Mark Gerow, Director of Applications Development at Fenwick & West, recently wrote an article for Legal Technology News discussing how internal Microsoft Office SharePoint wikis can offer legal professionals control and structure as well as the benefits of open collaboration.
While it may seem that the organic nature of wikis runs counter to traditional information hierarchies of law firms, Gerow explains how law firms can capture the benefits of wikis while maintaining structure and quality. SharePoint provides several methods for authorship control and review support, including options for security, content approval, change highlighting, and alerts. It also offers a range of options for monitoring structure within a wiki, and has controls that limit the ability of users to create new pages or edit existing pages.
Collaborative authorship can efficiently produce high quality reference materials. The adoption and use of wikis within law firms depends on how quickly legal professionals embrace this belief, as well as how effectively technical professionals implement the tools for control and organization of the authorship process that lawyers demand.