An area that has always gained much attention from a KM perspective is knowledge retention. How do you know what knowledge your business has and how do you hold onto it? For succession planning, this issue has particular resonance. If an important lawyer leaves the firm, they may well take their vital knowledge with them. With baby boomers coming up to retirement, it's not just individuals who are likely to leave, but a whole swathe of partners who are currently the lifeblood of the business.
In addition, the recession may have increased employee dissatisfaction. Morale may be low if firms have been forced to conduct layoffs over the past year. It will be even worse if remaining lawyers feel that the communication of those layoffs was poorly conducted '“ or that the firm generally treated its staff poorly through the recession. In that case, the next few months could see many more lawyers defecting to firms that appear to better care for their people. This leaves firms facing a potential hole in their operations, as well as a significant gap in their knowledge base.
In this environment, knowledge-retention strategies are more important than ever '“ not only in terms of storing knowledge that is vital to the ...