Legal Solutions | Thomson Reuters

Kathleen Hogan
Knowledge Integration,
at McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Unlocking the power of
knowledge integration

Kathleen Hogan is no stranger to challenges, but she welcomes them with open arms both at work and home. Just recently, she took up skiing with the ultimate goal of keeping up with her two children. Now she's tackling different slopes as director of Knowledge Integration at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Canada's leading business law and litigation firm. Since she began in January 2017, knowledge management (rebranded to Knowledge Integration) has leveled up thanks to her leadership and her tool of choice: Thomson Reuters Practical Law.

Hogan is a self-proclaimed early adopter of technology. For instance, she was one of the first in legal knowledge management to jump onto Twitter® and sing its praises. She's a big risk-taker in her personal and professional lives and is comfortable with change, having moved from a national firm to a private group of manufacturing companies and from there to directing legal knowledge management at a global bank – pursuing her career goals no matter where they take her.

Now empowered with a new technological solution, she's taking her firm to new heights.


Deriving meaning from a mountain of knowledge

My challenge is how to manage and mobilize all forms of knowledge assets at the firm. The goal is to aggregate precedents, proposals, RFPs ... in other words, managing everything to connect the dots and derive knowledge from these pieces. That way, our teams have better, more contextualized access to everything they need.

Hand in hand with that goal is the question: How can we become better service providers directly to our clients? How can we help them with their day-to-day problems in addition to the broader objective at hand?

The key for us to achieve all of the above? A new legal and business intelligence system: Practical Law.

Connecting the dots for greater awareness

I connect with every group across the firm to get Practical Law operationalized.

Much of my job entails "social knowledge mapping." I track what exists internally by asking where the firm experts keep their own knowledge assets. If there's an employee who is an expert on leasing, I talk with him. Then we map the existing assets for that specialty, noting: What is it that we have right now? What are the gaps? Who else might have good knowledge assets? In essence, we're taking inventory of the different assets we have so they're up to date and usable for our lawyers' needs.

Now, we've added Practical Law to that asset mix and have a new, expanded map of resources across the firm.


Understanding the utility of our assets

Reviving our knowledge systems has been a fruitful experience. In the past, lawyers searched for precedents, asked colleagues, and reviewed closed files to find something to leverage.

But now, there's a greater knowledge of what we have. We've gained efficiencies and shortcuts in our work and have confidence that our internal content is either up to date or flagged as a "legacy" asset.

Also, we know how we're using these assets – how often we download an asset each month, and how many views it receives. I collect and report metrics for usability, e.g., has a certain document been used twice or 100 times? Being able to report numbers like these paints a picture for our leaders.

We also look at Practical Law metrics every month – which modules are used most? How many document downloads? Who are our power users? This data, over time, reveals trends we can interpret and use to re-up on client service.

Looking forward: Continuing to hone technology use

One of the best ways to demonstrate our leadership in the legal arena is innovation. It's important to rethink how we deliver service to our clients, and often that means taking a look at ourselves and even changing our infrastructure. We have to become adept at working within the cloud, managing our files digitally, and last but certainly not least, automation. I'm proud to say we've started rising to the challenge.

Once upon a time, sending emails back and forth was a groundbreaking process. Since then, technology has skyrocketed. We have to evaluate processes so they're quicker and more efficient – in short, providing better service to our clients. They're becoming increasingly sophisticated too as they adopt new methods of working, including cloud technology. The question is always about how we move to the next level.

Now that we've embarked on a more organized future with Practical Law, we'll look at the current resources that our lawyers have and gauge: Is everything up to date? Where are the new products that might be useful? In a five-year time period, how do we build on that? How do we become a more technology-enabled service provider to our clients – and better collaborate with them?

We've laid the groundwork with Practical Law, thanks to the insight, resourcing, and flexibility that it offers. We will only continue to glean meaning from our processes and metrics and refine how we work.

Trusted answer

Forward-thinking firms are going digital, embracing the power of automation, and developing relationships with strategic partners like Thomson Reuters. For Kathleen Hogan and her team, automation allows their lawyers to deliver outstanding legal service, develop careers, and contribute to the firm's overall profitability. They're continuing to refine their systems and launch the firm into the future.

Thomson Reuters Practical Law is legal know-how that goes beyond primary law and traditional legal research to give lawyers a better starting point. We provide standard documents, checklists, legal updates, how-to guides, and more – created and continuously maintained by our expert lawyer-editors.

Confidence comes from trusted answers

Thomson Reuters Practical Law Canada is legal know-how that goes beyond primary law and traditional legal research to give lawyers a better starting point. We provide standard documents, checklists, legal updates, how-to guides, and more.

Thomson Reuters WestlawNext Canada incorporates 150 years of proprietary analysis of the law with Canada's most advanced legal search engine to deliver the best results, faster and with more confidence than ever before.

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