What does the law department hope to achieve from knowledge management? How does the
department expect it to better the organization? Defining the department’s knowledge management
goals is the first step in developing an effective knowledge management program.
Some of the general benefits of knowledge management have been defined above; however, the
department’s goals should go beyond these general benefits and be specific to the organization. It is
important to gain consensus among key stakeholders regarding goals, and to state them with clarity
Each practice group requires certain types of information that can make its work more effective and
consistent. The practice groups’ requirements are often unique. The illustration below shows the range
of the value of work done by a typical law department—from “bet the company” work, which requires
specialized knowledge and skills and has high risk and impact on the company, to “commodity” work,
which has lower strategic risk or impact on the company and requires less specialized knowledge.
Through effective use of knowledge management, including systems and processes, a law department
can move either entire categories or specific components of legal work down the curve, because
improved knowledge will reduce the effort required and the overall cost of the work. Consideration
of the types or categories of work within the department that can be improved through knowledge
management may help the department crystallize its knowledge management goals.
Examples of types of goals and information required are provided in the coming pages.
Unique “Bet the Firm” Work
• Arising out of day to day business