Digital White Papers

July 2013: Knowledge Management

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 22 of 61

ANOTHER LOOK AT PRECEDENT MANAGEMENT by Marybeth Corbett of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP ANOTHER LOOK AT PRECEDENT MANAGEMENT It seems at nearly every knowledge management (KM) conference I have a moment of personal dread. A panel is discussing some promising new KM technology when someone makes a passing reference to precedents. Silence envelops the room and, seemingly in unison, the panelists nod their heads with a "been there, done that" look. The topic of precedents is quickly side-stepped, apparently either as a challenge fully conquered long ago or an antiquated notion lacking any continuing value in the KM 2.0 world. Hoping to go unnoticed, I slink low in my seat, assuming I'm the last knowledge worker still struggling to satisfy the practice's need for good precedents. Could it be I am not as alone as I thought? Long before legal knowledge management gained recognition as a formal discipline, generations of lawyers used precedent documents to avoid reinventing the wheel. Particularly for transactional practices, a good drafting starting point is imperative to efficient and effective client service. A comprehensive collection of usable precedents may score low in a "cool tech tools" competition, but earns high marks among lawyers as a critical knowledge resource.

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