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WINNER: A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody wins this award for what the judges called: “A really attractive client-facing integrated service with step-through inclusive project management sponsored at the highest level.” Feedback from A&L Goodbody’s in-house clients and from general counsel (GC) attending its events convinced it there was a need for enhanced value-added services tailored specifically for clients. The firm already had two separate online knowledge extranets aimed at its in-house client group, the ExtraLaw knowledge extranet for in-house clients and the GC e-Forum, a sister product to its GC Forum events. Given that there was also crossover between the audiences for the two services, it made sense to combine the content within one portal.

The team also took the opportunity to build and launch rebranded service the A&L Goodbody Knowledge Centre and to integrate the reporting and management side of the firm’s online e-learning system with the site. In short, this is similar to a mini-PLC for the Irish jurisdiction insofar as it provides clients with access to practice notes, FAQs and checklists on practical legal issues. It also gives clients online access to CPD-eligible e-learning talks. As the firm pointed out: “In our experience the best way for a knowledge team in a law firm to achieve success with clients is by allowing [them] to have direct access to clients. Our partner group are now comfortable with encouraging and facilitating access of the knowledge team to clients.”

The majority of A&L Goodbody’s in-house clients have registered to use the online client knowledge centre. It is also worth noting that the ability to receive online CPD through this system was particularly well received, with usage of the centre peaking before the end-of-year CPD deadline.

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2ND: Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing launched internally developed tool Business Intelligence in August 2012. The driver was to deliver enhanced financial reporting to support the allocation of resources to the firm’s clients, target industry sectors and areas of geographical interest globally. Effectively, the firm used what had previously been seen as a compliance/risk-management process to collect value-added information about its clients and the work it handles for them. With Business Intelligence, the analysis of data obtained from the inception process includes the legal practice area, work type, client corporate structure, industry classification and referral source. The information is centralised in Taylor Wessing’s accounting system and pushed on to its client relationship management and document management systems, enabling the firm to provide a number of outputs to assist developing its business and increasing the efficiency with which internal financial information can be analysed as a basis for business decision-making.

3RD: Hogan Lovells and Wragge & Co

The judges found it impossible to separate the knowledge management (KM) efforts of Hogan Lovells and Wragge & Co, awarding them joint third place. Hogan Lovells is recognised for its HL Global Consolidation project, which brought together the content from two legacy intranet sites to form one global intranet platform, HL Global. This was the first back office system to become available to all Hogan Lovells staff globally and led to efficiency and cost savings from a technology perspective as well as content maintenance perspective. Meanwhile, Wragge & Co carried out a transformational root-and-branch review of its KM strategy over the past 12 months, with the focus on ensuring that knowledge was as accessible as possible. In an independent client satisfaction survey, Wragge's performance in this area showed great improvement. Indeed, the firm was ranked above the magic circle as one of the top firms in terms of KM.