only recently turned attention to mining and managing the knowledge they produce so it can be shared within the firm.
For lawyers looking to locate knowledge about this burgeoning field of knowledge management, the obvious place to turn is the Web. A growing number of sites provide entrée to legal KM. Here is a sampling.
It should come as no surprise that professionals in the field of knowledge management have a compulsive urge to share knowledge. That may explain why one of the best gateways to KM resources on the Web is the KMWiki
What, you might ask, is a wiki? It is a type of server software that allows visitors to a Web page to freely add and edit content. "Open editing," as it is sometimes called, allows people with common interests to share information and ideas easily in a single Web location.
The KMWiki, while little more than a collection of links to KM resources elsewhere on the Web, stands out because, unlike other collections of links, it is the product of not one person, but of the various KM professionals who contribute to it. It is a modest-looking page that accurately calls itself a "super index."
The KMWiki covers KM across a range of businesses and professions. For an index more focused on the legal field, start with the Knowledge Management for Lawyers Resource Center
, a collection of links compiled by Dennis M. Kennedy, a lawyer and technology consultant in St. Louis, Mo.
Along with links to nearly 50 legal KM resources, Kennedy includes two useful "primers" he wrote on KM in the legal profession.
A much broader array of articles about legal KM can be found at the Knowledge Management Resource Center
of LLRX.com. This is a collection of some 50 original articles about KM, written by KM professionals, lawyers, law librarians, and other experts.
The Resource Center includes a useful index of links to KM articles published elsewhere on the Web as well as to books and Web sites related to the topic.
From the Brint Institute, New York, N.Y., KMNetwork.com
, may be the most comprehensive KM portal on the Web. It provides links to books, journal articles, tools, content portals, case studies, research and more. Unfortunately, its cluttered and chaotic organization makes it difficult for a user to hone in on relevant information, and its search engine proves little help.
Companion to the magazine of the same name, KMWorld
, offers full-text articles from its pages dating back to 1998, along with a collection of white papers focusing on best practices in various industries and a "Knowledge Community" for online discussions of KM issues.
The site's focus is broad, but it includes a number of articles on KM in the legal field. To find them most easily, search "law" and scroll through the resulting list.
For a broad look at KM with a European bent, visit KnowledgeBoard
, a wide-ranging collection of original editorial, resource libraries, discussion boards and links.
Web logs and knowledge managers are natural partners, with their shared focus on making knowledge and ideas widely available through easy-to-use platforms. In fact, KM professionals have their own genre of blog, the K-log.
Among these "kloggers," as KM bloggers call themselves, are some who focus on the legal field. Prominent among them is Joy London, knowledge manager at Allen & Overy, whose blog, Excited Utterances
, tracks KM news and developments at law firms throughout the world.
Christopher Smith works in knowledge management at an unidentified "major law firm" in New York. His blog, How Do You Know That?
, focuses on KM and legal technology, and touches along the way on topics ranging from New York to movies.
KM is a frequent topic of Rick Klau's blog, tins
, where he also discusses legal technology, marketing, business strategy, and a host of related topics. Klau, a non-practicing lawyer who has focused his career on the intersection of law and technology, organizes postings to his blog by topic, making it simple to find all that pertain to KM.
There are other blogs that focus on KM. One way to find them and to track new ones is through the Blawg Links Directory
, an index of law-related blogs. Follow the link for the "Research and KM" category to browse them.
Informative articles on KM in the legal profession can be found in various locations on the Web. Some worth a read are:
- "Knowledge Management in the Law Firm," by legal-technology writer Wendy R. Leibowitz.
- "The Power of Knowledge Management," a collection of articles from Corporate Counsel magazine on KM at in-house legal departments.
- "Law in Order," a case study from CIO magazine of a KM initiative at the Washington, D.C., firm Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky.
- "Uncommon Knowledge: The KM Questions for Service Firms," an extract from the forthcoming book by Matthew Parsons, Effective Knowledge Management for Law Firms.
- "Global Law Firm Knowledge Management Survey Report," findings of survey of 16 large U.S., U.K. and Australian firms conducted by Curve Consulting, New York, N.Y.
- "A Stages of Growth Model for Knowledge Management Technology in Law Firms," by Petter Gottschalk, professor at the Norwegian School of Management, published in the Journal of Information, Law & Technology.
Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Mass., tracks new and intriguing Web sites for lawyers through his LawSites Web log. He is author of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, available through LawCatalog.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.