Do in-house counsels really spend more than 20 percent of their time looking for things?

Raymond Bayley, CEO of Novus Law, writes in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 17, Nov. 2009 at 47,that “several studies show that lawyers spend more than 20 percent of their time looking for things. If you can bill 400 or more hours annually looking for things, there is no incentive to build a better knowledge management system to eliminate this wasted expense, unless you provide services on a fixed fee basis, as we do at Novus Law.” His comment is aimed at law firms, but I am not sure why inside lawyers would be appreciably different.

His backup for this metric, he explained to me in an email, is “studies by IDC, Gartner and Lexis Nexis.” In all my consulting interviews I have never heard complaints that inside lawyers spend anything like this amount of time searching for things or documents (See my post of April 5, 2009: methods software uses to search with 18 references.).

If the figure were true, knowledge management efforts by general counsel would have made much, much more headway.

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