This post was written by Kimberly Stein, manager of Solutions Software for Thomson Reuters

Here at the Ark Group’s 9th annual Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference in New York, legal practitioners and technologists are discussing and debating the strategic context for KM in law firms.

A series of “TED-talk” style discussions, debates, and highly interactive sessions will explore what role KM can play in helping firms become more efficient, and help support pricing and profitability. Firms are under increasing pressure to provide greater value to clients while reducing costs.

Firms can reduce the cost of matters by employing a number of KM tools, and I’m looking forward to hearing about how firms are applying KM both strategically and operationally to help reach their business goals.

KM done right permeates both the practice and business of law. Solutions like West km address the business needs of a firm by bringing efficiencies to the practice areas, which can reduce pressure for write-downs. A typical scenario at many firms are the blast emails asking, “has anybody ever worked this type of a case/scenario before?” This disrupts multiple people and their workflows, and doesn’t always produce the needed answers. KM obviates the need to do all that; attorneys can search the firm’s culled precedent collection and find model documents easily without disrupting the workflow of others, with confidence that their search is comprehensive and inclusive. Increasingly, general counsels are requiring or giving preference to firms that provide effective mechanisms for tapping into institutional knowledge.

Because West km incorporates WestlawNext results, it extends search even further, giving attorneys access to all related information in the online legal research system including information linked by KeySearch and KeyCite, as well as analytical sources such as ALR, practice guides, and treatises. Profile extraction technology to build KM repositories of searchable work product helps ensure that nothing important is missed. These efficiencies contribute to the reduction of time and therefore help cost reduction in matter delivery.