Legal Knowledge Engineering

Some parts of a legal business can be standardized, in order to become more efficient and quality assured.  This is true of many different areas in legal practice especially document production.

To support legal advisors streamlining their work to meet the market demands for predictability, fixed prices and other alternative fee arrangements, and competition from new players, VQ has developed a new intelligent legal solution with readymade standard documents for labour law, M&A, general agreements and corporate registration matters called VQ Legal. By using this solution legal advisors can access readymade templates and assistance to standardize relevant part of the business. For more information, please see VQ Legal.

We can also assist you individually to implement intelligent document assembly solutions including traditional Word based assembly and the latest tools that bring together web based document assembly and cloud based computing. Lawyers make use of these tools by accessing a web interface and answering relevant questions, receiving accurate and quality assured documents that merge clauses and content in a timely way.

This kind of work is considered a new kind of legal career defined as 'Legal Knowledge Engineer' by Professor Richard Susskind.

Richard Susskind predicts that lawyers who are unwilling to change will struggle to survive, but that lawyers who respond to the changes and embrace technology and new ways of providing legal services will find opportunities for new and exciting lines of business. The expression Legal Knowledge Engineer refers to a new legal career defined on the basis of Richard Susskind's predictions on the need to change the business model for the modern law firm and the new talent demands for lawyers with competence to combine legal knowledge with IT skills:

"If I am right and legal service will increasingly be standardized and (in various ways) computerized, then people with great talent are going to be needed, in droves, to organize the large quantities of complex legal content and processes that will need to be analyzed, distilled and then embodied in standard working practices and computer systems. This new line of work will need highly skilled lawyers. The development of standard documents or procedures and the organization and representation of legal knowledge in computer systems is, fundamentally, a job of legal research and analysis; and often this knowledge engineering will be more intellectually demanding than conventional work (working out a system that can solve many problems is generally more taxing than finding an answer to one problem).

It is entirely misconceived to think, as many lawyers do, that work on standards and systems can be delegated to junior research or support lawyers. If a legal business is going to trade on the strength of outstanding standards and systems, then it will need outstanding lawyers involved in their design and development. These legal knowledge engineers will also be needed to undertake another central task - the basic analysis and decomposition of legal work that I claim will be required if legal work is to be multi-sourced effectively and responsibly. Legal knowledge engineering, in the 21st century, will not be a fringe show at the edge of the legal market. It will be a central occupation for tomorrow's lawyers."

VQ Forum Susskind and VQ Professor Richard Susskind with VQ founders Ann Björk and Helena Hallgarn, photographed at VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum 2011 in Stockholm.

Even though several new products have entered the legal market in recent times, making affording opportunities that were not previously available, the level of competence and skills required to implement a document automation tool should not be underestimated, as observed by Professor Richard Susskind. But, implemented in the right way, a document automation solution is a fantastic tool that can provide huge leverage and form a basis for innovation and improved legal services, clearly providing the firm using it with a competitive advantage.

Furthermore, Dr. Ben Gardner has described that work of legal engineering is not about the technical implementation of a particular tool but rather the realisation of the synergies that exist between tools and process re-engineering in the context of the lawyer. Find out more here: "Why Legal Engineering?"

Publications by the VQ founders

Future of Legal Services and the Development of Legal Knowledge Management, Cornell University Law School VoxPopuLII, August 2013

Practical Strategies for Effective Law Firm Knowledge Management, Universal Publishers, May 2012, Editor Martin Apistola

The Digital Associate of Law Firms and the Benefits for In-house Counsel, International In-House Counsel Journal, October 2011, www.iicj.net

Streamlining knowledge, Managing Partner Magazine, October 2010, www.mpmagazine.com

New Horizons, KIM Legal Magazine, June 2010, www.kmlegalmag.com

KM Case Study: On the knowledge, Managing Partner Magazine, April 2010,www.mpmagazine.com

A strategic imperative, KIM Legal Magazine, March 2010, www.kmlegalmag.com

Thought leader, KIM Legal Magazine, March 2010, www.kmlegalmag.com

The real deal flow, Managing Partner Magazine, February 2010, www.mpmagazine.com

A new take on knowledge, KM Legal Magazine, April 2009, www.kmlegalmag.com

Knowledge is power: Making knowledge management work for law firms, Managing Partner Magazine, March 2004, www.mpmagazine.com