Knowledge Management is usually defined as a collection of systematic approaches to help information and knowledge flow to and between the right people at the right time (in the right format at the right cost) – so they can act more efficiently and effectively to create value for the organization.
This was all started around 1995 when the intranet (internal network within companies – not to be mistaken with the internet) started to be built. As more law firms and departments started to rely on this new invention to become a portal for all types of legal content, it made the idea of knowledge management grow. This invention twenty years ago played a big role of getting knowledge management to where it is today.
Today, it is mainly focused on being easily accessible and consume in large amount information at once. As the years went on from 1995 forward, you see knowledge management becoming more significant. Today it is becoming common in very large organizations. For the past twenty or more so years you see the commonality of knowledge management becoming significant to all businesses.
Professional Support Lawyers or PSLs, are place in the role to manage knowledge management in all organizations. There main focus is to understand the information and share it through emails or email software to manage all of the documents the business would be receiving. Some qualities a professional support lawyer would need to exhibit is extreme organizational skills, to make sure nothing is out of place, understanding all types of technology and software, allowing the job and technology continually changes to be relevant to them still, and knowledgeable, in the sense they know what they are doing at all times and for what businesses and firm.
Some examples of the basic tasks that a professional support lawyer would focus on would be precedents, research, marketing, business development and firm wide initiatives. But overall, the main focus of a Professional Support Lawyer is to close the gap between businesses/organizations and law firms/departments. One thing to be found very interesting, is that all research talks about the impact professional support lawyers have made in knowledge management.
They take the lead of doing the tedious work and shaping the relationship between businesses and law firms. With all the positives they do, you see that most organizations will not hire a PSL. The main reason on why they aren’t hired is because they are way too expensive and also not billable. Although, there are some companies that are replacing the idea of PSL and doing the same work, it’s more significant to have lawyers doing this job. It makes everything more personal and if you are focus on having a strong relationship, why wouldn’t you bring in one or a couple people to keep the communication close compared to a big company.
We are optimistic that in the upcoming years, there will be more change in having PSL because if they can continually change the way the job is done, they can figure out the problems of pricing and how to pay them as well.