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Benefits of Legal Knowledge Management

Published On : January 30, 2023

Legal knowledge management refers to the way corporate legal departments create,  preserve, and share information within their team and organization. This information can be  broken down into three main categories:

▪ Explicit Knowledge: This is basic operational information that’s easy to systematically document and share. Examples of Explicit Knowledge are:

1. Standard Operating Procedures
2. Company Policies
3. Legal data and related reports
4. Current case laws
5. Templates etc. 

▪ Implicit Knowledge: This can be defined as any new information that’s learned through applying explicit knowledge. Implicit Knowledge varies across employees and may or may not be documented. Examples of Implicit Knowledge can be:

1. Organization Best Practices
2. Specific contract or billing formatting for 3rd Party counsel
3. Technology “hacks” and issues

▪ Tacit knowledge: Tacit Knowledge is termed as any subjective information learned  through personal experiences and is otherwise difficult to capture in a standardized  way. For instance:

1. Co-worker and vendor communication styles, habits, personalities, and  personal information 

Ideally, all the above areas should be covered in your legal knowledge management program,  so that both employees and vendors can develop a thorough understanding of your department processes, external relationships, tools, culture, and people. 

The benefits of legal knowledge management 

For any in-house legal department, Knowledge Management improves team performance  while supporting the company’s bottom line. The quicker you start working on a legal  knowledge process, the faster you can reap these positive rewards. And as we all know, saved  time leads to better productivity, employee satisfaction, and onboarding 

A systematic approach to legal knowledge management reduces the amount of time  employees spend digging for information — which, according to surveys, is an average of 3.6  hours each working day. These productivity losses significantly impact the bottom line, with  businesses recording an average loss of $2.7 million for businesses with 1,000 employees,  right up to a staggering $265 million for companies with more than 100,000 employees. 

When you implement LKM, employees can quickly find what they need, and so they can do  more strategic work that supports the financial health of a business. And this more efficient use of their time also reduces the likelihood of costly burnout and turnover, the latter of which  worsens knowledge gaps. Additionally, when there are clear processes and systems for storing and sharing knowledge  it automatically speeds up the onboarding process. This means new legal department joiners are prepared to tackle their job responsibilities and deliver value faster. A seamless  onboarding process is also key to employee retention, as people are very likely to start job  hunting immediately after a negative onboarding experience. 

How to integrate legal knowledge management into your workflows? 

While the benefits of legal knowledge management are logically understandable, the actual  process of implementing it in an organization is quite challenging for in-house legal teams.  But no matter what your team’s size, the following actions will set you up for long-term knowledge-sharing success. 


The first step to implementing a successful and efficient legal knowledge management  process is to identify common pain points. From there, you can set goals designed to resolve these high-priority issues. Effective legal knowledge management is like building an excellent  employee handbook — you should be able to provide clear solutions and walk-throughs for  common questions and complex topics.  

A sample questionnaire for getting inputs before implementing LKM can include the following  questions: 

1) What documents or information do you spend the most time searching for? 2) Why is it hard to find these resources? 

3) What do you do if you can’t find the information you need? How does this impact your  work? 

4) Do you think our current tool(s) for storing information are effective? Why or why  not? 

5) What tool(s) do you primarily use to share information? (For instance, E-mail, Slack  DMs, Dropbox) 

Including these types of questions will uncover the most glaring issues to address, right from  missing intellectual capital to inefficient Knowledge Management systems. Then, you can  easily create objectives that will help remedy these issues. 


If your in-house survey results reveal that your employees are completely dissatisfied with  the knowledge management system you currently use to create and store information, it’s  time to reevaluate and find one that works better for your department. For this, you’ll first need to review the complaints and other negatives about your current  LKM tool, be it your intranet portal, a spreadsheet, legacy legal tech, or something else. Just  like when you set the objectives, these insights will help you determine what type of LKM tool  will best support your legal knowledge management. Whatever the issues are, use your  analysis results as a checklist when reviewing different document management tools to make  sure you’ll get a strong return on investment. 


When implementing a new knowledge management strategy, you also need clear guidelines  around the way new documents should be created, categorized, stored, and maintained. This  will keep your knowledge management system working efficiently and prevent the  disorganization issues you originally had before you implemented the LKM platform. These procedures will vary depending on what type of management system(s) you decide to  use. For example, if you use legal technology with embedded document management, you  won’t need guidelines to avoid accidentally overwriting versions because the platform saves  each version. But you might need to explain how to change a user’s access to documents. 

To Conclude… 

Legal Knowledge Management is the key to helping corporate legal departments maintain  their productivity and ability to deliver enterprise value in a rapidly evolving business world.  In-house Legal Teams need clearly defined processes and procedures that make it easy to  store, access, and share key information. Preserving this wealth of legal knowledge will make  scaling up seamless for in-house teams because then legal and other departments will be  always in sync, and on the same page.


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