The right legal knowledge management software can help a law firm or legal department capture their own people- or document-based knowledge, as well as the expertise of the collective legal community. A knowledge management system makes that knowledge more easily searchable and verifiable; allows for more efficient sharing, collaboration and communication with legal experts within a firm or the broader legal community; and helps ensure the best legal service and security for clients.
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What is knowledge management for lawyers?
In the legal profession, lawyers are always referencing, applying and building upon existing legal expertise and effective legal processes and precedent to meet their individual and business clients’ legal needs. They require a way to find that knowledge where it exists—anywhere from court and legal documents, to email communications and call transcripts, to the writings or thoughts of a legal expert with whom they seek to connect. Then, they need ways to establish the accuracy of that information and access it in a format they can use as a launching pad for new work or connect with the bearer of the knowledge they seek for a conversation.
Throughout this process, because of the nature of individual and business legal matters, there must be assurances that all information involved in these transactions is secure and—when necessary—kept confidential. A law firm’s knowledge management system, versus just a traditional internal knowledge base, is ideal for legal operations because it also incorporates content verification and insights and important security and compliance measures.
Benefits of knowledge management for legal professionals
Effective knowledge management builds value for many businesses and their clients, and that’s true for the legal profession as well. With the right legal knowledge management software and strategy, users in the legal industry can expect to:
- Establish a central repository for business-critical knowledge. It’s not uncommon for legal practices to have vast stores of knowledge spread across a variety of places, such as within individual offices or within the minds or communications of individual legal experts. A better way for attorneys to save legal research and briefs is by using knowledge management software. These systems ensure important legal information is stored in a well-organized and easily-searchable base, which can prove essential for reference in future cases.
- Save time searching for legal precedents and experts. Searching for the documents or connections you need for a current case can be time-consuming, especially when that search is being conducted remotely or internationally. Not only is this not the most effective use of a legal professional’s time, it can also slow down actions and decisions that are often time-sensitive. A knowledge management system that works for lawyers can help to organize these documents and contacts. It can provide attorneys with more intuitive contextual search features and integration into regular workflows to speed up the legal research process.
- Identify knowledge gaps and increase efficiency. A knowledge management system reveals your legal organization’s available knowledge supply and the strengths and weaknesses of those areas. A knowledge management system will deliver insight into what connections and documentation may be lacking that relate to specific legal areas your lawyers are likely to encounter. A knowledge management system can also help you identify the need for stronger knowledge documentation and communication between the legal team and other areas within a broader business or industry. With this understanding, you can work on building those areas to provide better service to individual and business clients.
- Preserve knowledge into the future. People are the source of much knowledge and expertise within the legal community, and as long as those experts are part of your firm or wider legal circle, that’s not a problem. But, inevitably, those people retire or move on to other jobs. If they take that key knowledge with them, that’s a significant loss for your organization. Instead of keeping specific legal expertise attached to one person or group, knowledge management encourages sharing and documentation of that intel via training materials, process guides, videos, case-relevant templates, and other easily accessible and updatable formats. Doing so helps keep critical information and processes available to your legal team so they can continue to build upon it.
Discover how KM software can help improve operations in your law practice
As a legal professional, people depend on you. To provide the best possible counsel and solutions to your clients and ensure that you remain competitive, you must constantly draw upon knowledge that is proven, verified and secure. Get started with legal knowledge management for your practice today for free with Guru.