Michael Idinopulos provides some insight into the challenges of introducing social software (roughly meaning wikis in this context) into law firms. He notes that most firms start slowly and gently, by encouraging lawyers to wikify “know-how”.
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.”
A more effective place to introduce social software into law firms is at the most concrete level, with client-specific collaboration. We’ve seen this take a number of forms. One firm we’ve worked with is collaborating with co-counsel on a major piece of anti-trust litigation. Another is using social software to create information hubs for their largest and most strategic corporate clients. Still another is using social software to power lightweight virtual deal rooms which are more user-friendly than the virtual deal rooms retrofitted on top of their document management system.