November issue of Law Practice Today Now Live

November’s issue of the webzine Law Practice Today is now live. The theme for November is “Wireless Technologies.” There is a nice collection of articles on the subject, including my column on links great wireless resources.
The theme for December is “New Year, New Practice” and we are looking for pieces that discuss new and innovative approaches to the practice of law. For example, I’ll be writing a piece on “virtual law firms.” If you have something you’d like to contribute, please e-mail me.

“Idea Practitioners” – This Sounds Like Me

A very interesting article by Thomas Davenport H. James Wilson in Optimize Magazine discusses the subject of “idea practitioners” – “someone who has developed a “practice” of idea implementation, a task that’s much harder than idea generation. Idea practitioners determine what makes sense for their companies, modify the ideas to suit their needs, and mobilize their organizations to make those real. In many cases, they’re idea creators and translators as well as users. They take risks and often use hard-earned social capital to advance ideas they care about.”
There are a zillion “strategic plans” gathering dust in binders on shelves. The key is putting the ideas into action. Talking is easy. What I like is putting ideas to work and making things happen.
This article is fascinating in its approach to this subject. I enjoyed it, too, because it places its finger on one of the things I enjoy most.

Myths about Software in Corporate Legal Departments

Pat O’Donnell’s article “8 Myths About Corporate Software,” is a must-read for lawyers in corporate legal departments that have been slow to adopt the use of technology.
While it may surprise some to see that this type of article still has to be written in 2003, many corporate legal departments are dropping the ball on easy, solid technology efforts that would control legal costs, manage projects and law firms, and generally improve their work and results.
Because the return on investment for technology in corporate legal departments can usually be shown fairly easily, more legal departments should be questioning the slow adoption approach.

A Five Star Book on Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession

I’ve written about lawyers and KM here and here and keep a list of links to KM and law resources, so I like to think that I am familiar with the subject.
I just finished Gretta Rusanow’s book, “Knowledge Management and the Smarter Lawyer,” and it impressed the heck out of me.
I’m impressed with her thoroughness, the way they she is able to divide KM processes and approaches into logical structures and units and her common sense approach. There is a ton of useful practical information in this book and I don’t know of any firm embarking on a KM project who would not benefit from this book.
Rusanow emphasizes two key questions that many firms do not ask themselves enough when it comes to any technology project: is the project aligned with our business goals and do we have a way to measure the success or failure of the project?
She gives you a great structure to use when considering KM projects and her checklists of what the people involved in the project need to do could easily serve as a job description. She makes the case for a Chief Knowledge Officer better than anyone else I have seen.
My only caveat is that she does not cover specific technology or software solutions. My first reaction to that was a little negative, but I think that her approach to anlyzing your needs and overview of how to do what you want will help you more in picking an appropriate platform than putting mini-reviews, which would be quickly dated, of various software into the book.
I really liked the way she took two chapters and applied the same principles to legal departments and solo lawyers. That illustrated to me the strength of her approach.
Great stuff. The book is as good a one-volume KM reference for lawyers as I could imagine.