The Opportunity for Firms, Librarians, and Knowledge Management

July 17, 2013

KnowledgeKnowledge management makes so much sense for librarians because it goes hand-in-hand with our role as reference resources. Attorneys will say, “I have this issue. Here are my facts. I need to find supporting law.” They can certainly do the original research, but often the answer – more importantly, the way the firm would approach the answer – is in the firm’s own work product. For a deeper dive into Opportunities around Knowledge Management download this whitepaper.



When someone wants to know if anyone in the firm has experience working on a particular subject, they will often go and ask a colleague. It happens all the time. The only problem is that we have more than 200 attorneys. You might not ask the right question to the right attorney. Not everyone knows what everyone else has worked on. People are constantly turning over at the firm. So you may or may not find the right answer. There are considerable gaps and inefficiencies.

You Don’t Have to Call It “Knowledge Management”

At my previous firm, we worked very closely with a client – a government agency – that had its own knowledge management system. The client told our attorneys, “Before you do original research, we want you to reference this.” But the client did not call it knowledge or knowledge management; they called it work product or research.

Be the Bridge Between Attorneys and IT Staff

Librarians are well suited to be the face of IT to attorneys. We can speak to attorneys. We understand them and the requirements of their work.

Become the In-House Expert for Know-How

My strategy is that the proof is in the pudding. Push actionable information to the lawyers. Marketing strategies. Business development opportunities. Not only show them the information, but also get face time and show them how you gathered the information. An attorney will come to me and say, “I need this particular group of documents because it is important to my project.” I then show the way to do that. When the attorney gets to see how this works, he or she becomes more supportive.