Knowledge tools in the legal sector

August 31, 2015

04-06-2015 – The legal sector is changing continuously. Organizations experiment with new business models, such as fixed fees, and the sharing of knowledge. The latter is often done by lawyers who publish articles or write blogs.

From our point of view, we are also interested in applied knowledge; knowledge that can be used by customers. These are the so-called knowledge apps that give answer to the specific need of a customer. In this blog, we will highlight a few of these knowledge apps.

Knowledge apps in practice

There are a lot of examples that demonstrate how users are able to make use of the extensive knowledge gathered by law firms. These apps are often displayed on the websites of these firms. Good examples are the Van Dienst concept of Van Benthem & Keulen and WWZ-proof by Lexence (both Dutch). Both companies put their knowledge, dealing with new Dutch law, in a public area. On top of that, Lexence also offers some other tools that are useful to the public.

Kennedy van der Laan recently launched the Governance in Control Scan. By means of an interactive question-answer dialogue custom advice is given to health care institutions. The advice consists of a list of things which could be improved and a list with things that are already going well.

The primary goal of all of the examples mentioned above, seems to be to share (parts of) knowledge in order to gain new customers. It is a refreshing way of marketing which distinguishes itself from other marketing methods as it discloses specialized knowledge and provides custom-advice to (potential) customers.

Interestingly enough, law firms are taking up the seat of publisher more and more often. Knowledge is offered as payment service to customers. This could be within a collaboration portal such as HighQ or via a simple webshop. An example from the US is Cadwalader, a company that develops legal expert systems for large financial organization for their compliance.

Future?

As for now, knowledge tools are only used by large legal firms. However, there are many individuals who have a lot of knowledge and would like to share that knowledge, but do not always have the means to translate their knowledge into online (knowledge) apps.

In the Berkeley ShareCenter, Berkeley Bridge offers those people the opportunity to translate their knowledge into interactive, online apps; on the condition that the created apps are open to the community. In fact, the ShareCenter functions as an open source knowledge platform.

I believe that the knowledge apps are emerging. The big questions is: How do large firms embrace this change. And, more importantly, will it be useful for customers?

Rob van de Plassche
Co-owner Berkeley Bridge