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Improve after-action programs by linking lessons learned to matter management

In the legal department of FMC Technologies, the lawyer responsible for a matter may not close it until he or she completes the “Lessons Learned” section. This method to encourage lawyers to record post mortem insights is more than a nudge; the elapsed time between opening and closing of a matter is also tracked, so the responsible lawyer wants to get that knowledge in and be able to claim completion. This technique comes from the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, Nov. 2008 at 73.

A lawyer could mindlessly plug in some bland point – “ hire a good firm” – but at least the requirement not only pushes the lawyer to think a moment about insights earned but also raises the consciousness level regarding knowledge and its preservation (See my post of May 27, 2008: post mortems with 7 references.).