Almost every law firm — from the largest AmLaw 100 legal giant to the smallest solo practice — can take steps to improve or at least sharpen its approach to knowledge strategy, which impacts everything from how firms use the Internet and social media to interact with clients to how they organize their emails.
Too often, however, any thought towards knowledge strategy gets lost in the day-to-day client work, business development and project management duties that fill many lawyers’ days, said Jack Bostelman, Chair of the Knowledge Strategy Group, adding that many lawyers have an unusually high personality trait called urgency. “And in this context, that translates into: I can’t do anything else until the client work is done,” Bostelman said. “That means that stuff like this falls to not even the back burner, but into the pantry, and rarely gets attention.”
To shine some light into that pantry, Bostelman is hosting a free webinar, “Introduction to Knowledge Strategy: More Tips and Tools for Improving Efficiency and Value”, that will feature tips and suggestions for including knowledge strategy in your legal practice and how that can improve your client relations and eventually positively impact your bottom line. The 30-minute webinar will be held on March 24, at noon, Eastern, and is produced by the Knowledge Strategy Group of the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division. This webinar is actually the third part of series of free monthly webinars focused on how to practice more efficiently and deliver better client value, he said. (You can see a full list of upcoming webinars here.)
Too often, however, any thought towards knowledge strategy gets lost in the day-to-day client work, business development and project management duties that fill many lawyers’ days.
Bostelman, who was a former Sullivan & Cromwell partner before forming his practice management consulting firm KM/JD Consulting LLC, explained that he wants to show attendees how improving your knowledge strategy approach can help law firms of any size. Two panelists joining the webinar — Allison C. Shields, President of Legal Ease Consulting and co-author of the book, How to Do More in Less Time; and David A. Sprentall, Partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP and Chair of the Practice Management Group in ABA Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section — will offer perspectives on the use of knowledge strategy from both large law firms and solo practices.
The webinar is going to address such concepts as using checklists to improve efficiency, managing e-mails and contacts, establishing secure remote access to computer files and reengaging the firm’s approach to the Internet and social media, among other subjects.
For example, Sprentall is going to talk about how a practice group in a large firm can reinvigorate their practice group intranet site — such as with newsfeeds, frequently used checklists and other practice tools and other timely resources — which can often get stale because of lack of attention, Bostelman said. “This is one of the big problems in large firms, because there is always more urgent work to do,” he said. “But then you get into the vicious cycle: The internal website has gotten stale, so no one goes to it, and then no one posts anything there because they know no one’s going to it.” Sprentall is going to speak about ways of reviving that, and how to make a plan to offer fresh content and a keep it fresh, Bostelman explained.
On the small firm or solo practice side, Shields is going to address a key issue for these practices: Creating secure remote access to computer files while staying mobile, he added. “There are some serious issues if you don’t encrypt these,” Bostelman noted. “So if it’s sitting in a cloud somewhere, and your cloud vendor doesn’t have the right procedures, you’ve got risk.” Shields is going to talk about how firms should approach this issue and offer some specific suggestions on which products might be best to use, he added.
A major thread running through all of this, and indeed through all the webinars, is that attention paid to a firm’s approach to knowledge strategy can pay enormous dividends in productivity and efficiency, Bostelman said.
“And I think that helping lawyers see — from those lawyers who have actually done it — how a proper knowledge strategy approach can help your firm and how you actually can accomplish it while still doing your client work is one of our main contributions here.”