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Law Practice Magazine


AI and KM: Two Great Tools That Work Great Together

Catherine Sanders Reach and Ben M Schorr


  • The Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Pyramid illustrates the progression from data to wisdom and highlights the role of knowledge in various aspects of legal practice, such as people, policy, precedent and procedure.
  • The article discusses the emerging role of generative AI in automating knowledge creation and management in law firms.
  • While many generative AI tools are still in testing phases, they have the potential to offer significant benefits for legal practice and clients in the future.
AI and KM: Two Great Tools That Work Great Together Lund Photography

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For many years the promise of knowledge management in law firms was poised to take off, but the technology and the results proved expensive, illusive or both. Effective knowledge management puts content at the fingertips of those who develop and provide your products and services. Knowledge management helps shorten development cycles for new initiatives, increases connectivity between internal and external teams and leverages the intellectual capital and assets in your office.

The Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Pyramid

Data is the raw material of information, which is the processed and organized form of data. Information is the basis of knowledge, which is the meaningful and contextualized interpretation of information. Knowledge is the source of wisdom, which is the highest level of understanding and insight derived from knowledge. The pyramid illustrates the value and complexity of each level, as well as the transformation process from one level to another.

What is the Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom (DIKW) Pyramid?

The DIKW Pyramid represents the relationships between data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Each building block is a step toward a higher level––first comes data, then is information, next is knowledge and finally comes wisdom. Each step answers different questions about the initial data and adds value to it. The more we enrich our data with meaning and context, the more knowledge and insights we get out of it so we can take better, informed and data-based decisions.

The Importance of Knowledge

Knowledge is useful for various aspects of legal practice, such as people, policy, precedent and procedure. People need knowledge to perform their roles effectively, efficiently and ethically. Policy needs knowledge to guide the goals, values and principles of the organization. Precedent needs knowledge to establish the authority, validity and relevance of past cases and decisions. Procedure needs knowledge to standardize the steps, methods and tools for delivering legal services.

The Need for Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the systematic process of creating, capturing, sharing and applying knowledge within an organization. Knowledge management can enhance the performance and productivity of law firms by facilitating onboarding, standard operating procedures, decision making and turnaround time. Knowledge management can also improve the quality and consistency of legal services by reducing errors, risks and costs.

In the past, the challenge in business was not enough information. Today we’ve got a deluge of information, and the challenge has become sifting through that information to find the value––the actionable information that becomes useful knowledge.

The Role of Generative Artificial Intelligence

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a type of AI that can produce new and original content, such as text, images, audio or video. Generative AI can help law firms achieve knowledge management by automating the creation and generation of knowledge assets, such as documents, contracts, policies, reports and more. Generative AI can also assist law firms in accessing and utilizing knowledge assets, such as answering questions, summarizing content, extracting insights and more.

Can you trust generative AI?

It’s often best to think of AI like you might a 1L law student intern. It’s at its best when you give it specific instructions and review its work. Just as you wouldn’t ask a 1L to write a brief then turn around and submit it to the court sight unseen, it’s important to always review the work generative AI creates for you. The AI can give you a great starting point, creating good initial drafts and working with you to review and revise the draft to a finished product. But it still needs your experienced eye to review and revise what the AI drafts.

This is especially true of any legal or technical facts in the document. There have been high-profile instances of lawyers having AI cite cases in briefs, only to have the AI cite completely fictional cases. This problem could have been avoided if the attorneys in question had simply read and fact-checked the documents the AI created, but they did not. And there were serious, probably career-altering, consequences for them.

Always review what the AI creates before you rely on it.

BETA Warning

Many of the generative AI products on the market are in BETA, pre-release, test, trial or other not-ready-for-prime-time mode. To that end, when you are testing these tools do not upload confidential, protected or sensitive information. Be aware that your content and your searches are likely stored, shared and evaluated. That said, it is certainly important to get a sense of how these tools can be beneficial to your practice and clients, so it is worthwhile to get a head start on understanding the functionality and implications.

It’s essential that you read and understand the privacy policies of the tools you’re using.

On the Market

Microsoft Copilot puts AI right inside the apps you’re already using––like Word, Teams, Outlook, OneNote, Excel and more. It can help you draft content, revise content, ask questions of your content, automatically generate meeting notes and even answer questions based on your emails, chats or documents.

Because it’s part of your Microsoft 365, any data like emails, chats or documents stored in your Microsoft 365 is already available to your Copilot and your data is kept private within your Microsoft 365 tenant. Importantly, Copilot respects your security settings, which means that your Copilot will only access information or documents that you have permission to see.

You can ask Copilot to draft an email to a client explaining what a statute of limitations is or ask it to recap a meeting you had yesterday and identify any action items or deadlines that were discussed. Copilot can help you create and organize a PowerPoint presentation or create an outline in OneNote.

Do you recall that a particular client was mentioned in a meeting the other day but can’t remember which meeting? Ask Copilot and it can look through all your meeting transcripts and identify where (and by whom!) the client was mentioned.

Microsoft Copilot Studio is included in Copilot for Microsoft 365 and brings together a set of powerful conversational capabilities—from custom GPTs, to generative AI plug-ins, to manual topics—allowing you to easily customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 with your own enterprise scenarios; build, test and publish; stand-alone copilots and custom GPTs; and manage and secure your customizations and stand-alone copilots with the right access, data, user controls and analytics. Copilot Studio is built on Microsoft Power Platform technologies including Power Virtual Agents and will cost $200 a month for up to 2000 sessions. There is a free trial for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Josef Q uses OpenAI to “transform policies and regulations into digital Q&A tools.” Josef is an Australian automation platform for lawyers. The initial concept with Josef Q is that corporate legal departments and HR can deliver instant answers about policies, compliance, privacy and other complex content. However, upon the release from BETA the use case has expanded to “unlock corporate knowledge with AI.” Josef Q integrates with products like Microsoft Teams, iManage, SharePoint and Slack.

Personal KM

Kaya is your “personal AI.” You can build and share an AI that learns for your notes, data and content. Suggested uses include delivering educational materials, content creation and building intelligent customer service agents.

To get started, you’ll create a free login, add your bio and add content. You can share your Kaya page with specific people or make it public. The free version includes only text notes, but the Pro version at $10 per month includes PDFs and audio files.

Want to test Kaya? Click on AI Chat on the left to ask a practice management question.

Similar “personal AI” tools include Google’s NoteBookLM and Bard extensions to search Google Drive and Gmail. NotebookLM is your “personalized AI collaborator.” You can add a Google Doc, PDF or copied text and ask questions to help explain, summarize, brainstorm and more. Bard lets you ask questions of Google tools. Ask your Gmail to summarize all conversations about a particular topic or find the last best deal on shoes you got.

Coming Up Next

Many of the submissions to this year’s Startup Alley and Pitch Competition at ABA TECHSHOW 2024 are focused on the intersection of knowledge management and generative AI.

Gretchen is AI-powered email drafting leveraging necessary information from client documents. It integrates with your email and your document management system and only provides the draft, so nothing goes out without your approval. It also learns your writing style to help reduce editing time and integrates with Gmail or Outlook.

Henchman is an AI contract drafting assistant that can use your firm’s data from an existing contract database such as Epona to your document management system, including iManage, NetDocuments, SharePoint, OneDrive and Google Drive. It integrates with Outlook and Word as well.

 LawDroid’s AI Legal Assistant Copilot drafts emails and letters, summarizes documents, researches legal issues and more. You can upload your own firm documents to leverage your work product.

Lupl is self-described as a tool to “effortlessly collaborate with your team and clients to manage tasks, deadlines, and knowledge to drive results.” Lupl integrates with multiple data repositories (iManage, NetDocs, SharePoint, DocuSign, etc.) to help create customizable template libraries. It also includes workstreams, new matter creation, task and matter management, and more.

Maxime Tools is a privately trained and deployed Large Language model to search and leverage the firm’s data and other resources such as GPT 4.0. A tagline on their website reads “ask questions as if asking your colleague.” There is a free version with 10 file uploads and 50 queries per month and a paid administrative level for organizational file uploads and analytics.

2ndChair AI is still very much under development, but the pitch for the ABA Startup Alley says “Our D-series product is the first GPT-style tool that can securely read, analyze, and discuss an attorney’s own client files, notes, and emails—and can provide precise links to key locations in those documents.”

AI tools for law firms are coming fast. Tools like Spellbook for contracts and documents, as well as new tools from LexisNexis, ThomsonReuters, Fastcase/Vlex and many more. PricewaterhouseCoopers will be giving 4,000 of its legal professionals access to an AI platform powered by AI startup Harvey for contract analysis, regulatory compliance, due diligence and more. There are many ways that AI-driven chatbots can expand virtual services, provide 24/7 availability to clients and help lawyers get work done.

AI tools allow you to ask questions of your own dataset across disparate products like SharePoint, Outlook, Salesforce, Dropbox and far more. You can upload specific content and let your team, or even clients, prompt for answers. Experience a rebooted approach to knowledge management that delivers on its promise without breaking the bank.