Combining Innovation & Technology for Real Change

As director of practice services at Baker & Hostetler LLP, Katherine Lowry reports to the CIO and provides strategic leadership and governance of the firm’s information technology deliverables and services to five core practice areas. While her role oversees knowledge management, training, and integration of business applications, business process improvement solutions, and the delivery of information and research services, it also includes management of the newest legal innovation group, IncuBaker, focused on the integration of three major advancements: blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics. Katherine obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stetson University and her law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law.

The below article “Combining Innovation & Technology for Real Change” by Katherine Lowry was reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 23, Number 3 (January/February 2019), pgs. 30-32.

Setting the Foundation 
Technology is often referred to as an innovation, but most agree that just buying technology, such as new AI-enabled software, may only serve as a Band-Aid to a problem or make matters worse. Real innovation happens when the underlying processes are examined and transformative new ways of solving a problem or creating a new service are identified. Either way, selecting technology as a solution comes later in the process.

Innovation appears to be all the rage these days, but many already believe it is an overused term. Arguably, many are getting lost in the semantics. The real question is whether the legal industry is a legacy industry so addicted to the benefits of its legacy
that it inhibits its ability to innovate and adapt. In examining the role of innovation, there is no better place to start than to reflect on the teachings of economist Joseph Schumpeter. He promoted the term “creative destruction” to describe a theory of economic innovation in which technology and innovation replace older means of production/services—one where innovation can replace or completely displace
existing companies or entire markets. Thus, either innovate on a daily basis or run the risk of becoming obsolete. In his book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, Schumpeter declares:

The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation … that incessantly revolutionizes the economic
structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.

Schumpeter placed a heavy emphasis on entrepreneurs and their ability to create a new good or service, a new production technique, or open a completely new market. Entrepreneurs are a main catalyst for change that causes the most disruption by modifying our current process for delivering goods and services or by creating entirely new services. Change is constant under the creative destruction model and culture is a main component to change. Both are viewed as being critical to economic growth. Continue reading

Legalweek NY’s Knowledge Manager Day–Highlighting Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals’ Role

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The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and members of AALL’s Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals section will be out in force at Legalweek NY 2019 for Knowledge Manager Day on Thursday, January 31.  Eight law firm knowledge and research services directors are scheduled to present and will discuss how to encourage adoption of new tools and how knowledge management efforts can benefit clients through improved procedures and better information flows / targeted knowledge delivery.

 
FROM CONVERSATION TO CONVERSION: GETTING LAWYERS TO USE NEW TOOLS

Presented by AALL members:

  • Cynthia Brown, Director of Research Services, Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • Jean O’Grady, Senior Director of Research and Knowledge, DLA Piper LLP
  • June Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Cheryl Smith, Director of Information Services, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Summary:

Costs are exploding. Staffing is tight. Budgets need to be maintained. Whether you buy or build new legal knowledge and technology products, there is no guarantee of adoption. Email announcements remain unopened. The promise of food will not get associates to a conference room anymore. What is the answer? A panel of seasoned knowledge professionals will outline some of the techniques they use to drive, monitor, and assess adoption of new tools.

Takeaways:

  1. Identify potential obstacles to new product adoption
  2. Discuss best practices in the selection of products or initiatives
  3. Discover strategies for driving adoption and communicating more effectively
  4. Utilize metrics to gauge success and identify potential learning opportunities


JOINING FORCES–CREATING CLIENT-CENTRIC KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Presented by AALL members:

  • Scott Bailey, Global Director of Research Services, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
  • Marlene Gebauer, Director of Knowledge Solutions, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Steve Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management Services, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • Saskia Mehlhorn, US Director, Knowledge Services, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Abstract:

Knowledge management (KM) has made its way into law firms and proven to be imperative to achieve efficiency and integrate workflows. Now more and more law firms are working to bring the KM processes and tools they developed in front of their clients, creating and adding value to key relationships. Join for a panel discussion that will provide a succinct overview of KM in law firms and present examples of such collaborative efforts ranging from improved procedures to bespoke client portals.

Takeaways:

  1. Gain a greater understanding of KM initiatives in law firms
  2. Explore opportunities to deepen existing client relationships through KM engagement
  3. Meet leaders engaged in collaborative projects and share guidance

THE DETAILS

WHAT: AALL Legalweek New York 2019
WHEN:  Knowledge Manager Day, January 31
WHERE:  New York Hilton Midtown

Register today and join us as we celebrate the legal information professionals who help law firms win and keep the business of law moving forward.

Changing Data, Evolving Librarians

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 23, Number 2 (November/December 2018), pgs. 12-15.

By Zena Applebaum, Director of Professional Firm & Corporate Segments with
Thomson Reuters in Canada

For many years, I have advocated for law librarians to be actively engaged in firm  initiatives in competitive intelligence, knowledge management, business development research, and other areas of law firm administration that are increasingly becoming
important to a firm’s ability to compete. As competition in the legal world increases, firms are hiring fewer administrative professionals. The ones who are hired are expected to do more with less, take on additional responsibilities, and execute on more sophisticated projects. This necessitates not only a broadening of skill sets, but also a reimagining of roles and titles. To me, this is where librarians, especially more recent graduates with digital skills—but really any librarian with organizational, business-minded skill sets—can really add value to their law firm.

The deluge of available information is not decreasing; it is only increasing at a crazier rate each year. The amount of unstructured data, let alone the structured content that is streaming through firms at any given moment, is overwhelming. Cue the law librarians
and legal information professionals to help us make sense of the data, turn information into intelligence, and still deliver research while managing collection costs and physical spaces. Continue reading

How strong relationships and expertise aid business development with clients – a case study

Evolution_Law_Firm_Lib_ROBy Cynthia L. Brown, Director of Research Services at Littler Mendelson P.C., and Jill L. Kilgore, Research Librarian at Littler Mendelson PC.

This is chapter 8 in ARK Group’s new book The Evolution of the Law Firm Library Function and has been posted with permission from ARK Group. 

The project finds its way to the library

Most opportunities have a simple beginning: the big ideas come from identifying a need and boldly pursuing the options. This story begins with a client who had a need: in-house counsel could not field the number of calls they were receiving daily. The calls from human resource professionals were valid and required legal advice, but the legal department was being overwhelmed. In addition to simply responding to the question at hand, the client wanted to understand the types of calls they were receiving and what information was sent out to the business units. They needed help providing the advice, but they also wanted to capture the types of questions asked and any subsequent data created through the process. This client started by approaching their shareholder, who knew to reach out to the knowledge management department, whose chief knowledge officer saw a role for the library. The legal services portion of the project was arranged in a traditional format by the attorneys answering client phone calls and providing advice, but a system was needed to gather, organize, and synthesize the information shared between the client and attorneys. Utilizing existing technology, the library developed a tracking system for each call and a means of categorizing the resulting data. The library saw an opportunity to utilize unique librarian proficiencies and enrich the final work product provided to the client. This case study will show the reader the evolution of the project and how the library identified the need and initiated the pursuit. Continue reading

Data-Driven Decision-Making: Getting Started with Reference Tracking Systems & Data Analytics

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 23, Number 1 (September/October 2018), pgs. 20-23.

By Amy Atchison, Associate Law Librarian for Public Services at the University of California Irvine School of Law Library, and June H. Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library & Research Services at Sidley Austin LLP

We both started as research librarians at the University of California Los Angeles Law Library more than 20 years ago. Back then, we tracked reference desk requests each day with tick marks on a sheet of paper. We refer to this now as “data gathering for dummies.” While this simple method recorded the number of requests in a given time period, it provided almost zero value (how often do tick marks ever get aggregated?), and we lost the most useful information, such as the questions and the answers.

Faculty submitted requests almost exclusively via email or phone back then, which is still true today. Our biggest innovation at the time was to print each unassigned faculty request and tape it to an old file cabinet with the idea that a visual of our growing workload would encourage us to take more requests. The unintended effect was group avoidance of the file cabinet and a de facto game of chicken with the faculty requests.

Time passed and things got better. Although we now work at two very different  institutions—a law school and a law firm—both of our libraries must run efficiently and cost-effectively while still exceeding our users’ expectations. One way we accomplish this is by tracking research requests in an online system that provides us with the data we need to better understand our users, staff, and organizations. Continue reading