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Knowledge Management

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2008, with 87% being from law firms and 11% from corporate law departments. We did have four more law department respondents this year, which is a statistically significant increase of 36%, from 11 to 15. However, we believe this figure still under-represents the actual number of law departments that have KM initiatives. Since KM in corporate law departments does seem to be growing, we have filtered out the results for this group and have included below a separate short summary of key results. We had fewer large firms (over 500 lawyers) respond this year with 53 respondents representing 40% of the total, down from 74 representing 57% of respondents in 2008. However, we had double the number of responses from smaller organizations (51-250 lawyers), representing 28% of respondents. While we are not sure why we got fewer responses from large organizations, it is encouraging to see KM growing in smaller to mid-sized organizations. THE KM ORGANIZATION Indicators of maturity of the KM organization in law firms and legal departments could include the extent to which there is a separate budget for KM, the existence of a KM vision or strategy, which department KM reports to, and the title of the person responsible for KM. In the last two years, not too much has changed regarding these parameters, with 54% of organizations not having a separate KM department and 61% not having a separate KM budget. However, the significance and independence of KM within the legal organization seem to be reflected in the fact that the majority of respondents indicated that KM reports directly to senior management rather than through another department. We also saw an increase in the number of organizations that have, or are working on, a KM strategy this year. This could be a reflection of the economic downturn and related changes in legal environments as well as an indication that firms generally are viewing KM as part of their strategic planning. It is certainly not surprising that organizations are also looking at their KM strategies to ensure their investments appropriately reflect the changing legal environment and economy. It should be noted that the size of the organization is not necessarily a determining factor for a mature KM program, according to the survey data. While the large law organizations (>500) seem to be slightly more likely to have a KM strategy, more than half of them still don’t, though many are working on it. Similarly, almost half do not have a separate KM budget. IMPACT OF THE ECONOMY ON KM We know that many firms and law departments were hit hard by the economic downturn, and we heard numerous stories of layoffs and cost-cutting programs. The survey indicates that KM managed to hold its own in this environment. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that their budgets and KM staff levels have stayed the same. Budgets increased for 21% of respondents, and 10% saw staff levels increase. Certainly, during this period, much was written about how KM can help organizations flourish in difficult economic times. It would appear that KM has had some success in demonstrating its value. Size of the organization doesn’t seem to have played a factor in whether the KM budget was impacted. The most prevalent trends in the changing legal environment are the move to fixed fees Knowledge Management 7

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