BLAKE DAWSON Waldron (BDW) is trialling the use of a wiki in the intellectual property, communications and technology (IPCT) group.
Essentially the wiki is an information-sharing platform that sits on the firm’s internal network and everyone within the IPCT group has access to it and can add and edit information that they think may be of interest or relevant to their colleagues.
Renee La Vincente, expertise manager at BDW said the IPCT group’s lawyers had a good understanding of the technology and came up with the idea which then received the support of partners, the expertise group and the IT director.
“[We are using it] as a collaborative base for the practice group to share information and we use it for everything from informal knowledge sharing all the way through to precedent development,” she said.
Ishtiaque Omar was one of the lawyers in the ICPT group who advocated for the wiki.
“It started out as a conversation between the lawyers of our group when we were talking about Web 2.0 technology generally, the tools that were out there and the tools that we might want to explore a bit more. One thing that came up again and again was wiki technology and that seemed to be the best fit in terms of a tool that was out there that allowed us to do something really innovative with it that isn’t being done at the moment,” Omar said.
The firm has been trialling the wiki for approximately three weeks and plans to roll out similar wikis to other groups once they have had a chance to review and improve upon the initial model.
“Now we’ve got some content on it we understand the ways people are using it and want to use it a bit better and we are thinking about adding a bit more structure to how the space looks to users. That still is going to leave a lot of room for people to add what they want to the wiki. But it will take on a permanent kind of structure so you know what it will look like from day to day. It’s going to continue to be very much open to all sorts of contributions,” Omar said.
Although the wiki is relatively new, La Vincente said the IPCT group was already seeing benefits.
“On a day-to-day basis the practice group are finding the wiki is fantastic. I log on everyday and there is more information in there and it’s structured in a way that’s just so user-friendly and easily searchable for the junior lawyers. It’s such a fantastic tool for them — to put all that information that is captured generally in people’s minds, but which there hasn’t traditionally been a way in which to record that information in a place where everyone can easily access it.
“It’s certainly giving them that opportunity to quickly and easily access information which will bring them up-to-speed with what is going on in their practice group, what areas of law are changing, current awareness, all aspects of their life as a practicing lawyers,” she said.