Law librarians and knowledge management: Tips from West km
This post is a message from the 2013 AALL Annual Meeting and Conference. To read other posts in the series, click here, and watch for more content soon!
Although knowledge management can provide the efficiency that firms are increasingly striving to achieve, many decision makers at firms are reluctant to adopt the process. To find answers to this problem, Thomson Reuters sat down with law librarians across the country and collected thoughts and best practices on improving efficiency, creating quality work product and delivering value through knowledge management. This input provided the foundation for a new white paper that offers key insights into law firm applications of knowledge management. Two of the most useful principles that the discussions produced are:
You don’t have to call it “knowledge management”
Knowledge management is about keeping track of and leveraging work product that the firm has already developed. Most attorneys have been doing this naturally, even without formal systems in place, simply by letting each other know who has done work on what subjects or who others should ask about handling a certain issue. Although this process can seem like second-nature, the term “knowledge management” is often intimidating, confusing or unfamiliar to attorneys. To get around this roadblock, many librarians recommended using a more natural name for the process. For example, one librarian explained that by calling it “information resources”, the firm was able to think of West km as a solution – as a more efficient means to finding necessary information. Other librarians recommended choosing a term that reflects the firm’s values or business objectives.
Show and tell: Become the in-house expert for knowledge sharing
“The proof is in the pudding,” said Cynthia Jones, director of library and information services for Phelps Dunbar LLC. “When the attorney gets to see how this works, he or she becomes more supportive.” To encourage user adoption in her firm, she became the in-house expert and took face-to-face time to show attorneys how to use West km to find information. To become the in-house expert at your firm, visit legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/westkm for demos, user tips, product support and user guides.
Share other tips and tricks that you have used to move the knowledge management process along in your legal organization below, and click here for free downloads of this and other white papers.