Social software adoption...why law firms get it wrong!

A great post here from the Transparent Office blog on why the adoption of Social Software within Law Firms so often goes wrong. From the blog post;

"Social software can deliver 3 main patterns of use and value to firms:

  • At the most abstract level, there is general legal know-how: how to be an effective lawyer, how to serve clients, etc.
  • At a mid-level of abstraction, there is practice-specific legal know-how: deal templates, legal opinions and perspectives, standard processes for due diligence, strategic perspectives on client industries and/or functional topics
  • At the most concrete level, there is client-specific collaboration: collaborating within legal teams (internally, with clients, or with co-counsel) on specific projects and deliverables"

So where do most Law Firms start when it comes to Social Software? Unfortunately most firms start with "general legal know-how", which as the author describes is the worst place to start;

"From an adoption standpoint, however, general know-how is usually a bad place to start. Lawyers are incredibly busy, and general know-how lies squarely above-the-flow of their daily work. Because lawyers lack incentives to contribute their knowledge to the rest of the firm, invitations to participate in social software implementations are often greeted with a polite "Thanks but no thanks"

So where should Law Firms start, well according to the author it should be with "client specific collaboration". For most people this might seem a weird approach to take, rollout a social software to an external client before our internal teams, but to me it makes sense, but why? "Collaboration use cases appeal to the self-interest of the firm's partners. Partners are inundated with emails containing document iterations. Reconstructing a document's history from email threads is much more difficult than going to a single place where the history is laid it for you. Once partners see the value, associates and paralegals are easy converts"

What do other people think though?