Efforts by law departments to make explicit, collect, organize and distribute the experience that corporate counsel accumulate almost uniformly fail. Lawyers don’t care to take the time (See my post of March 5, 2005 on altruistic information sharing, but see my July 21, 2005 post on brokering knowledge and on July 25, 2005 about knowledge management and communities of practice.)
With a new generation of search tools and techniques, perhaps lawyers will not have to do anything; software can deploy an implicit query feature that “reads” the document (or short statement of a problem) the lawyer is working on and then searches all available drives for relevant files, in whatever formats. A search engine company called Blinkx does just that.
The Blinkx software, according to an article (Fin. Times, Oct. 5, 2005), can also set up smart folders and fill the folder with web and server documents that pertain to its topic. This function sounds like RSS feeds (See my post of Sept. 22, 2005 about Really Simple Syndication from blogs.)
Both of these tools and techniques foster knowledge management, which will eventually help lawyers become more productive at higher levels of quality.