As veteran lawyers retire, invaluable experience goes with them. To ask them to write down their hard-won tacit knowledge is to be disappointed: few people like to write. “Enterprise search” capabilities, from such companies as Autonomy in the UK and Fast Search & Transfer in Norway, are alternatives on the forefront in the war against talent drain, according to the Fin. Times, Nov. 22, 2006 at 9.
Another tool is video recording. The same article describes how Ove Arup, the UK engineering group, salvages knowledge from its employees. “Ove Arup pensioners now record briefings on their specialist topics to video. Using Autonomy software, later generations of workers searching for information will be able to pull up relevant segments of the videos as well as text.”
It would be a far-thinking law department that arranges videos of post-mortem sessions (See my post of Dec. 10, 2005 on reviews after litigation concludes), or after someone attends a CLE event (See my post of May 1, 2005 on how to spread CLE learning.), before the retirement of a key lawyer (See my post of Sept. 4, 2005 on demographic forces.), and during training programs run by outside firms (See my post of Aug. 26, 2006 on other forms of experiential learning.).