The fly in the ointment as law-department intranets gather cobwebs

Intranet sites of law departments suffer because administrative staff run them but lawyers possess the knowledge that needs to be on them.

How does this hobble law department intranets? They usually languish in a state of desuetude because lawyers, the custodians of substantive knowledge, can’t be bothered to contribute. (See my post of March 5, 2005 on the unlikeliness of altruistic information sharing.) They know what they know, and see little to gain by pulling it together and taking time to put it where someone else might find it useful. (They also fear being criticized.) At the same time, all lawyers wish others would contribute to the common store of knowledge.

As substantive input to the intranet shrivels, administrative material becomes the common stock, until the site becomes a laughingstock. Where a paralegal or secretary ends up responsible for stocking the intranet, what starts as a full shelf comes in time to be empty.

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