- David Hambourger, CIO of Seyfarth Shaw LLP
- Deborah S. Panella, Director of Library and Knowledge Services at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP
- Janis Croft, Knowledge Services Manager, Nixon Peabody LLP
- Moderator: Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal Consulting, Inc.
Half of the audience are from KM and the other half from IT.
David started off the roundtable. At Seyfarth, there are two sides of the house: traditional IT and on the other Practice Services. Practice Services encompasses, knowledge services, litigation support and application support. He has three people in the knowledge services group. One manager and two attorneys. David divided it that IT is considered “back office” and practice serves are in the “front of the house.” Part of this was personality driven.
Deb has 13 librarians and 6 support staff of who most do some KM work. She also has one KM specialist. She has the use of a KM analyst from the IT application side. She reports to the IT Director. She is the first person with KM responsibility at Cravath, but Cravath has been doing KM activities for years.
Janis showed that Nixon Peabody has knowledge services under the information services group. They also have developers from the application development group. They also have 35 KM liaisons from the practice areas. They have some attorneys who have KM requirements and billable requirements.’
Ron did some polling of the audience. Only a small number had a formal knowledge management department or organization.
Ron put out two competing views: (A) KM is 80% process and content and (B) technology is key to KM. David took the position that technology is key. Everything he is seeing has a technology piece. You need the technical person to help in the development, execution and rollout. Janis was a process person and has moved into the technology camp. In implementing their first portal she realized she needed the technology person to implement the project.
Deb (to my surprise) also came down on the technology side. She points out that the content has always been there. It is the technology that drives the management aspect.
There was some discussion of using the knowledge management group as a liaison between the “front of the house” and the “back of the house.” One role to make sure that IT is helping to translate the needs of the users to the network, developers and application support groups.
They concluded that it is a good thing to have KM associated with IT.
David finds that expertise identification, experience location and business development are still key to KM.