Knowledge is power. But above all, it is also a central ingredient in the recipe of a company with healthy profitability. The effective management of existing knowledge requires a special set of skills. We explain what qualities a Legal Knowledge Manager should bring to the table in order to make knowledge processes in a company successful.
For many companies, knowledge is the most valuable asset they have. We have already explained elsewhere that the profitability of a company depends directly on internal knowledge management. The importance of effective knowledge management will continue to grow in 2019. Fewer and fewer companies want to afford to waste this resource.
But who can actually do legal knowledge management? Who should a company entrust this task to?
Here are the top 5 attributes you need to manage successful legal knowledge!
The first thing you need is a good understanding of the overall strategy of your company and/or legal department. Knowledge Management - like any other discipline in a company - is only justified if its implementation supports the achievement of strategic goals. Furthermore, you are able to create an appropriate planning for Knowledge Management from this overall strategy and implement it step by step.
For most managers, knowledge management sounds like a good concept at first. But then it becomes difficult during the implementation and the good ideas are not always realized. However, knowledge management only makes sense where the concept is actually lived. No one needs (even more) paper tigers. Usually, knowledge management is about changes in everyday work. Where processes are improved or automation is carried out, this directly influences the way employees work. In order to get your new ideas to fly, as a knowledge manager you are dependent on everyone:
On the one hand, you need the buy-in from management. To be really convincing, your arguments must be quantified. If you can demonstrate which direct benefits Knowledge Management has for your company, then your management will be convinced!
This sounds demanding, but it is feasible and a valuable investment of time. Because: without support from above, no effective changes can be made and your strategy will fail.
On the other hand, you also need the support of the broad base of lawyers who handle the day-to-day business. Only if they understand the benefits, will they share their knowledge internally (see also "Point 5").
Legal Knowledge Management serves the collective use of the existing knowledge of a company. The processes in a law firm or a legal department can be sensibly supported by using the right technology. It helps you, therefore, if you maintain a good connection to internal IT and speak the language of the technical staff. This means that you are so well versed in technical aspects that you can formulate your requirements for a new tool or platform in such a way that a suitable software can be searched for and selected on the basis of this. It is also a good idea to keep abreast of the latest developments in the LegalTech market in the area of knowledge management and to observe the most important providers.
Change does not usually happen overnight. In certain structures there is a lot of potential for optimization and nobody should try to do it all at once overnight. For the implementation you should give yourself and "your" lawyers time. This does not mean that you should not expect certain results soon. The most important thing is that you start with a good strategy and plan. Nevertheless, you will always encounter (incomprehensible) resistance that you will have to overcome somehow. The trick is to manage it without being impatient or sacrificing your strategic goals.
For successful legal knowledge management, you need to speak the language of your company's legal counsels and/or lawyers in your firm. Finally, the processes must ultimately help the users in the departments. There is almost nothing that lawyers like less than when something changes without being asked. So involve them from the very beginning! Validate your assumptions and pick up the needs of the users. Of course it helps if you yourself have knowledge of the content and legal issues. But most of all, you need a deep understanding of how the system works. If you understand what the lawyers need or can anticipate these needs, then the solutions you create will be positively received!
At HeadStarterz we have combined these necessary skills and have specialised in Legal Knowledge Management. We are tax experts and lawyers with legal work experience in law firms, Big4s and Corporate Legal. We know the technology available on the market and focus on people. They carry the knowledge of a legal service organization. Whether this is a law firm or an in-house legal department. Every organization already has existing potential that can be used. An intervention in working methods only makes sense where such an intervention also leads to an improvement in knowledge management. How this improvement can look like has to be defined clearly and implemented correctly. This also includes a critical examination of the products offered. Not all providers actually offer an effective solution to the problem. Even if they claim they do...
A challenging task for all knowledge managers!
For more information, check out our team of experts.