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For corporate counsel, organizational knowledge can be a double-edged sword. Within a legal department, it can be a powerful weapon. In-house lawyers and the law firms they work with capture and preserve critical knowledge every day, in briefs, memorandums, letters, notes, and e-mail. If that collective work product is shared among the company’s lawyers, it better arms them to face common issues. And the duplication it avoids can cut legal costs substantially. But companywide, electronically stored knowledge can be an Achilles’ heel and an attorney’s nightmare, leaving a corporation vulnerable to exposure of sensitive information. Realizing this, corporate counsel are turning their attention to the burgeoning field of knowledge management, seeking to learn to mine and manage the information their organizations produce. Starting Points On the Web, a number of sites provide gateways to knowledge management. Although no site focuses solely on KM for corporate legal departments, several look more broadly at the subject within the legal field and in corporations and offer useful information for in-house counsel. One of the best yet most humble portals to KM resources on the Web is the KMWiki � voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KmWiki. A “wiki” is a collaborative Web site. Software enables visitors to a Web page to add and edit content freely. “Open editing,” as it is sometimes called, allows those with common interests to share information and ideas easily in a single Web location. The KMWiki, while little more than a collection of links to KM resources elsewhere on the Web, stands out because, unlike other collections of links, it is the product of not just one person, but of various KM professionals who contribute to it. It is a modest-looking page that accurately calls itself a “superindex.” The KMWiki covers KM across a range of businesses and professions. For an index more focused on the legal field, start with the Knowledge Management for Lawyers Resource Center, denniskennedy.com/kmlaw.htm, a collection of links compiled by Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and technology consultant in St. Louis. Along with links to nearly 50 legal KM resources, Kennedy includes two useful “primers” he wrote on the subject. A broader array of articles about legal KM can be found at the Intranets/ Knowledge Management Resource Center of LLRX.com, llrx.com/intranets_and_knowledge_management.html. This is a collection of some 50 original articles about the subject, written by industry professionals, lawyers, law librarians, and other experts. The Resource Center includes a useful index of links to KM articles published elsewhere on the Web and other background material. Of particular interest to corporate counsel are the site’s many articles about intranets and extranets. Although its focus is on corporate, not legal, KM, the CIO.com Knowledge Management Research Center, cio.com/research/knowledge, includes a number of articles and case studies that address the legal implications of corporate KM and the role of in-house counsel in setting information management policies. From the Brint Institute in New York, The Knowledge Management Network, KMNetwork.com, purports to be among the best KM portals on the Web. It provides links to books, journal articles, tools, content portals, case studies, research, and more. Unfortunately, its cluttered and chaotic organization makes it difficult for a user to hone in on relevant information, and its search engine provides little help. KMWorld, kmworld.com, is the Web companion to the magazine of the same name. It offers full-text articles from its pages dating back to 1998, along with a collection of white papers focusing on best practices in various industries and a “Knowledge Community” for online discussions of KM issues. The site’s focus is broad, but it includes a number of articles on KM in the legal field. To find them, search “law” and scroll through the resulting list. For a broad look at KM with a European bent, visit KnowledgeBoard, a wide-ranging collection of original content, resource libraries, discussion boards, and links. Web Logs Web logs, or “blogs,” and knowledge managers are natural partners, with their shared focus on making knowledge and ideas widely available through easy-to-use platforms. In fact, KM professionals have their own genre of blog, the K-log. Among these “kloggers,” as KM bloggers call themselves, are some who focus on the legal field. Prominent among them is Joy London, knowledge manager at Allen & Overy, whose blog, excited utterances, tracks KM news and developments at law firms throughout the world. Christopher Smith works in knowledge management at an unidentified “major law firm” in New York. His blog, “How Do You Know That?,”, focuses on KM and legal technology, and touches along the way on topics ranging from New York to movies. KM is a frequent topic of Rick Klau’s blog, tins, where Klau also discusses legal technology, marketing, business strategy, and a host of related topics. Klau, a nonpracticing lawyer who has focused his career on the intersection of law and technology, organizes postings to his blog by topic, making it simple to find all that pertain to KM. There are other blogs that focus on KM. One way to find them is through the Blawg Directory, an index of law-related blogs. Follow the link for the “Research & KM” category to browse them. Articles Informative articles on KM in the legal profession can be found in various locations on the Web. Some that are worth a read include: The Lucent Approach to International Knowledge Management,” by W. Preston Granbery, former Lucent Technologies corporate counsel. “Making the Case for Legal KM,” by Margaret McDonald. “The Power of Knowledge Management,” a collection of articles from Corporate Counsel magazine on KM at in-house legal departments. “Law in Order,” a case study from CIO magazine of a KM initiative at the Washington, D.C., firm Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky. “Knowledge Management in the Law Firm,” by legal technology writer Wendy Leibowitz. “Uncommon Knowledge: The KM Questions for Service Firms,” an extract from the forthcoming book by Matthew Parsons, Effective Knowledge Management for Law Firms. “Global Law Firm Knowledge Management Survey Report,” findings of a survey of 16 large U.S., U.K., and Australian firms conducted by Curve Consulting, New York. “A Stages of Growth Model for Knowledge Management Technology in Law Firms,” by Petter Gottschalk, professor at the Norwegian School of Management, published in the Journal of Information, Law & Technology.
Robert J. Ambrogi, a lawyer in Rockport, Massachusetts, is acting managing editor of Corporate Counsel sibling publications Law Technology News and Law Firm Inc. E-mail: [email protected].

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