In October, I attended the Knowledge Management (KM) in the Legal Profession presented by Ark in New York. Speakers were from a diverse range of law firms and corporate legal departments – diverse in size, geographic location, and practice focus. Attendees likewise represented a cross-section of the private legal industry. While there were many law librarians in attendance, they were outnumbered by those from I.T. departments, knowledge management attorneys, and others in high level positions within their organizations – law firms, corporations, and consulting firms.
As is the case any time you dive into the world of KM, one finds it to be a frustratingly nebulous concept which intertwines throughout an organization’s departments. With that intertwining comes the question of who should be in charge of it? Law firms and corporate legal departments have answered that question in a variety of ways. Many see this as data work and should therefore fall under I.T. Others see it as needing to be led by attorneys. Still others have housed this responsibility with the library – clearly the right place for it! Self-interest aside, the more I learn of knowledge management, the more certain I am that the responsibility and, more importantly, the strategic direction for this rapidly developing area belongs with the library.