Digital White Papers

July 2013: Knowledge Management

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 18 of 61

THE PRICING PROFESSIONAL'S KM TOOLKIT code the first few matters to train the software, but its accuracy improves with each matter. Once trained, the analyst only reviews the computer's suggested task and approves or changes it. As more of the process is automated, larger volumes of matters can be tasked out for a given legal process to better understand the variances. Since the results are in SQL Server, the data can be used in other types of analyses (e.g., understanding leverage) or when a given legal process will be a subcomponent of a larger process. Chris Emerson is the Director of the Practice Economics Group at Bryan Cave LLP, where he assists lawyers in all stages of alternative fee project management, including pricing, managing and communicating status Akin to the task coding problem, another problem stemming from inadequate information and organization is the challenge of finding comparable matters for a new budget. Depending on the robustness of a firm's matter experience database and their diligence in capturing good information at intake, this might be fairly easy or — as is the case nearly always — very difficult. Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect solution on the market right now, but several products have facets that could help solve this. As an example, a product using latent semantic analysis like those used for e-discovery could create links between different matters by examining related documents in the document management system, associated time entries and any other available meta-information. Visualization techniques like those used in e-discovery would help pricing professionals determine the volume of comparable matters at different levels of proximity. CAPITALIZE ON KM ASSETS Despite the superficial appearance that pricing would have little to do with knowledge management, the reality is pricing is the overlap in the Venn diagram between accounting, knowledge management and information technology. Many existing KM repositories — like matter experience databases — directly support pricing efforts, and pricing often identifies new information that should be captured in those systems. Pricing professionals who utilize their resources effectively are able to capitalize on the KM assets already available at the firm. In addition, they are also in a unique position to act as a liaison between different departments and promote information exchange, which can add value to the tools and systems already in place. A pricing professional who is both aware of the benefits of developing a good KM toolkit and focused on the advancement of tools within it will not only be able to improve the pricing process for a particular case, but will also see long-term benefits when met with future pricing requests. to the legal teams and to clients. In addition to his focus on alternative fees, Chris also has a decade of experience in business intelligence and software development at Bryan Cave. He can be contacted at Amy Wu is a Legal Project Management Attorney at Bryan Cave, LLP, where she assists attorneys with managing and budgeting their engagements. Her focuses include best practices development, budget analysis and tracking, and work processes improvement. Amy can be contacted at

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