Knowledge Management for Law Firms: The Training Component
Recently, I ran across a fantastic interview with Patrick DiDomenico, the Chief Knowledge Officer at Ogletree Deakins and the author of Knowledge Management for Lawyers. The interview is available at ReinventingProfessionals.com.
In the interview, Mr. DiDomenico said, “I liked practicing but I found it frustrating. I found that it was an inefficient exercise. ... I found myself using that free time to organize my cases, to try to figure out how to do things more efficiently using spreadsheets and other sorts of crude tools and things like that, to find out how to be a better lawyer, how to practice better.”
He named some of the challenges he faced:
With several offices, how do you know who knows what?
What documents does the firm have?
Where are the documents stored?
What other lawyers even work at the firm?
How can you access the collective knowledge and experience of the firm if you don’t even know what they are working on or that they even exist?
Have you ever felt this way? Like you are spending too much of your time just getting organized?
Now, how do you think your clients feel, knowing they are paying for an inefficient experience? (This is yet another reason why I’ve been championing LTA.)
So if I’m passionate about efficiency, you can imagine that I’m passionate about Knowledge Management (KM). And I believe that training is an integral part of the KM system.
What is KM and how is Training Involved?
First, what is KM? DiDomenico says Knowledge Management at a law firm “is about connecting lawyers with their colleagues and coworkers. It’s about connecting lawyers with the firm’s collective wisdom or collective knowledge, [which is] usually contained in documents. And it’s about how we do those things, the innovative ways to make those connections.”
I’m guessing that all of us attempt to create these systems in our firms, yes? We may not have a “Chief Knowledge Officer,” but each of us tries to find the most efficient ways to get our work done and to serve our clients well.
So, once you’ve figured out where the knowledge gaps are and how you want to connect them, the next step is to share what you know! And the best way to do that? Trainings! Here are just a few ways that trainings can support your knowledge management goals:
Create and communicate firm protocols through easily accessible online (cloud-based) trainings.
Enable people with efficiency ideas to share those ideas via trainings
When a new KM system is established, share the “how tos” in trainings
Obviously, this process gets even easier with a robust learning management system at your beck and call, but that’s fodder for another blog. (Oh wait! I wrote that one already, too! Click here to read it.)
As a bonus, I thought I’d share another, more recent article by DiDomenico. It shares the steps to create a knowledge management department at your firm, including:
“… We quickly formed the first iteration of our KM department by combining some existing groups, people and roles, and bringing on new people to fill the gaps. We looked across the administrative departments at the firm and identified those people who were engaging in knowledge management activities, even if those activities were by another name.”
Check out his entire blog here.
Curious about this concept? Interested in learning how training and an LMS might support your KM goals? Contact me! 303-800-5408, Doug@savvytraining.com