Thursday, 13 March 2014

Legal KM, the shift from internal focus to client focus

law books a photo by j3net on Flickr
I have been reading a very interesting case study from the legal sector, entitled "Value added services – Empty promises or real benefit? Using VAS to benefit clients and the business strategy at DLA Piper", by Chris Green and Megan Jenkins, originally published by Legal Knowledge Management: Insight and Practice, Ark Group/Managing Partner, 2013.

In this paper, Chris and Megan look at how the old legal model of billing by the hour, which drives a very individualist approach to knowledge, is changing. Increasingly firms are looking to deliver cost-effective services and good value, which are driving internal efficiencies and knowledge-sharing.

The services that are developing a role in this are "value added" services, such as free updates, online support and tools, blogs, webinars, and even free advice on small matters.

This drives an evolution in the focus of the in-house KM team. As well as delivering knowledge to the fee-earners (often through delivering precedents and type documents, and supported by the library) their work now increasingly includes delivering knowledge to the client, and linking client teams' awareness of business needs with the services that the KM team offers. Chris and Megan have a central role supporting the traditional PSLs in this client-focused approach, including this -
"Making it as easy as possible for client partners to promote Value Added Services and provide relevant information to clients is vital. We therefore provide client-friendly introductions and pre-prepared email templates to tell clients about frequently used services. 
"Not only is this good KM (making repeat work more efficient), it also makes the delivery of messages consistent. We collect crosspractice area training topics into a list and we assist client teams with packaging this into bespoke training programmes for clients. We also maintain an internal collection of DLA Piper client training materials to make it easier and faster to produce tailored training materials for clients".
This shift from internally-focused KM towards client-focused KM is a profound one for legal firms, and will only serve to deepen the impact of KM in the legal market.

1 comment:

Roxana Bahrami said...

Nick, very interesting read.
I assume that the shift mentioned above is not only suitable for law firms and better to be applied or perhaps already been applied in other consulting firms as well.

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