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Search not just your department’s knowledge base but also your key law

HSBC Holdings, the huge, global bank, has something like 650 in-house lawyers (See my post of March 17, 2006: HSBC’s decentralized reporting.). In addition to its other management initiatives chronicled on this blog (See my post of April 13, 2008: offshore legal support center; July 27, 2008 #3: 50 secondees taken on for free; and April 2, 2009: strap-line, panels and two other points.), the bank’s legal team has put in place a “knowledge-sharing venture SmartSearch.”

Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, May 2009 at 66, explains that the program “allows its in-house legal team to access know-how and precedents at firms on its approved list of outside providers.” Allowing preferred clients access to work product, showing value delivered beyond the services provided, and honing knowledge capital to a discloseable level of quality, certainly both distinguishes a law firm and benefits a law department (See my post of March 9, 2007: direct access to knowledge base of law firms; and May 17, 2006: Schering-Plough expected its central firms to share work product.).