The future could see a host of new job titles emerge in law firms, said Matthew Parsons, author and former global director knowledge at Linklaters, as they adapt to a rapidly changing world of knowledge management.
Speaking at the Janders Dean Law Firm Knowledge Management (KM) conference in Sydney on Thursday, Parsons took a crystal ball to the future of KM in law firms and predicted a move to changing partner responsibilities and roles.
Parsons noted that the next 10 years in KM could see as much rapid change as that experienced in the last 10 years.
"PCs on desks only really happened in the early 1990s," he said. "We only had Google start, start, just before 2000 .... Realistically we can expect that same amount of change in the next 10 years. It's going to be a very different landscape."
That change could also see job titles evolve to take on growing responsibilities as KM continues to progress, he said.
Parsons said it was possible that "knowledge partners" might rise to prominence in firms , as partners who are asked to take responsibility for the governance of knowledge and offered a team of support staff to assist. "That individual is going to work out what that common goal is, what needs to be done and where they are on the list of priorities," said Parsons.
"They are going to have to be a senior, pragmatic partner. Frankly, that person is probably not going to be a technologist, but a dinosaur - somebody with loads of credibility and respect."
With such a partner in place, Parsons believes, more accountability around the measurement of knowledge would be in place to better understand the return on investment that effective KM can offer.
Other roles to emerge could include usability and communications advisors, practice knowledge support offices, intranet managers and online learning and extranet production managers. Parsons said those roles could help provide effective connections to better manage the knowledge and processes emerging from multiple areas within the firm.
See next week's edition of Lawyers Weekly for a full round-up of the event
- Angela Priestley