April 12, 2016

In a recent article in ILTA’s Peer to Peer publication, Ramin Vosough, VP of Product for The Firm Directory proposes that technology’s impact on legal practice management is becoming more profound as the demand for specialized expertise increases.

The article, titled, “Beyond the Interruption: Leveraging Expertise Location To Capitalize on Talent,” highlights our perspective that people-based directories are among the most-used tools on a law firm’s intranet. Competition for clients is hotter than ever and smart firms should capitalize on their relevant experience to drive growth and new business.  Topics covered in the article include:

  • Adapting secure social collaboration to firm culture
  • What makes a good firm directory great
  • Building a future on expertise, social collaboration and profiling

Read the article excerpt below:

By embracing profiling and social collaboration to centralize knowledge management, forward-thinking firms are creating an integrated platform that securely captures and shares expertise for the long term. Rather than being mired down in “pardon the interruption” (PTI) email queries and unwieldy search processes, new tools for locating expertise are adding tangible value — profiling a deeper level of information, capitalizing on a firm’s immense tacit knowledge as a competitive asset and turning personal connections into business opportunities.

Defining Expertise Is Just Step One

It’s one thing to have in-house experience that distinguishes your firm; it’s entirely another to locate that expertise effectively and capitalize on its value. Knowledge and expertise are developed everywhere, for example by working with a particular opposing counsel, industry or type of matter. The need to locate this expertise within the firm arises consistently as partners cross-sell services to existing clients, support new business development and respond to RFPs. The search becomes even more complicated when multiple profile attributes are required to find the right person (for example, a lawyer with IP litigation and regulatory experience, a particular bar admission, and personal experience with a specific opposing counsel).

A firm should launch an expertise location strategy to profile its most important investment — its people. This would then extend into the assets produced by people, such as matters, articles and documents that verify experience within a particular area of law. People directories are among the most-used tools on a firm’s intranet, so the directory should go deeper and profile valuable information. Strategically, the possibilities are vast, based on an optimized directory that combines people-based experience with key matters, clients or practice-specific profiling.

Realizing an Opportunity for Practice Innovation

Even as firms struggle with the growing pains of expertise location, most have a firm directory in place. Developed by your own skilled IT team, such a platform might commonly be built on SharePoint or some other intranet-based solution and could even include some practice-specific information, skills or industry experience. While these systems add value and capitalize on in-house technical resources, by nature they are often outdated, costly to update and inflexible to any deeper level of expertise location. In addition to contact information, many people assets can be profiled, providing potentially untapped sources to fill openings or gaps in skill sets or experience. More extensive information such as matters or cases worked, practices, professional affiliations and even pro bono work can be referenced and potentially useful in KM initiatives.

Read the article in its entirety on ILTA’s Peer to Peer magazine.