Part of the critical success of the DuPont Legal Model was the creation of the “KnowledgeBase,” (KB) in the late 1990s which shared the right information with the right people at the right time through a collection of collaborative databases. The KB was effective as a centralized location for sharing information such as sample work product, best practices, guidelines and information. But as workload increased, the time to share knowledge decreased and as the KB technology aged, the barriers to this transfer of information increased.
As the 21st century began, processes, people and technology were needed to support the knowledge sharing effort both within and across teams. In addition, the KB provided limited resources for distributed teams working on complex litigation. And it had to be a natural extension of work, supported seamlessly by technology. Thus the DuPont Legal Model Knowledge Management (KM) Program was born.
Getting participation and input directly from the legal community entailed a transitioning away from the technology-centric governance model into a legal-centric model that would support ongoing decision-making and would ensure the effectiveness of this KM program. A Governance Board was created that would have final authority in dealing with the issues that would arise from an innovative technology program designed to take work to the edge.
This KM program is made up of Knowledge Managers, Knowledge Leaders and Knowledge Stewards. Knowledge Stewards are members of the legal teams actively working on DuPont cases. The working case teams use team rooms to centralize information. By actively assisting team members in ensuring that the team information is shared, the Knowledge Stewards support both the day-to-day activities of the case and the ongoing sharing of knowledge.
The Knowledge Managers and Knowledge Leaders provide direction and help to define what is appropriate to be shared more broadly among the professionals within the Network. Technology and the Knowledge Management organization work together to ensure continual creation, maintenance and reuse of information in and across team rooms and in the central database.
To meet the needs of their Knowledge Management program, DuPont Legal employed an Internet-based technology tool that has been nicknamed “The EDGE.”
“The EDGE” is used to meet the goals of the KM program which are:
Initially “The EDGE” was embraced by litigation teams but has now extended to any collaborative team in DuPont Legal. It has been embraced by various non-litigation practice groups such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Commercial, Patents, Trademarks and Environmental. It’s meeting the goals for its design—to help internal and external people and teams collaborate more effectively. With rapid changes in available technology and the need to always remain a step ahead strategically, technology is a means to improve both the agility and the efficiency of the DuPont Legal Model.