More on ILTACON 2016—Tips and Tricks for Implementing an Expertise Location System at a Law Firm


By Julie Bozzell, Chief Research and Knowledge Services Officer, Hogan Lovells

Finding who knows what or has experience doing XYZ quickly in most law firms today is not as simple as we’d like it to be.  At ILTACON in August, I participated in a panel  titled “Finding a Needle in a Haystack with 21st Century Expertise Systems.”   Other panelists included Kate Cain, Director of Market Intelligence at Sidley Austin LLP; Marybeth Corbett, Director of Knowledge Asset Services at WilmerHale; and Joshua Fireman of Fireman & Company.

Our session included discussion of expertise v. experience, expertise systems and solutions, why firms need expertise location tools, and the fun range of challenges that exist with implementing any such solution in a law firm.  I emphasized to the audience the expertise librarians can bring to these projects based on their experience with, and love of, developing and managing controlled vocabularies and taxonomies.  Along with that, librarians and information professionals have a deep passion for searching and for refining search tools to better meet our discovery needs.

ILTACON Session Description:

Expertise location systems are ubiquitous at law firms of all sizes and are key solutions that help with everything from responding to client proposals to finding the right attorney to help with a particular matter. An effective expertise location tool can be a differentiator for law firms, yet they are tricky because of the need to pull together multiple sources of information while providing clear answers. People from the trenches will share their experiences of implementing various solutions and tips and tricks to keep in mind when you’re evaluating a new solution.

A recording of this program should be available later this fall on the ILTA website, if you want to learn more.  You’ll also find more on the discussion in Ron Friedmann’s post on the Prism Legal Blog.

Ron’s live blog post on the session included information on the software solutions used by the panelists’ firms.  Since it was a live post, there may be some typos-

“Joshua – let’s talk about the software and solutions you are using. Once you go through requirements analysis and use case development, it can point to different solutions. So what, software did you decide on and why?

Hogan Lovells:  Neudesic Firm Directory replaces Intranet people directory. We are brining data form other systems – and this requires a fair bit of clean up.  Compared to our prior product, we now have much easier to populate system and much better search and drill down capability.  Now working on integrating expertise location with a search system.

Both WilmerHale and Sidley use Foundation software.  Sidley pulls data from multiple sources into Foundation.  Will tap additional systems over time and also push data out to Interaction CRM.  We wanted to find information based on multiple, intersecting fields such as industry, office, and experience type.  WilmerHale comes from a somewhat different position.  We had purchased the Interaction Matters module.  Our Foundation deployment is informed by that experience.  Agree that it’s key to understand how you want to get data out of the system.”

Further reading on these experience management products:

Foundation Software Group Releases KM Platform as Central Location for Expertise” , Legaltech News, June 3, 2016

Foundation Software Group Introduces Foundation Experience Management, New Enterprise Software Platform for Law Firm Marketing and Knowledge Management”, Globe Newswire, June 2, 2016

Friday Round-up:  Legal Tech Edition”, Law Sites Blog, February 13, 2015
Includes discussion of Neudesic’s The Firm Directory, and blog author Robert Ambrogi links to his previous  coverage of the software.

The Firm Directory Offers Greater Expertise Discovery Capabilities to Accelerate Business Development Efforts”, Neudesic Press Release, January 27, 2015

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