Things that do not work to promote knowledge management in legal departments

Reid G. Smith, who is currently Enterprise Content Management Director and IT Upstream Services Manager, Marathon Oil, published several years ago a list of non-starters for knowledge management initiatives in law departments. I quote the four.

• Expect that people will “make time” for KM. Either give them extra time, or specifically re-balance current responsibilities to make it clear that KM activities are included in Terms of Reference (TORs) [RWM I assume TORs are personal objectives].
• Assign people to communities – true CoPs [RWM Communities of Practice] are powered by their members’ personal or professional interests. Let lawyers join the communities they find relevant.
• Assume KM is about technology and let the IT department manage KM initiatives.
• Make communities act primarily as training/development venues.

From my experience, Reid has correctly identified four common mistakes. Along with them he points out some success stories at the time. “Several corporate legal departments have made significant KM progress (e.g., Lucent, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Schlumberger, BP, Siemens, and Cisco). The efforts of five legal departments are reflected in the “Global Law Department Knowledge Management Benchmarking Survey” that he cites at the end (compiled by Greta Russanow).

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