Six degrees of separation as a practice-benchmarking asset

If a law department wants to find out about what other law departments have done to pull off a management initiative – which I call “practice benchmarking” and wrote about in my post of May 14, 2005 – it should take advantage of the now-famous close connection of nearly everyone.

That introduction requires an illustration. A five lawyer department wants to find out if a document management system actually helps lawyers. If each lawyer knows, calls, and quizzes a lawyer at three other law departments, and each of those lawyers knows and calls someone at three other law departments (reporting back to the first department), then after six widening levels of such calls 18,225 corporate counsel could benchmark the experiences of their department with document management.

Personal contact with knowledgeable practitioners in other departments is a telling asset, and all law departments can tap into such a widening web.

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