ILTA KM 1: Starting a KM Program
I realize this one is a little late, but I think it’s still worth posting. The first session of the Knowledge Management Peer Group Track at ILTA 2008 was held on Monday 8/25. This moderated panel included Nola VanHoy from Alston & Bird, Cherylyn Briggs from Dickstein Shapiro, Elizabeth Ellis from Torys, and Mara Nickerson from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.
To start off the session, basic questions were addressed such as who should lead a KM (knowledge management) program and where does it fit in the law firm. The answers varied by panelist, but there was agreement on getting lawyer involvement and IT department support. The “stealth” approach seemed popular, meaning that you can get KM initiatives going at your firm without the lawyers even realizing they are doing KM.
Cherylyn talked about the importance of identifying and prioritizing your firm’s need for a KM program. Look at the big picture, including internal and external information, and tie it to your practice group goals. Organize it into a business case and then sell it – don’t just implement the same cool stuff that other firms are doing.
Elizabeth stressed the vital need to get management buy in, or your KM program will not succeed.
Nola talked about how to start your tactical implementation. She stressed that your first project is the most critical to get your program off the ground. Identify those early adopters and deliver some quick wins. Create requirements to back up a solid project plan and include a pilot test before rolling anything out live to your users. Show the lawyers something real, not just concepts that they need to imagine.
Mara indicated the importance of demonstrating the success of your KM program initiatives. People need to know that what you’re doing and what they’re contributing to is worth the effort to continue.
~ Amy Witt