Why Knowledge Management is Critical to a Law Firm’s Success with Generative AI

Wed 10 Jan 2024

In the last 20 years, the balance of power from clients to partners has shifted dramatically to the client side. This has triggered a corresponding technology evolution in the legal industry, as firms grapple to meet client demands while winning more business.

Buyers and consumers of legal services have become increasingly sophisticated. As part of the selection process, in addition to trusted relationships, clients now expect detailed answers to questions about a law firm's experience and other insights. And in the delivery of legal services, clients increasingly assume law firms effectively utilize rapidly evolving technology. In a 2023 Litera survey of US-based M&A lawyers, 73% of US lawyers said their clients ask about their technology stack, specifically when it comes to AI.

Marketing, business development, and knowledge management (KM) teams have undergone significant changes to adapt to the evolving client landscape. This evolution has paved the way for the integration of generative AI (GenAI) with knowledge data, which will play a pivotal role in improving efficiency and meeting client expectations. As law firms look to adopt legal AI to solve problems that were previously beyond reach, it's crucial to first address the key aspects of data and knowledge management that are the building blocks for this new technology.

The Evolution of Marketing, Business Development, and Knowledge Management

Effectively selling and delivering legal services in today's landscape of increasing client expectations demands a deep understanding of both technology and data from marketing, business development, and KM teams.

For KM teams, their evolution has been shaped by lawyers' needs and the demands of their legal practice. In the past, a lawyer's extensive knowledge in a specific area of law, industry, or geography added substantial value, but now, clients expect more than just manual sharing of expertise; they require data-driven insights by connecting the dots across various practice groups and functions. Thus, law firms turn to technology to scale and share collective experiences across the organization, giving them a competitive advantage.

On the business development front, law firms have primarily focused on building relationships as a means of marketing themselves. This approach is still necessary, but no longer sufficient. Prospective clients now expect more than personal connections and want detailed information about deals, litigation track records, and other specific aspects of a firm's experience. Clients seek quick and accurate responses to their inquiries on a granular level and with analytical insights only possible to deliver with the use of technology.

Manual extraction of information from numerous documents is impractical and time-consuming for a single individual. Here, technology plays a vital role in providing the necessary answers promptly and efficiently. By utilizing the right data and employing technology solutions, law firms can meet the demands of clients and deliver accurate information, demonstrating their expertise and capabilities while providing insights that are not possible with manual effort alone.

How Firms Can (Appropriately) Leverage AI

For law firms to effectively combine relationship intelligence with their experience data, it's crucial to ensure that the technology is used appropriately. While AI holds great potential to address the challenges faced by business development/marketing and KM teams, firms can't afford inaccuracies in the results. Cautionary tales, like the lawyer who used ChatGPT to perform legal research and ultimately included a slew of "bogus judicial decisions with bogus quotes and bogus internal citations" in the brief he produced, prove the need for well-conceived legal-specific tools in the AI space.

To continually evolve and make the most of GenAI, law firms need to undertake 3 specific actions:

Breaking down internal silos: Dismantling the internal information silos is essential. By fostering a collaborative environment where information flows seamlessly across departments, firms can leverage a wealth of valuable data for better decision-making.

Third-party data sources: Firms should tap into third-party data sources to augment their existing knowledge. By accessing external data, and integrating this with internal data, firms can gain fresh insights and stay up to date with industry trends, giving them a competitive edge in the legal landscape.

Converting unstructured data into structured data: Structured data is crucial for making the most of GenAI. By organizing and structuring data in a meaningful way, firms can unlock valuable patterns and relationships hidden within vast datasets.

How Litera's Foundation with GenAI Capabilities is Paving the Future

Consider the age-old challenge faced by lawyers where a client asks, "What's market?" In the past, this information would be locked within lawyers' minds and deal documents, making the task of giving a data-driven answer for a specific scenario in a timely manner extremely challenging and resource-intensive. So, usually the answer given is simply what an individual partner feels is accurate in the moment.

Litera's Foundation with GenAI capabilities is shaping the future of marketing, business development and knowledge management, empowering teams to meet heightened client expectations by unlocking the collective experience and knowledge of a law firm that was previously trapped in siloed systems and legal documents.

With experience management platforms, firms can connect disparate systems such as time and billing, document management, and CRM, to provide a centralized and singular view of their experience. Providing real-time, data-driven market insights is just one way in which legally focused GenAI technology, combined with experience data, promises to revolutionize marketing, business development, and knowledge management for law firms, and is just one reason law firms need to consider structuring their data with one eye on the latest legal-focused GenAI products.

By integrating Litera Foundation with our new insights and deal analysis platforms, you can leverage your firm's experience and get concrete answers, rather than search results, to complex legal questions.

To learn more about Foundation and how it's GenAI capabilities are helping firms Amplify Impact in both the business and practice of law, download our product sheet here.

Legal Technology Foundation Knowledge Management


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