Monday, August 9, 2010

Recommind Sign Freehills

Press release just out in the past few minutes with the news that Freehills has agreed to purchase and deploy Recommind's MindServer Search Solution to provide staff with instant and accurate access to knowledge. The release states the following:

Top-5 Australian law firm Freehills has selected Recommind’s MindServer Search to deliver next-generation information access across the firm. Based on Recommind’s CORE (Context Optimised Relevancy Engine) platform, the MindServer Search deployment will form the backbone of Freehill’s knowledge infrastructure.

Implementation of the solution across its network of 2000 lawyers and support staff, will provide Freehills with capabilities to instantly crawl, index and access information from its Autonomy Worksite document management libraries, Microsoft SharePoint™, Aderant Expert PMS and additional sources, as well as Matters & Expertise. Freehills will deploy MindServer Search as the primary search technology making firm information and work product exponentially more usable and actionable across the organisation.

“Our first priority will be to utilize the benefits of MindServer Search across our intranet and knowledge repositories, thereby maximizing the significant investment that we have made to date in these areas,” commented Janet Young, COO / CFO at Freehills. “We believe the ability to find the right information just when you need it is essential for delivering a high quality and timely service to our clients.”

“Freehills is a leading blue chip law firm in the Asia Pacific market place and a very welcome addition to the growing Recommind client base in the region” added Grant Watt, Director of Channels at Recommind. “We are very excited about working with the firm to further consolidate our leadership position within this important market.”

To further supplement its information access and knowledge management efforts, Freehills will also implement Recommind’s QwikFind search bar. Recommind’s unique QwikFind search bar provides instant access to MindServer Search from within Microsoft Office applications (i.e. Word, Outlook, Excel) or from the Windows desktop toolbar, negating the need to launch a separate window or application in order to perform a firm-wide search.

Law Firm Innovations - Monitoring Money (ReedSmith)

Never far from the words "law firm", "technology", "leadership" and "innovation", you will find the words "ReedSmith" and "Tom Baldwin". This article in Law Technology News is another great example of leadership and innovation from within a law firm (rather than the innovation coming from the outside world of a vendor's R&D team).

We've been fortunate to take an exclusive look into the next phase of the RS portal project, and to hear from Tom on the project's design, objectives and true value add to the firm. It is worth noting that this truly is an innovation, and the design and features are both intuitive and technically brilliant. Moreover, it is real product being used today within the firm, and constantly driving ReedSmith towards greater profits.

Over the past six months we've heard from a variety of vendors (including large combined software/publishing/consulting companies) who are trying to push into this space with nothing but buzz words, vapor and the odd MS PowerPoint screen (or badly produced videos with voice over). What we've seen are poorly designed and thought through concepts with nothing but pretty graphs, not very Engaging at all really - proving that innovation comes from the coal face, from those doing the real daily work, and rarely from those hanging on the sidelines.

Technology Selection Advice - Janders Dean Throws Some Thoughts Down

Many thanks to Mark Gould for pulling one of our recent comments from out of The Orange Rag and adding it to his blog.

What we said was as follows - the caveat is that it is informal piece from us in response to a few stirring software vendor comments regarding which "system" is "better". So we thought we would throw in some common sense to give back to the community, and in doing so, share the Janders Dean "All About the Letter P" Selection Matrix.

Here you go...

Selecting a practice management system (or almost any other system) obviously comes down to a number of factors which should be weighted differently for each firm based on their technology adoption position, their history, their investment appetite, and their requirements. Which "product" is "better "is rarely what defines a success or failure when shooting various products off against each other.

We believe that the following is a useful guide, and one that Janders Dean use with all clients when walking them through selection issues (we call it the P matrix - every consultant needs a good matrix).

Product - yep, product is important, but given that we all know the industry usually has a selection of Product A or Product B (with Product C thrown in as a stalking horse), we all know that they can do the same job. It comes down then to which company presents better during the long weeks of demonstrations to users, and which answers the 800 line RFP with the most imagination. Not many firms we work with put the highest importance or priority on this area.

Price - not only in relation to the software, but the professional services, the third party professional services, the internal costs, the impact costs, annual money for nothing costs, the costs of training, servers, etc, etc. This is where the creative discounting comes in, and the negotiation powers of the procurement departments. Not all firms have the same budget year on year, and not all have the same managing partner or Finance Director. In the same way, not all have the same PPEP each year.

Platform - does the technical infrastructure and architecture of this product integrate seamlessly with my firm's? Will I be left out on a technical limb in 5-10 years time by purchasing this? Does the platform require unique skills to be kept in house forever?

Peers - who is using what and how are they going with it is important. Not just from a "keeping up with the industry/Joneses" but also from a "who will have input into the development roadmap of this product", and a "how short staffed or not is the industry in the application skills", not to mention a "how productive and useful is the wider user community in helping each other".

Parent - how has the parent company performed? What are their plans for building or dumping this particular product or (worse) industry vertical? What other areas do they focus on? Where are they based? What has been their track record in buying, building, supporting? Are they committed to this geographical region?

Performance - similar to the above - what has the performance of the product and the vendor been like in the past 3-5 years in our region?

Position - what is the technology adoption position of the firm in relation to being either an early adopter, fast follower or "I'll go last thanks" perspective? Will a decision between Product A and Product B go against the firm's adoption position?

Professional Services - are they indeed "professional" services? Where are they based? What are their skills? How long have they done this for, and at which peer firms? How much do they cost? Do they know the behaviours of lawyers and support personnel enough? Can we get a reference for each individual one of them? Will the vendor place their names in the contract? Do my people get on with their people? Are they bullies, trusted advisors, or "yes" people? Do they add value?

People - are the other "people" within the vendor organisation up to scratch? Do we trust and like the sales team, the support team, the management team (domestic and international)?

That was it folks. Thanks again to Mark for the Tweet and blog mentions. The full piece can be found
here with the thread of all comments from The Orange Rag here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tweet From Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference

For all you 'Twits' either attending or following the confernce and awards next week in Sydney, you can follow and tweet from the 3rd Annual Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management Conference & Awards via #JDKMConf.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Freshfields Knowledge Management - Five Year Plan Completed

News has been leaking in for the past three weeks regarding the unconfirmed departure of Michael Hertz from his role of global Chief Knowledge Office at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

It appears that after five years (almost to the day given that Michael started running the ship there in June 2005), White & Case is about to get a new Chief Marketing Officer in the US as Michael heads back home.

During his tenure, Michael resided over a number of restructures within the department (via which the firm inadvertently and unfortunately lost a majority of the shining lights that they needed to retain, with most being snapped up by peer firms before the dust settled), and also the controversial merging of the Knowledge function with the Business Development function.

With Matthew Parsons having left Linklaters, David Jabbari leaving Allen & Overy, and now Michael leaving Freshfields, who next and what next for Knowledge Management strategic leadership in law?

Alternative Fee Innovation - CMS Cameron McKenna

CMS Cameron McKenna today announced details of the Alternative Billing & Fixed Fee programme that the firm has been working on behind the scenes for some months, with some very interesting aspects to it - some that will make peer firms sit up and listen.

The information released today outlines numerous possible models that a client can adopt including fixed fees, hybrid fixed-fee and capped-fee deals, added value rate models and models specific to client loyalty. As reported today in Legal Week, CMS Cameron McKenna is also offering a "no questions asked" fixed-fee/monthly payment arrangement to those clients who qualify.

How does a client qualify we hear you (and the 3,500 clients and contacts who were today issued with the details of the offer) ask? Well, you follow four simple rules around housekeeping, loyalty and balancing your demands as a client:

1. You pay your bills within 14 days;

2. You give the firm more than 33% of all legal work (although not sure how this can be accurately measured unless on volume of legal fees reported by publicly listed companies);

3. You are to supply the firm with work across multiple practice groups;

4. You agree to an associate as being the main point of contact between you as the client and CMS Cameron McKenna (rather than a partner). Legal Week reports that both Richard Price (Senior Partner) and Duncan Weston (managing Partner) will "personally visit clients to discuss fee arrangements". One wonders wy the associates aren't making the visits too!

It is also reported that a major utility has signed up to the arrangement for a capped period of one year, while also reporting that the firm has also said it has offered a major oil client a fee cap tied to the price of oil. Dangerous? Odd? There is most likely method to the madness.