Legal Knowledge Management amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Legal knowledge management is facing new challenges. We had the chance to talk about it some time ago: the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many law firms to switch to remote working.

Remote work relies on using a series of technologies.

First, technologies that enable audio and video communication: Zoom, Skype, google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and the like. 

Second, instant messaging tools that enable fast, casual communications like Slack and similar.

Third, project management software that makes it possible to; keep track of the team progress, assign tasks, track time and give partial solace to the worst control freaks: Monday, Trello, and Asana are a few of the software programs available.  

Fourth, cloud-based solutions that enable file sharing with other remote teams, like Google Drive or  DropBox. 

 

Covid-19 is impacting Legal Knowledge Management

There are many ways to look at this phenomenon. We don’t know if it’s here to stay, like some have claimed. Certainly, though, Covid-19 has severely impacted not only the way law firms work, but also the way they produce, share and store information. If this can sound like a platitude, we could try to rephrase it. Covid-19 has impacted the way law firms are conducting legal knowledge management. 

In the previous post, we discussed the concept of Legal Knowledge Management and why it is so important for law firms. 

Law firms produce or store a vast amount of content – some of this content is sensitive or critical – it could consist of briefs, evidence or reports important to a legal proceeding. It could consist of case law, laws and secondary regulations. 

Law firms organize this content using a taxonomy and relying on IT tools that make organization and retrieval easier and more effective. They map the processes that underlie information creation, checking who produces what, and where the content produced should be stored. 

Is remote working forcing law firms to reconsider their legal knowledge management strategy? Things are changing along 3 lines: 

  1. In terms of the quantity and type of the information produced: new content also consists of chats, video calls recordings, and short messages exchanged in the project management software itself. 
  2. In the way that information is stored: files and documents are in the cloud instead of being on the intranet, in a pc folder or worse, on paper. 
  3. In the way the information production workflow is working:  it may be necessary to redefine who produces what and how- who is taking notes during calls, or is it better to just record the call? 

 

Legal Knowledge Management pet peeve: Systems integration

Remote working also made another issue even more pressing. It increased the number of platforms that lawyers are using to do their job, and made the necessity for seamless integration even more real. 

In our previous post, we analyzed how a multiplicity of legal technology tools, legal databases, DMS, document automation software, and AI document review tech need to function together as much as possible. 

If we add more tools, namely video and chat software, project management, and cloud networks, the necessity for making sure that this system works together in sweet harmony is even greater. This is both a responsibility for legal knowledge managers – choosing the right technology – and for legal tech companies – enabling API and designing for open integration as much as possible.