Sunday, June 28, 2009

Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference - Sydney

Lawyers Weekly Magazine last week published a summary of the recent Janders Dean Law Firm Management Conference in Sydney.

The feature report discusses the content and analysis of presentations given by Janet Young (COO of Freehills), Matthew Parsons (author and former global Chief Knowledge Officer at Linklaters), Justin Harness (associate Director of Macquarie Bank) and Simon Price (European Director of Recommind).

The conference was a useful and timely forum within which leaders from the Knowledge Management community in the APAC region discussed both the maturity of the knowledge discipline within law firms, and potential impacts on the future evolution of KM via the economic downturn.

"This year a study by the Korn/Ferry Institute asked senior partners of the Global 100 law firms to rank in order the importance of their support functions. Of the six options available - including business development, finance, HR, IT and sales and marketing - knowledge management came in last.

Janet Young, chief operating officer at Freehills, told the conference that she finds those results concerning. "You've got the top 100 firms in the world saying, '[KM] does not offer much value'."

Editor of Lawyers Weekly Angela Priestley asks: "will the downturn leave its own mark on the current state of the legal sector - and leave knowledge vulnerable to the axe? (Janet) Young thinks not. "It's helping our lawyers deliver what they need to do," she said."

The full feature article can be found

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Global Managing Partners Conference - London

The groovy cats at Chilli Marketing have taken London by storm with the successful facilitation of the Global Managing Partners Conference - showing that their successful approach in Australia works well in other markets.

The event was held earlier in June in association with The Law Society - with a write up of the event contained here.
One of the most interesting items in the above link speaks of David Childs (Global Managing Partner at Clifford Chance).

"Cost-cutting is also on the agenda. Childs said that Clifford Chance has managed to save £40m in costs between 2004 and 2007, in part by reducing spending on IT. Also, during this time, the ratio of fee-earners to secretaries has been doubled from two fee-earners per secretary to four.

‘I see no reason why fee-earners should not have a secretary based in India,’ he said.

A new cost-saving plan developed in 2004 aims to reduce costs by another £30m by 2011. ‘I have told all our offices to reduce costs by 5%. I wish I [had] said 7.5%.’"

Norton Rose Wins Law Firm of the Year - London

Norton Rose last night won the Law Firm of the Year award at The Lawyer Awards here in London at Grosvenor House. An interesting evening full of numerous (perhaps too many) awards for firms, in-house groups, practice groups and individuals across a number of categories.

Good news for Norton Rose, and good news also for Deacons.

All winners and short listed entries can be found

Legal Week Strategic Technology Forum - Spain

For those of you who could not make the event in Spain (which is pretty much everyone given that only about 80 people attended - of which half were suppliers), here is the video which was presented at the start of the event.

The video is a presentation from the managing partners of Freshfields, Linklaters and Clifford Chance and is an interesting discussion and demonstration of their take on technology and knowledge within their firms.

The link for the presentation is

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Norton Rose & Deacons Merger

UK giant Norton Rose has announced today a merger with Australian firm Deacons to take effect from 1 January 2010.

After many years of speculation and failed talks between large Australian and UK firms (Clifford Chance and Mallesons, etc), we finally see a solid example of two leaders from their own markets fully merging to create a true global footprint.

The new Norton Rose Group will have a turnover of more than GBP420m (AUD864m) and in excess of 1800 fee earners in 29 offices worldwide. In the Asia Pacific region, it will bring together more than 700 fee earners operating from 12 offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Brisbane, Canberra, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Melbourne, Perth, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

From 1 January 2010, Norton Rose Group will be led by Group Chief Executive Peter Martyr, the current Norton Rose LLP Chief Executive, and Deputy Group Chief Executive Don Boyd. Full press

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laptop to Tabletop - Microsoft's Surface Touchscreen Technology

Bets are on to see which law firm is the first to trial or implement the new Microsoft Surface in their reception area, their conference rooms, their training rooms, or in that IT savvy partner's office.

Although the legal world may struggle to find a true value based application (i.e. more than simply the gimmick factor) in the next few months for this technology (and not through lack of trying by some early adopters), we do see some small possibilities around using Surface in client meetings for live document reviews, and also using it to demonstrate matter workflows to clients. There perhaps may even be ways to use it in the areas of court preparation (but again, it is a stretch).

There are also some real possibility around knowledge sharing, story telling and demonstrations for KM training purposes which shouldn't go untested, and also lawyer/trainee professional training and moots (and other lecture forums) which should be thrown into the mix of possibilities.

All this is based on getting the technology at a reasonable price however - they are currently priced at around $US12,500 for the 30 inch touchscreen panel, and convincing the powers that be that this is more than simply a gimmick.

Australia's Lonely Planet has been an early adopter of the technology for their stores. Full article
here. Is there scope for using it within the non-retail/professional services market?

As above, it is a stretch to think that in today's economy a law firm will be running to embrace this, but we will no doubt see one or two firms work with Microsoft to find a way.

Move forward ten years and take a stab at guessing what the application will be used for - perhaps all our desks will be embedded with the technology, allowing for (among many other things) mobile and BlackBerry synchronisation as soon as you walk into your office and put the device down on your table!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thoughts Go Out to BRCo Family

Our sincere condolences and thoughts stretch out across the oceans to all Baker Robbins crew past and present - a close knit global family hit by the tragic loss of long time BRConian Joel Sykes late in May of this year.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nice iPhone Demo from Autonomy iManage

The Orange Rag has been one of the first to run with today's press release and demonstration from Autonomy iManage from the Apple World Developers Conference relating to the new WorkSite DMS iPhone integration.

The online flashy foxy slick smick demo can be played

Thursday, June 4, 2009

BRW Magazine - Janders Dean Conference Faculty Interviewed

BRW Magazine has run with an article this week which includes interviews with some of the 2009 Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference faculty.

The article is a discussion on the current state in the area of law firm knowledge management, and includes quotes from both Freehills and Allens Arthur Robinson.

The article is entitled "Knowledge Keepers" (Alex Boxsell 04 June 2009) and can be found
here for subscribers.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Knowledge Management Ready For Brave New World

The following article was posted by Angela Priestley - Editor of LawyersWeekly last Thursday evening at the conclusion of the 2nd Annual Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference.

See this week's print and online editions of Lawyers Weekly for a full round-up of the event.

KM Ready For Brave New World
Angela Priestley: Posted May 28 2009, 02:56 AM

The future could see a host of new job titles emerge in law firms, said Matthew Parsons, author and former global director knowledge at Linklaters, as they adapt to a rapidly changing world of knowledge management.

Speaking at the Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management (KM) conference in Sydney on Thursday, Parsons took a crystal ball to the future of KM in law firms and predicted a move to changing partner responsibilities and roles.

Parsons noted that the next 10 years in KM could see as much rapid change as that experienced in the last 10 years.

"PCs on desks only really happened in the early 1990s," he said. "We only had Google start, start, just before 2000 .... Realistically we can expect that same amount of change in the next 10 years. It's going to be a very different landscape."

That change could also see job titles evolve to take on growing responsibilities as KM continues to progress, he said.

Parsons said it was possible that "knowledge partners" might rise to prominence in firms , as partners who are asked to take responsibility for the governance of knowledge and offered a team of support staff to assist. "That individual is going to work out what that common goal is, what needs to be done and where they are on the list of priorities," said Parsons.

"They are going to have to be a senior, pragmatic partner. Frankly, that person is probably not going to be a technologist, but a dinosaur - somebody with loads of credibility and respect."

With such a partner in place, Parsons believes, more accountability around the measurement of knowledge would be in place to better understand the return on investment that effective KM can offer.

Other roles to emerge could include usability and communications advisors, practice knowledge support offices, intranet managers and online learning and extranet production managers. Parsons said those roles could help provide effective connections to better manage the knowledge and processes emerging from multiple areas within the firm.

Original online version of the article here.

Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference - Another Successful Year!

The second annual Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference was held in Sydney last Thursday to a packed house of attendees from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Representatives from firms such as Freehills, Blake Dawson, Gilbert+Tobin, DLA Phillips Fox, Corrs, Allens and Baker & McKenzie (in addition to representatives from corporates such as Westpac, Macquarie Bank, New Zealand Crown Law and the Australian Taxation Office) gathered at the luxurious L'Aqua Gold Room and rooftop terrace (on the only day of the week blessed with sunshine) to hear law firm leaders discuss the current state of knowledge management, and the future direction of the discipline.

Such was the popularity of this year's event and the interest in the speakers and the agenda, that Janders Dean had to increase the capacity of the conference area to accommodate demand.

Delegates were furiously taking notes as former global CKO of Linklaters and author of "Effective Knowledge Management for Law Firms" Matthew Parsons discussed the evolution of law firm knowledge management and predictions of the future landscape of legal support roles and KM as a discipline.

Having spoken Australia, London, Boston and New York on topics of knowledge management and law firm management, and published articles in the United States, England and Australia on knowledge management and legal technology, Janders Dean were honoured to be able to have Matthew join us as the keynote speaker for this year's conference.

Matthew's presentation was followed by Janet Young (Chief Operating Officer of Freehills) who openly discussed the unique ways in which this top ranked Australian law firm had tackled their KM issues over the past few years, and how Freehills plan to continue the evolution of KM as both a fee earner and client facing service offering.

This presentation from the COO's perspective captivated the audience as a number of firms continue to seek ways in which to gain management sponsorship and buy in for knowledge services during challenging economic climates.

Justine Woodford from Allens spoke of the firm's approaches to KM during the downturn and gave timely and professional advice on how KM teams can continued to provide leading edge services to lawyers while under budget scrutiny. Moreover, Justine demonstrated how firms can use the current economic climate to their advantage through the introduction of KM value added services.

One of the most captivating case study sessions of the day came from Vanessa Lewis of the Australian Taxation Office who spoke from an "out of industry/non-law firm" perspective on the knowledge and collaboration projects underway within the department.

Feedback from the delegates indicated that these detailed case study sessions are of significant value - particularly to those attendees who may not have an opportunity to be exposed to what is possible and achievable from outside their immediate law firm peer group.

Other speakers on the day included Simon Price of Recommind, Justin Harness of Macquarie Bank, Marc Peter of LexisNexis and Neil Etheridge from Autonomy.

We wish to express our sincere thanks to all delegates, sponsors and partners from this year's event, as well as to those Janders Dean friends and family who worked silently supporting us in the background so as to make this event yet another successful and unique platform for knowledge sharing and expertise exchange.

Janders Dean are pleased to continue to bring this conference to the market, and also to demonstrate our leadership (and the leadership of our clients) in the areas of law firm knowledge management and strategic technology planning.

Further information on this year's conference can be obtained via email from

Latest on Allen & Overy 3E Implementation

As the A&O team continue towards assessing the go-live of their London and international finance departments from last weekend, we are expecting Thomson Elite to undertake a massive press drive on the opening day of the 2009 Thomson Elite User Conference (June 9th -11th) with the news about the go-live.

Interestingly, we understand that the firm (in an effort to reduce the visible change impact on users) will not be using the native time recording features of the 3E product in favour of an integration with the firm's existing Carpe Diem fee earner facing application.

The agenda information for the Elite conference states that Allen & Overy and Baker Robbins & Company will co-present the custom billing workflow used within 3E to improve the firm’s billing process. Although the speakers are not listed yet, hopefully Peter Kelly, Sonnie Yoon, Craig Rimby or Nathan Bowie from Baker Robbins are there to present this. In collaboration with the BRCo technical developers in London such as Jeff Correll, this group is by far and away the most impressive (and now subsequently battle scarred) team of third party 3E experts assembled.

The presentation will begin with a study of the methodology used to define the specifications and justification for the custom workflow. Next, the session will focus on the approach and lessons learned in building the workflow using the 3E IDE. Finally, the session will discuss the piloting, training and
deployment of the workflow along with early results....might be a wee bit early for 'early results' though given the timeline at the firm.

The conference should be a useful forum, and delegates should have easy access to Elite personnel given that numbers will understandably be well down on previous years.

Best wishes to the BRCo boys and girls who have worked hard with the A&O team to make this project happen, and to the firm as they edge one step closer to being truly live.