Strategic advice

We offer KM strategic advice and consulting services to support you setting up an internal KM function and to further develop an existing KM function by advising you in deciding the best KM strategy and providing essential knowledge management toolkits and framework. We further offer  support and strategic advice in specific KM related projects and take on assignments as project leaders on specific projects or KM initiatives.

Our approach is to focus on clearly identified operational and strategic goals, with user and business orientation and attention to detail. We help you elicit a strong business case for change and through a unique combination of skills and experience, we guarantee results.

We support the KM function to shift from merely providing information resources to developing more efficient ways of delivering knowledge and know-how.  We help you to transform knowledge and expertise into a key differentiator, helping your organization to sustain a competitive market position.

We believe in implementing excellent IT solutions, enabling you to make better use of the knowledge resources within your business.

For more information on our KM strategic advice and consulting services please contact us at info@vqab.se.

 

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management (KM) can be defined in many different ways and by applying different strategies. Generally KM initatives focus on organizational objectives like improved performance, competitive advantage, quality assurance, sharing of lessons learned and innovation. For us KM is about management and organization of knowledge and knowledge sharing, to ensure that knowledge is easily accessible, shared and used. We share the KM definition by Dave Snowden that the purpose of KM is to provide support for improved decision making and innovation, by the effective management of human intuition and experience augmented by the provision of information, processes and technolog together with training and mentoring programmes.

This definition is a good description of how we have been looking at KM in practice and how we have implemented KM at law firms. The solutions and services we offer are all based on our long experience from KM work at different law firms and our view on KM as a means to gain competitive advantages and support improved decision making and innovation.

Even though KM is much about processes and developing and implementing working practice, any KM initative must also consist of essential knowledge management toolkits and framework. If implemented in the right way, IT can be an enabler, providing leverage and solutions to transform knowledge and expertise into a key differentiator.

It is also important not to focus only on legal know-how but focus on all knowledge relevant to best support the whole business, turning KM into a true business support function. A lawyer solving a business problem for a client needs to have knowledge about the company, the industry, the business environment, what knowledge within the firm that can be of use, etc. Accordingly, a lot of different knowledge sources have to be covered - not just legal knowledge. Professor Richard Susskind has commented on this as follows: "equipping lawyers of the future with the tools and knowledge to solve business problems and not just legal problems".

To support the whole business and the wide spectrum of matters that are handled at a law firm you have to take on different approaches. There is not only one way to solve KM for a law firm and there is not only one KM solution applicable to all kinds of matters, i.e. model documents is not the answer to everything. Instead, when we have implemented KM at law firms, we have applied three different approaches to support the spectrum of matters - standardisation, knowledge sharing and innovation - and on the basis of these three approaches developed applicable KM tools to support the business. All three approaches are important and necessary, but for different matters and only to a justifiable extent.

As regards standardisation, the usual KM tool employed is to create model documents to standardise more simple kinds of matters. In order to increase the focus on standardisation further a document-assembly tool can be implemented. When deciding on such an implementation focus must be on the cost-efficiency aspects and how to retrieve most result in relation to required effort. If 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.

But in other matters handled at a law firm model documents are not relevant at all. Instead you need to focus on the knowledge sharing approach to support these matters, by creating suitable KM tools. The goal here is to leverage the experience within the firm and to facilitate information procurement on transactions, current awareness, practice guides, example documents etc.

As regards the innovation approach the focus is on expertise and collaboration. From a KM perspective the goal is to combine knowledge sharing with business development by supporting the fee-earners to share new business ideas, find new ways of solving problems and new ways of providing legal services. Here model documents play no or a very little role.

When deciding on KM strategy it is important to constantly evaluate how to best support the business in the most cost-efficient way. It is a question of the right approach and the right combination of documents, IT systems and people, to achieve the purpose of KM to provide the best possible exchange of knowledge and experience within an organisation to gain competitive advantages by the use of all ackumulated knowledge.

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