“During last year's Energy Law Institute, Christian E. Liipfert, Managing Attorney, Special Projects and Transactions, at BP America Inc., presented a paper on “Knowledge Management within a Multi-location, Multi-discipline Legal Function.” As in-house counsel, Mr. Liipfert knows all too well the problems inherent in managing knowledge among lawyers within a multinational corporation like BP.
One of Liipfert's most important points is the importance of not only making mistakes, but also sharing mistakes with colleagues. Knowledge sharing is successful when partners point out the “mistakes” of inexperienced associates. Difficulty arises, however, when a partnership hires lateral partners. In this situation, a newly hired lateral partner will be less receptive to hearing an existing partner point out his mistakes.
But Liipfert correctly notes: “Lawyers . . . do not normally point out where they have made a mistake, or even admit that they would do something differently the next time. A major source of the value of a knowledge management system is admitting your own mistakes and leveraging not only your own mistakes but also the mistakes of others.” [via excited utterances] more here, including an E-mail address for Mr. Liipfert if you want a full copy of the article.
Good stuff. And so, so true. Thanks Joy!
I wish that this would get published in the ABA Journal. The blogosphere is an echo-chamber for this sort of important information about KM. Stuff like this needs to reach a much wider audience. [Ernie the Attorney]