Last month ILTA released its 2014 Knowledge Management Survey Results published in the July 2014 ILTA KM White Paper. The survey is conducted every two years by ILTA’s Knowledge Management Peer Group and is designed to help ILTA members interested in KM to benchmark their organisation’s KM programme and keep on top of trends and hot topics in legal KM.
The survey revealed that for the first time since the survey began in 2008, use of social collaboration tools has started to gain real momentum within law firms. Organisations report their lawyers’ use of social tools including blogs, wikis, discussion forums, team sites and internal social networking tools have all increased by 20% or more from the previous survey in 2012. The primary use of these tools is to aggregate legal knowledge and resources on particular topics.
The survey shows that 9% of firms report that they often or very often use blogs, team collaboration sites and internal social networking tools for internal initiatives, practice area updates and other internal communications, while only 12% reported never using collaboration sites for this purpose.
When it comes to internal uses, the respondents reported a range of uses for these kind of social tools. Almost 40% of those who report using wikis and blogs at all reported using them for aggregating legal knowledge and resources on a topic. A further 20% said they use them to draft documents such as commentaries, practice advisories or legal updates, while 22% stated that they use them to share resources among committee members. Other reported uses included conducted practice group or other meetings, drafting model documents and client matters.
When it comes to client-facing KM initiatives, social collaboration tools and extranets play an increasing role now too. 26.5% of respondents reported extensive use of full-featured matter extranets, while a third (33.8%) now endeavour to support and demonstrate technology or KM tools for clients. 41.2% allow clients to access content through a secure site or restricted search tool, while 20% allow clients direct access to financial information on their matters through a secure extranet or other tool. 17% of organisations reported frequently or very frequently include specific information about KM tools and resources in their pitch materials to clients.It’s encouraging to see the results of this survey indicating a positive change in legal KM across the board. We’re hopeful that this momentum continues and we’ll be eager to see the results of the 2016 survey to continue on an upward trajectory.