Five Things Every Legal Practice Should Know About 2.0

At the recent LegalTech conference, Lee Bryant and May Abraham presented on Web 2.0 tool inside law firms (a/k/a Enterprise 2.0).

Lee shares his thoughts on his Headshift blog:  Five Things Every Legal Practice Should Know About 2.0:

In the session, we tried to get across just how easy it is to find meaningful use cases for the use of social tools inside a law firm, and the great potential for cost and time savings they present. We touched on a few Headshift cases studies including Allen and Overy, who have been using social tools for informal knowledge sharing successfully for over three years, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, whose wiki spaces have replaced an old intranet with increasing levels of traffic and participation. But we also looked at a classic DIY ‘mashup’ approach within the Australian firm Mallesons, who have built some fantastic applications using combinations of open source and other tools.

Mary shares her thoughts on her Above and Beyond KM blog: Tales From LegalTech: Five Things Every Legal Practice Should Know About Web 2.0:

One of the reasons I agreed to participate in this session was that I’ve begun to experience the benefits of social media in my knowledge management work and could see the great potential for its use more generally in a legal practice.  There are so many things lawyers do that require the participation of others — planning and organizing throughout a matter’s life cycle, discussions with clients and other lawyers, negotiations with counter-parties, drafting legal documents, closings, post-closing compliance and clean-up, etc.   What would happen if we could use Web 2.0 tools to shift these activities out of the current paradigm of  expensive face-to-face meetings,  ineffective conference calls held while all participants are multitasking, and asynchronous e-mail exchanges?  What would change?

There are many great uses for blogs, wikis and other 2.0 tools inside the firewall of your organization (even if it is not a law firm). These 2.0 tools are very useful from a compliance perspective.

They can be useful in drafting policies. A working group can use the wiki to collaborate in creating the initial draft of a policy. You can publish a draft policy in  a blog post and let the broader audience use the blog comment feature to provide input about the policy.

These 2.0 tools generally have great search features. They should make it easier for the people in your organization to find the relevant policy. Since you can embed links in the policies, you can link to other relevant policies. It also will enable a hub and spoke approach to policies, allowing you to cross-reference policies instead of repeating similar items in multiple policies.

Most of the concerns about web 2.0 (anonymity, nasty comments, etc.) go away when the audience is your coworkers. They are also easier to deploy and easier to use that traditional technology tools.

Mary is long-time friend from my days in knowledge management. I met Lee at the 2008 Enterprise 2. o Conference. (You can see my live blogging of Enterprise 2.0 on my old KM Space blog.) Both Mary and Lee have great insights about how these tools can help your organization.