As a practicing attorney, knowledge is your stock in trade. You accumulate information about your clients, your area of expertise, the law, and the applicable courts and regulators that will interpret that law, and you use that knowledge to continuously improve your practice.
Or is that just what you wish you could do—while in reality, you have a hard time keeping track of everything you know or every helpful tidbit you’ve come across?
That’s where having a single source of truth comes in handy.
What Exactly Do We Mean by “Your Law Firm’s Knowledge”?
The knowledge we’re talking about could be any detail, fact, case precedent, or legal argument that you have acquired during your practice and that could help you in a later case. Your law firm’s knowledge includes everything from the simple—like your clients’ current contact information and how best to reach them—to the complex and ever-evolving, like those clients’ strategic goals around their business’s growth strategy. Your store of knowledge also includes specialized legal information, like arguments for specific legal and factual issues, case citations and quotes, and factual distinctions between different cases.
The Lifecycle of Your Law Firm’s Knowledge
Like any other asset, your law firm’s knowledge has its own lifecycle. Over and over as you practice, you will:
obtain knowledge from various sources,
organize and store that knowledge (hopefully), and
use that knowledge in the rest of your practice.
For client-specific knowledge, you might gather information through initial meetings, intake forms, emails, and other correspondence. For legal knowledge, you’ll gather information from a range of primary sources such as case reports, new statutes, and your own previous experiences. You’ll then organize that information into your legal research files, briefs, memos, and other documents.
The better you can manage the lifecycle of your knowledge—capturing information, organizing it, and storing it where you can readily access it again—the better you can represent your clients. But this is where many practicing attorneys run into a problem: all of the knowledge they encounter is stored separately across all of their information systems. Facts about your client live in an intake form; details within an email are in your email system; legal research is squirreled away in a database of briefs. None of it is accessible when and where you need it the next time you close a deal for this client or brief a case with similar issues.
Unless you have a single source of truth that compiles that knowledge for later use.
How a Single Source of Truth Helps Manage the Lifecycle of Law Firm Knowledge
A single source of truth is a central database where you can capture, organize, and store your law firm’s knowledge so it’s readily accessible the next time you need it. Having a single source of truth guarantees that you can gather information from all of your disparate and disconnected systems, store it in one place, and then retrieve useful information as you need it. A single source of truth also helps you keep your information up to date and correct—so if a client changes their address or decides to chart a new course for their business strategy, your database reflects that change and keeps you from wasting time on outdated information.
Cognito’s task-centric software offers an intuitive, seamless single source of truth for solo practitioners and small law firms. It automatically collects and organizes all of the critical details that lawyers gather or create through their daily work: documents, notes, client intake forms, contact lists, and any other text-based information to identify useful facts. It then securely preserves that information in a structured, searchable format that makes it easy to find and reuse later, delivering details and arguments exactly when and where they’re needed. Contact us to learn more or to set up a demonstration.