Knowledge management has a cycle: the creation, storage, sharing and utilization of knowledge.
When knowledge is used, new knowledge is created, and the cycle begins again.
Knowledge management provides the link between people and information or processes, ensuring
that the user has easy access to the information needed to take action. Ideally this information will
come from a variety of sources. For example, knowledge management in a law department might bring
together historic data useful to negotiate fees or alternative fee arrangements, or might aggregate
information to assist in early case assessment or developing case strategy. In law firms, knowledge
management has traditionally been focused on capturing lawyers’ intellectual capital—their legal
knowledge and expertise. While that knowledge is important in law departments as well, knowledge
related to the business of law is equally important.
Types of Law Department Knowledge (the Vocabulary)
Knowledge created and used by law departments comes in a variety of forms. It ranges from being
structured (explicit) to unstructured (tacit). The less structured the knowledge, typically, the more
difficult it is to capture.
Fielded Data—Fielded data is structured data captured in a system to enable centralized access,
reporting and trend analysis. Examples include names and addresses of counsel, vendors or
experts; calendar or docket dates; and other similar information.
Financial Data—Financial data includes information such as budgets, historical spend information,
trends, law firm usage and internal spend.
Documents—Documents may be created by in-house or outside counsel. They may include
templates, policies, clauses, briefings, legal memos and more.
Unstructured Information—Unstructured information includes a range of knowledge, such
as company positions, advice, and, perhaps the fastest growing repository for departmental
knowledge, email content.