As a lawyer, your knowledge is your capital. What you know about your clients and their business, the law, regulations, processes, local courts, and other practitioners determine how successful you are. The better you can manage all of that information—keeping track of it and applying it when and where you need it—the smoother your practice will run.
But even if you have a mind like a steel trap, you’re probably not an island unto yourself. You almost certainly work with other attorneys, a paralegal, an administrative assistant, or all of the above. It would help if you had a way to share information with them.
That’s where knowledge continuity comes in.
What Is Knowledge Continuity?
Just as business continuity planning ensures that your firm can keep plugging along and getting work done come what may—knowledge continuity ensures that your knowledge is always accessible.
When your knowledge is externally stored in an online repository, it’s available to you and the rest of your firm, no matter who comes into work. We’ve talked before on this blog about the value of having a single source of truth for your law firm’s knowledge. It’s a similar concept: you want to get knowledge out of your head, your email, your Rolodex, or your client forms and into a reliable external site where you—and your colleagues—can access it later.
Here are five ways that legal knowledge continuity can pay off.
5 Reasons You Need Continuity for Your Legal Knowledge
Remote work. This real-world scenario has been playing out for the last year. How easily did you transition to working remotely—or did you have to keep going into the office because that’s where your notes were? When you store your legal knowledge in an online repository, it’s available to you anytime, from anywhere.
Collaboration. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it doesn’t do the rest of your team any good unless you can get it out of your head and somewhere where others can access it. When you store the legal knowledge you’ve accrued in an online repository, your team can make use of it too, which streamlines and simplifies collaboration.
Turnover. Attorney turnover is expensive—it’s estimated to cost the top 400 law firms roughly $9.1 billion annually. While it might not cost your firm quite that much, it’s still a considerable expense. Don’t make it more costly by losing all the knowledge that a departing attorney has. When their knowledge is stored in an online database, it’s available to the next generation—and you don’t lose as much money getting another attorney up to speed because everything they need is right there.
Attorney unavailability. You’re not always in the office—or at least you don’t want to be. Whether you’re unavailable because you’re sick or in Fiji, you don’t want your absence to bring your office to its knees. With knowledge continuity, you can ensure that knowledge is available even when attorneys aren’t.
Efficiency. Knowledge continuity isn’t just great for other people—it’s also a fantastic way to remember everything you need to know. As David Allen, creator of the Getting Things Done productivity method, says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” When you have a knowledge continuity system that can float facts up as you need them, you can stop trying to remember everything and use your legal skills more efficiently.
Are you ready to make knowledge continuity the way you practice law? If so, it’s time to get all that information out of your head and into a trusted repository like Cognito. Cognito’s legal workflow software helps you capture knowledge effortlessly from emails, phone calls, intake forms, and client notes. Cognito then organizes and stores that information in a secure but accessible online database where it’s available to you—and your coworkers—as you need it. Contact us to learn more or to set up a demonstration.
Also, learn more about how Knowledge Management is the New Frontier for Lawyers here.