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Creating an Effective Enterprise Search

December 17, 2008

Mark Gerow, Director of Applications Development at Fenwick & West, recently wrote an article for Legal Technology News that offers helpful advice for law firms that wish to make effective use of search engine technologies. The article focuses on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server technologies, which are common to other enterprise search platforms such as Google, OpenText and Visimo. Gerow shares the lessons he has learned about search technology, and how he has successfully applied these techniques to make Fenwick & West's enterprise search a useful tool for the firm.

Those who wish to implement search technologies should recognize that each end-user may have a different idea about what constitutes a "good" search system. Ideas may also vary depending on the search context. For example, searching for colleagues may require different techniques than searching for legal documents or client matters. Security issues must also be addressed, and users will want to be assured that others will not be able to search and access their secured documents. Clear communication with legal professionals and firm employees prior to the launch of the search enterprise may alleviate these concerns.

Enterprise search may involve an initial learning curve for the technology professionals who implement it, as well as for the legal professionals and other end users. In the long run, it has the potential to increase attorney effectiveness, which ultimately enhances client services.