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No excuses: Know the law

Let us consider the reason of the case. For nothing is law that is not reason. --Sir John Powell: Coggs vs. Bernard

And what better place to store all that reason than in a knowledge asset management system. At least, so reasoned the commercial law firm Rowe & Maw, which is headquartered in London. The international firm is launching a new knowledge management system, called KnowMaw, on a practicewide basis.

The solution--which will help manage the firm's legal content and knowledge assets and deliver information through a portal--results from a pilot project this summer involving 50 of the firm's partners, associates and secretaries. Developed in conjunction with U.K. legalsystems integrator Tikit, the system is based on Hummingbird Enterprise Portal Suite.

Using standard Web browser technology, KnowMaw will enable the lawyers to search simultaneously across a range of different information sources for a specific item. Those sources include Rowe & Maw's group databanks, precedents and professional practice notes, in-house publications, library index, intranet, marketing and skills database, plus employee e-mail and Microsoft Outlook folders.

Other system features include full-text searching, hyperlinks from KnowMaw to the firm's intranet and web site, and the use of push technology to automatically send e-mail updates to individuals when new material matching their search criteria is located.

"This solution enables [partners and associates] to search and access both internally generated material and external information from a single search screen, rather than having to search each information source separately," says Stephen Gare, Rowe & Maw partner. "We are continuing to work to develop real-time brokerage searching of legal web sites."

Rowe & Maw, with 80 partners and a total staff of more than 500, also has offices in Manchester, England, and Brussels.

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