Digital White Papers

July 2014: Knowledge Management

publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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ILTA WHITE PAPER: JULY 2014 WWW.ILTANET.ORG 18 "any collection of data that, by virtue of its size or completeness, enables its owner to develop new insights or capabilities." He cited a few examples outside the legal industry, one of which is a familiar tool to many of us: Google Maps. As we drive, all our mobile phones transmit data about our speed and location to Google, and Google uses this information — in the aggregate — to provide all of us with real-time traffic reports. Rovner also mentioned the company Praedicat, which works with the insurance industry. Praedict continually mines data from millions of scientific journals to identify chemicals that could give rise to future liability and litigation. They use Another characterization of big data comes from Wikipedia: "Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization." Whatever variant you subscribe to, one thing is for certain: whether you consider big data the holy grail or something akin to Lord Voldemort — that which must not be named — big data is here to stay, and it will only continue to proliferate. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND BIG DATA If big data consists of large, amorphous and complex data sets, it stands to reason the discipline of knowledge management (KM) simplifies and puts context around these data points. KM professionals utilize skills such as data mapping and data standardization. Similar to a mining operation, KM sifts through the "rubble" to uncover materials and insights that add value. These analytics provide guidance to create more efficiencies, increase profitability and assist in making strategic decisions in cases/deals (e.g., predicting case outcomes). Clients are already using data analytics to compare law firms (think Thomson Reuters Serengeti or Lexis Counsel Link Analytics/Benchmark). These, along with other analytic tools, are defining the future of the legal industry. DIFFERENCES OF OPINION: BIG DATA IN LEGAL A CIO of an Am Law 100 firm in New York made a surprising comment that there is no big data in law firms. In speaking to a number of our KM peers — primarily in management-level positions across the United States — we found some differences of opinion in how far along the industry is in terms of big data. Several professionals commented that it is simply a buzzword in the business world today. One asserted that law firms aren't yet in the big data realm, with the possible exception of financial information. Further, if anyone in legal has big data, it is Lexis or Westlaw. Jeff Rovner, Managing Director for Information of O'Melveny & Myers, said he thinks of big data as About the Author Kimberly Stein is the National Manager of Enterprise Content Management Solutions for Thomson Reuters. Her focus over the last 11 years has been primarily in knowledge management with a deep understanding of portal technologies, enterprise search and workflow tools. Kimberly serves as a regular speaker for regional ILTA meetings, has co-authored several white papers and has led and moderated a number of webinars on the topic of KM. Contact her at kimberly.stein@thomsonreuters.com. About the Author As Chief Knowledge Officer at Fox Rothschild LLP, Catherine Monte manages knowledge management research and competitive intelligence initiatives. She serves as project lead for the firm intranet and is now focusing primarily on practice and risk management, portal development and taxonomy integration. Catherine is a member of the American Library Association, AALL, SLA, LLSDC, ILTA, GPLLA and the Society of Knowledge Based Publishers. Contact her at cmonte@foxrothschild.com. "The day is here: Big data, loosely defined as the computer analysis of torrents of information to find hidden gems of insight, is slowly transforming the way law is practiced in the U.S." Read more >>

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