Digital White Papers

Tech Solutions

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 52

I L T A W H I T E P A P E R | T E C H S O L U T I O N S 16 Think of them as a new and special tribe. Back when the role was coming into existence, broadly speaking, they were simply lawyers with an interest in technolo. That has subtly changed. Now, the archetypal KM lawyer's defining characteristics are curiosity, dynamism, a collaborative nature, advanced analytical skills, the capacity to build communities and networks, strong technological competencies, and the experience to tell a lot of war stories. And they are innately somewhat crusading: they really want to improve the working life of their peers. Sound innovative and inspiring? It is. Where can you find KM lawyers? In the past decade, they have primarily been situated in Big Law firms. Where Big Law leads, mid-sized firms tend to follow, whether that's in terms of technolo adoption or refining practice structure. Consequently, these positions are beginning to be created beyond the AmLaw 100, although the role has not been universally embraced by all large firms. What do KM lawyers do? In the day-to-day, they are responsible for seeking out areas where operational efficiencies and improvements can be made throughout the lifecycle of matters, which includes the deployment of new technologies and alternative timekeepers. The explicit end goal of this activity is to improve firm revenue, operational efficiency, and profitability—and critically, the quality of the lives of their colleagues. To perform this task, KM lawyers must have gained wide experience practicing law and a deep understanding of its intricacies. They must know how client engagement works, the twists and turns of matter management, and the wrinkles around working with a myriad of personalities and new technolo. KM lawyers also need to understand the emotional peaks and troughs of lawyering, empathizing with practicing lawyers when they discuss the aspects of legal practice that they find frustrating, rewarding, or downright exasperating. KM lawyers then need the capacity to unlock latent potential: to identify disjointed or fractured processes and reengineer them into seamless workflows. They need the communication skills, technical understanding, and tenacity to drive improvement and innovation across the whole firm or a discrete practice. They also need enough weight and credibility behind them so that where they lead, others will follow. As such, they must be able to attract people to them, so that whenever an attorney has a suggestion or thought or whim, they do not think twice about going to the KM lawyer to share their thinking. Moreover, KM lawyers need to function well in the liminal space between the practice of law and the business of law. Once there, they should be able to trigger successive instances of business innovation and efficiency savings, streamlining business processes and taking as much friction as possible out of each lawyer's day. Finally, the role of KM lawyer is evolving and extending as their value to firms becomes "They also need enough weight and credibility behind them so that where they lead, others will follow."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital White Papers - Tech Solutions