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More observations on value demonstrated by law departments, from survey results

A recent survey of 176 law departments found that at least half of them say they demonstrate value to their companies by “implementing knowledge management systems.” That finding troubles me, for three reasons.

Demonstrating value cannot mean listing all the things you do in your department. Not all activities create value. Second, unless the survey defines “knowledge management system,” the responses have little value. One respondent thinks that a shared drive meets it; another has Google Desktop to search; a third keeps hard-copies of briefs; and so on. It’s like asking, “Do you work hard,” and announcing that half or more of the respondents say they do.

Lastly, implementation is one thing; effective use where it should be used throughout the legal department is a completely different thing. To install software, to devise a process, to set up a Center of Excellence, or to implement a knowledge management system, does not lead to a self-executing success.