Case study: Knowledge management at Slaughter & May

By Sooraj Shah
15 Nov 2012 View Comments

Law firm Slaughter & May has selected information management provider Recommind's knowledge management search solution to replace its "flaky" Hummingbird document and knowledge management platform.

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The firm had been using information management vendor Hummingbird's platform for at least eight years but found that it was no longer meeting the needs of its lawyers as it was not enabling them to efficiently find the information they needed.

The company's project leader, Helen Geoghegan, told Computing that this was because the platform had become heavily customised.

"We had customised the platform so heavily that the actual application that we have in place doesn't resemble the underlying product, so any future development would have been extensive and more drawn out," she said.

Slaughter & May's (S&M) head of technology, Christopher Martin, added that the tool was not performing to the standards that the law firm expected.

"It wasn't a browser-based system. It wasn't at the level we wanted, was flaky and we weren't clear where the product was going. Depending on what you were searching for you had to search for completely different material, so different taxonomies for different sorts of items, which made it hard to use," he told Computing.

The firm went to the market to look for alternatives in early 2010 after identifying the key requirements.

Martin said that S&M consulted other law firms who had also switched to Recommind's system.

"We talked to other law firms and took references from them because it just underwrote the confidence that we've got from our experience, that Recommind was able to solve these specific problems that we had," Martin said.

Some of the other law firms using the technology include Clifford Chance, Eversheds, Macfarlanes and Stephenson Harwood.

The firm then sent out a tender and eventually selected two options before deciding on Recommind in September 2010. Martin put this down to the firm's ability to understand what S&M was trying to achieve in the given time frame.

After implementing Windows 7 with IE8, S&M then went through development and configuration work on the Recommind system followed by a pilot in early 2011.

According to Martin, the solution was launched on schedule and on budget in November 2011.

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