Heads of Knowledge Q&A (5) Simone Pearlman

For our fifth interview with a Head of Knowledge I’m delighted to introduce Simone Pearlman, Head of Legal Knowledge at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.


  1. How did you end up as Head of Knowledge? Was there a key factor/turning point simonepearlmanbwphotoin your ending up in this role?

I was a litigation associate, then a litigation PSL in the firm for many years. I was seconded into the central knowledge team for an initial period of six months, which turned into six years and when my predecessor moved into a different role in the firm, I became Head of Legal Knowledge.

  1. What job did you envision having when you were young?

I wanted to be a teacher for many years. Then as a teenager I went to the Old Bailey to watch a criminal case from the public gallery and decided I wanted to be a criminal lawyer. Work experience in a criminal law practice put me off that idea and after studying law at university, I applied to City law firms with a view to being a civil litigator (which is what I did for some years before moving into a PSL role).

  1. If you could have any job in the world, with no limitations (salary, location, hours etc) what would you do?

I would work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds helping them to be ambitious and follow their career dreams.

  1. Describe your organisation in three words.

World Class, Expert, Diverse.

  1. What is the hardest thing about your role?

Finding enough time in the day to achieve everything I want to achieve.

  1. What is the best thing about your role?

Running and overseeing an excellent, driven, innovative PSL team across our global network.

  1. What is the biggest change that you’ve witnessed during your career in Knowledge?

Improved technology which covers all areas of our lives, at work and at home.

  1. What three things are you focusing on for the next three years?

Technology, Innovation, People.

  1. What do you think is the most exciting new development coming in Knowledge work/KM?

Artificial intelligence as well as other new technological innovations.

  1. What advice do you have for aspiring Heads of Knowledge?

Get out there, stretch yourself, try new things and take up as many of the opportunities you are offered that you can. Be aligned to the business and be strategic.


Thanks Simone, really good to hear from you and lovely to hear from another ex-civil litigator. You are quite right to urge those in the field to “stretch yourself, try new things”. In the right firm, it’s a great time to be a law firm KMer – so many opportunities for innovative thought and action.

To make sure you don’t miss the next Head of Knowledge Q&A, don’t forget to follow the blog (button top right) or sign up for the busy-person’s monthly summary.

And if you are a Head of Knowledge somewhere, join in the interview series. It doesn’t take much time and it is so interesting to read everyone’s stories.

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About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
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