Digital White Papers

July 2013: Knowledge Management

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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KMSTANDARDS IN PRACTICE and on what the market demand. Our SeyfarthLean program has helped the firm move from a "typical Am Law 100 firm" to an "innovator." This is important to our KMStandards (KMS) work, because our initial decision about the tool did not rest upon what other firms were doing. We saw a fit, and the firm made an investment. In general, if we see a solution as ultimately making an impact to our clients, we are not worried about being first to try it out. In fact, we relish those opportunities. From a technology perspective, KMS is merely one example of our firm taking steps to stay aligned with client needs. After bringing the tool onboard, we devoted a significant amount of time to learning the technology. Two of our legal solutions architects (members of the Legal Technology Innovations Office who are technologists and trained as attorneys, helping drive new, applied technology initiatives for the firm and its clients) are trained on the tool. As straightforward as the mission of the tool is, knowing the levers to pull from an administrative perspective is a challenge. At times, there seems to be as much art in the application of the tool as there is in the drafting of a document. And, as important as it was for us to master the tool, we needed the ability to spot opportunities to use it. A deep understanding of administrative functions was needed to form the foundation for those determinations. to call out alternate clauses, but that can get messy quickly. It's that messiness that drives people to keep their favorite samples tucked in a safe hiding place. Further, to enhance the adoption of the tool, we rebranded our use of the tool as "Seyfarth Standards." We needed it to feel more familiar and part of our applied technology suite. This has been important to our growth strategy. KMS changes the game a bit. You can make the typical document structure apparent, so authors can see the elements easily. You can also call out the typical clause language, which is based upon the document set. If the practitioner wants to venture to another version of the clause, they can do so easily. You get what you are seeking from a traditional KM document with the flexibility of a buttressed clause library. There is more depth in this instance, and, depending on the practitioner, that flexibility is helpful for adoption. SWISS ARMY KNIFE WITH A SLIPPERY HANDLE Though KMS is designed to help create precedent documents, we see it being capable of so much more. In fact, at this point, we have gotten quite a bit of value out of the tool without having created a single "traditional" precedent document. Each time we sit with a practitioner, we see new ways to use the tool. That broad set of uses has been both a blessing and a curse. In the beginning, it was the latter. Our discussions were too broad. Part of that was intentional, as we didn't want to miss an opportunity. But it quickly overwhelmed attorneys. We now focus on three main threads of use. Use 1: Drafting Dynamic Precedents and Clause Libraries One problem with traditional precedent documents is they are one-dimensional. At times, we take steps If the practitioner seems to have a need for better, speedier drafting, this is the route we take, and we will follow the structure of the indexed documents for guidance. Some of the outliers will be left uncategorized. This organized set has had a rippling impact on another effort. At the same time we brought on KMS, we also made a significant push in traditional document assembly. We have used the output of KMS to help us determine alternative clauses for some of the documents we are automating. It has been a perfect marriage of the two tools.

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