Fortunately, technology systems exist to capture, store and retrieve many types of information used
by law departments. If a law department lacks any of the fundamental technology systems (e.g., ebilling,
matter management, document management), or if those systems are not current or usable, or cannot
be integrated with other systems, those systems will likely have a high priority in the department’s
knowledge management strategy.
There are various mechanisms to capture the various types of knowledge. Fielded data of the type
used by law departments is frequently contained in matter management systems, expert databases,
contract management systems, IP management systems and the like. Financial data is captured in ebilling
systems and the company’s financial data systems, such as accounts payable systems. Documents may
be captured in document management systems.
Unstructured information may also be captured in a variety of ways. For example, many organizations
are using web-based collaboration tools, including team sites such as Microsoft SharePoint, for
capturing information related to specific matters or topics. Some law departments are using Wikis
and blogs as a means of capturing information—sometimes for project management, sometimes for
gathering input from a wide variety of sources (e.g., responding to complex interrogatories that involve
many players). The curator can update responses in real time based on the input received.
Tacit knowledge is more difficult to capture. Some aspects can be captured similarly to unstructured
information, but because much tacit knowledge resides in people’s heads, it is important to develop a
structure for capturing and sharing that knowledge, as described in more detail beginning on page 20.
Leveraging Knowledge from Outside Counsel and Other Legal Service Providers
Outside counsel have considerable knowledge that can be of benefit to the law department, and
the law department may be able to leverage that knowledge in various ways. The following are
• Develop standards for when and what documents outside counsel should
submit to the law department.