If you peruse the LAC Group blog, you’ll see many articles on the growing need for law firm librarians to demonstrate their value.
My colleague Ron Friedmann, a highly-respected expert in legal technology and knowledge management, recently presented on how law firm research and intelligence centers can contribute to firm profits. This was at an ARK (Applied Research & Knowledge) Group hosted conference, Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services. LAC Group was a sponsor.
Goals for law firm research and intelligence professionals
Like all accomplished speakers, Ron approached his talk with clear goals, which were to:
- Prompt research and intelligence professionals to think about ways they can align with firm strategy and boost firm profits.
- Systematically rank their options according to relative ease and value.
He also engaged his audience in a significant and meaningful way, asking attendees to rate nine actionable ideas based on two parameters: value to the firm and ease of initiating and implementing the idea, which included such things as enhancing cost recovery, support of digital offerings and centralizing the research function.
This had to fit the confines of a short period of time, but what a great launch pad. In the audience were over 100 “experts”—research and intelligence professionals adding value by sharing their working experiences and educated opinions.
The hardest and easiest actions to take
What was interesting about the results is that they were well-dispersed across the “ease” spectrum, from hardest (charge for work) to easiest (negotiate better contracts). But as for the value dimension, the audience ranked all nine ideas as high value. This, of course, brought several possibilities to my mind. That all of the ideas presented were indeed of high value is certainly possible. But so, too, is the likelihood that we are still coming to terms as a profession with the shifting concept of “value” in today’s volatile industry. The challenge of keeping up is very real!
I’m going to link to Ron’s summary of his presentation, including slides, on his own professional blog. But to summarize here, I’ll say that he ended with this takeaway for the audience: don’t do anything until you develop a systematic plan and have a clear strategy. As the firms and institutions we serve seek to develop and refine their own strategic advantages, we find ourselves uniquely positioned to help show them the way.
Contact us to discuss your firm’s information goals and challenges.