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How Law Firm Knowledge Managers Can Leverage Data Analytics to Improve Firm Performance

December 08, 2021

By Doug Stansfield | Sr. Director Product Management

One of the important lessons that law firms learned amid the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 was the importance of an effective knowledge management strategy — and access to KM tools — in order to support remote working conditions.

Law firm KM professionals have a more trusted and valued role in their organizations than ever. Indeed, Law360 referred to the law firm knowledge management team as the “unsung hero of legal innovation.” They are increasingly tasked with not only establishing the firm’s overall KM strategy, but also identifying the best knowledge management tools, increasing adoption and utilization of those tools, and serving as the lead professionals when it comes to leveraging legal analytics to drive meaningful improvements in the firm.

KM Legal 2021

To help law firm KM professionals better achieve these important strategic goals, LexisNexis recently served as a participating sponsor of Ark Group’s KM Legal 2021, the 17th annual Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference, which was held as a hybrid event via livestream and in-person in New York City.

The conference included a number of sessions that provided attendees with innovative tools, frameworks and insights to improve their law firms’ KM programs. Some of the highlights of the conference included:

  • A keynote address from Joshua Fireman, president of Fireman & Company, on the “butterfly effect” and KM, which explored the important decisions surrounding law firm knowledge management that will affect the practice of law for a decade;
  • Illuminating case studies from leading law firms — such as Shearman & Sterling LLP, Clifford Chance and Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP — that showcased how law firm KM professionals have navigated various operational challenges and emerged with practical solutions;
  • Lively panel discussions in which expert speakers discussed how law firms can improve their performance and client service with better knowledge management; and
  • A keynote presentation by Rudolph F. DeFelice, CEO of KP Labs, regarding the implications for law firms, legal departments and tech companies as the capital markets discover the legal sector.

Legal Analytics and the KM Pro

One of the most talked-about sessions at the conference was a panel discussion hosted by our colleagues at Lex Machina — “Legal Analytics for the Knowledge Manager” — that was moderated by Lex Machina’s Neil Magenheim and featured four KM professionals: Eric Hunter, Bradford & Barthel, LLP; Rachel Shields Williams and Lauren May, Sidley Austin LLP; and David Hobbie, Goodwin Procter LLP.

The law firm KM team is often viewed as the central point for the collection and analysis of data related to all aspects of the firm’s performance. Given this perspective, the panelists shared a few best practices for how law firm KM professionals can make good use of legal analytics and data visualization to improve law firm performance:

  1. Integrate with existing resources — Add legal analytics to existing firm resources and processes, such as an internal work history portal for attorneys, to increase the value of those resources.
  2. Win new business — Gather data regarding the firm’s experience in specific areas and content to help illustrate the firm’s credentials on an individual matter, as well as pricing data to guide the lawyer’s fee discussions with prospective clients.
  3. Financial incentives — Study metrics to identify the relationship between bonus packages and attorney performance in various areas.
  4. Attorney training — Collect data to identify which types of training techniques result in greatest improvements for lawyers and staff members, and then adjust training methods accordingly.
  5. Diversity & Inclusion — Look for data analytics that better track the diversity of client teams and integrate that analysis with tools that allow the firm to locate diverse attorneys who can be added to teams.
  6. Internal/External assets — Use internal firm KM tools and databases to complement externally hosted analytics tools and information assets.

Lexis Search Advantage

LexisNexis offers a variety of legal analytics, tools and resources to assist KM professionals. For example, our Lexis Search Advantage is an enterprise search solution that simultaneously scans a law firm’s internal documents and LexisNexis content. This allows KM professionals and the firm’s attorneys to search across the entire spectrum of internal and external resources with one stroke of the key.

Lexis Search Advantage uses AI-powered entity recognition to ensure that every search provides a broader and deeper perspective, returning search results with the most relevant content. This “intelligent content enrichment” technology, which is proprietary to LexisNexis, reduces tedious work and human error by directing KM pros and their colleagues to the most relevant work product in record time — regardless of whether that content resides in the firm’s internal databases or external LexisNexis databases. Moreover, Lexis Search Advantage is scalable, allowing legal professionals to enrich virtually an unlimited number of documents as their KM needs grow.

Learn more about Lexis Search Advantage or request a free demo from a law firm support professional.