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Season 1, Episode 9

Thao Tran on crowdsourcing ideas, the importance of mentorship, and embracing the KM role 

In this penultimate episode of season one, I speak with the fantastic Thao Tran. Thao is the Knowledge Manager at the international firm Fried Frank. She’s based in New York, and is also the Member Liaison for ILTA in NYC.

Thao has a unusual route into knowledge management, and in exploring how she got there, we learn ways that can help break into a new role, crowdsource ideas and separate the signal from the noise.

At the end of the episode, I was left with a few pages of notes (and Thao even suggested a job for me after I retire!).



Some of the items we cover in the episode include:

  • Thao’s journey into knowledge management driven by work-life balance, and a nudge from a partner → 2.50
  • Thinking through the expansion of the KM function from just one practice area to various → 5.00
  • Importance of mentorship and sponsorship (and the differences between the two at a law firm) → 6.00
  • Why casting a “wider net” when searching for mentors is so importance, and how it helped shape Thao’s career → 8.00
  • A primer on knowledge management, what does it mean to Thao and to law firms → 16.24
  • Being that bridge between lawyers, technology and management → 19.48
  • How to discover where the inefficiencies are, and the benefits of starting small → 25.18
  • Separating the signal from the noise, and having a genuine desire to learn from each conversation → 31.01
  • What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2019 → 36.30

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If you have questions, comments, or feedback then please tweet to me @WhoIsAbS with #FringeLegal or email me on


    Special guest: Thao Tran

    Thao Tran is the Knowledge Management, Manager for Fried Frank’s Corporate Department, resident in New York.

    Ms. Tran focuses on knowledge management via technology, process management and improvement, and reducing daily pain points for her attorneys by building fully searchable and integrated databases, vetting legal tech/tools, training, and other facets of KM.

    Prior to her work as a KM manager, Ms. Tran practiced as a leveraged finance attorney for seven years at Fried Frank.

    Ms. Tran received her JD from The University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law and her BS from The University of California, Los Angeles.

    Connect with Thao on LinkedIn.

    Host: abhijat saraswat

    Abhijat (“Ab”) Saraswat is a non-practicing Barrister, and holds a BSc. in Forensic Science and Neuroscience from the University of Keele.

    Ab is the host of the Fringe Legal podcast. In addition, Ab works as the Director of International Business at Litera Microsystems helping some of the world’s largest and most prestigious law firms with their technology needs. His work focuses on helping lawyers to create & deliver higher quality legal services, faster.


    Connect with Ab on Twitter or LinkedIn, or contact here.