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In 2001, General Electric applied to patent a web-based Legal Management System

Wandering around on GoogleScholar, I happened upon an application for a US patent, No. US 2003/0074354 A1, filed on Jan. 17, 2001 by Suzanne Hawkins (in General Electric’s law department) and Mary Lee. In addition to the 10-page application are 18 pages of diagrams, many of them of the GE Legal intranet site. The 13 screen shots from June 2000 give a good sense of a well-developed intranet site for a law department (See my post of Nov. 30, 2008: legal department intranet sites with 12 references.).

For example, there were portions for 17 practice groups, several regional structures, CLE information, Diversity Council material, open positions, and three items under “Legal Productivity”: Outside Counsel Management System/Preferred Providers, Outside Council Policy, and Legal Resources Preferred Vendors. The “Quality Initiatives” portion mostly concerned intellectual property.

In its terms, the patent sought would be comprehensive: “A legal management system (LMS), is a fully integrated on-line web-based company-wide communication tool.” The patent application sweeps grandly broadly across almost everything I can think of that might be on a law department intranet.

I do not know whether the patent ever issued or how it might apply to intranets of other law departments.

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