Exploiting Web 2.0 - Legal IT Session

Well it has been a long time coming but I've finally managed to find some time to sit down and write up my thoughts from the "Exploiting Web 2.0" session I co-presented on at the Legal IT Conference with Damien Behan of Brodies and Cora Newell. The first thing to say is that this Conference could have been cancelled if it had taken place a day or two earlier occuring as it did in the week the UK experienced the worst snow in 20 years.

So fittingly the first parallel that I drew between Web 2.0 and "real life" was the snow that covered most of the UK during the week of the conference. According to a BBC News report I watched on the day of the Session the BBC received 35000 snow related pictures or texts this compares to 15000 pictures or texts they had received in relation to the Buncefield fire. This in my mind is one of the key elements of Web 2.0 individuals collaborating, commenting and becoming publishers in their own right. The problem is how do we take this concept and make it happen within a Law Firm?

One of the first items my co-presenter Damien Behan discussed was what Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 actually meant when applied to an organisation. Damien explained that Enterprise 2.0 isn't just about using Web 2.0 applications within an Enterprise. Enterprise 2.0 is about using these tools as part of well established business processes to improve workflow and productivity. It is in these circumstances that these tools work most effectively.

The discussion then moved on to what people were doing within Law Firms with Web 2.0.There were some interesting examples (although most of them came from the panel) which included teams using Wikis exclusively to collaborate, Blogs for communicating with clients and using Delicious to share bookmarks within teams. After this there was some discussion around the benefits associated with using Web 2.0 tools. As I've said many times in the past using Web 2.0 tools is fine but there has to be a reason for using them. Just because they are cool and everybody is using them isn't a good enough reason for Law Firms to be using them.

One of the most interesting discussion was around Frolleagues these are colleagues that are Friends and whether having your line manager as a friend on a Social Bookmarking site is appropriate. Interestingly feelings are divided on this subject with many people not prepared to offer work colleagues an insight into their life if they don't socialise with them and some people happy to be friends with their colleagues. I'm sitting on the fence slightly on this subject as I do have some of my colleagues including my line manager as a "friend". The issue of frolleagues is something people need to consider very carefully. Now I would ask myself what value is there in having my boss or my line manager as a friend on Facebook or LinkedIn? what would happen if you were made redundant?

This was a really interesting session which I enjoyed very much and would love to present on again. I would happily do so with both Damien and Cora who had much to save on this very interesting and exciting subject.