Ideally a knowledge management (KM) system could be built to permit a lawyer to type a specific query in a search box and receive just the information she needs instead of downloading a 233-page manual and searching through it to try to find her answer. But that is still in the future.

“KM systems are getting there,” says Scott MacEwen, president of legal consulting firm Adam Smith, Esq. “They are very good at retrieving relevant documents but have not achieved the query-in-a box capability of providing specific answers consistently.” The user must still solve the puzzle, figure out an answer and determine a course of action.