Help! I Need Somebody – Help! Not Just Anybody…
Though John Lennon wrote those words in 1965, they could apply to today’s overworked legal library directors searching for reliable research support when they need it. Not just anybody can step in to provide short- or long-term interim support when so much is riding on accurate and thorough legal research.
Circumstances that require research support
Law firm library directors frequently encounter situations when they need substitute or peak workload support to keep research requests on track. Common situations include:
Headcount restrictions – When adding support staff is out of the question, as it is of late in most law firms, you may have room in the budget for a contingent worker. Many firms will approve temporary librarians before taking on a new hire that carries extra benefit costs and commitment.
Leaves of absence – Whether a researcher or other library staff is on vacation, family leave or medical leave, their absence means aspects of their job might get pushed onto others or simply won’t get done. While most libraries can cover a team member’s vacation, longer periods of absence often cause extra burdens and stress.
Employee separation – Back-filling a highly-qualified researcher who leaves the firm can be difficult to accomplish as quickly as you need. Here again, a contingent worker might be a good solution until a permanent hire can occur, or even a longer-term solution if the budget prevents backfilling altogether.
Peak workload – Many firms have times when the workload becomes heavier than usual, such as when a new client retains the firm, or a big case reaches a critical point. In these situations, there’s no time to train someone—you need researchers who can hit the ground running with minimal hand-holding.
Expanded hours of service – Adding hours of research coverage usually requires either additional headcount or paying overtime. Qualified contingent solutions can fit the bill for extended coverage. The responsibility for overtime pay and other considerations falls on the service provider, giving you greater flexibility to add research support for offices across time zones or beyond normal business hours.
In any of these situations, library directors need a reliable source for temporary, permanent or temp-to-hire professionals with specific skills, such as research methodologies, subject matter knowledge and proficiency with associated technologies. Apart from minimal orientation and direction on assignments, you can’t afford the time to do extensive training; you need somebody who can be productive from day one.
Options for getting reliable legal research help
Time is always the enemy when it comes to staffing shortages—not only do you need research support, but it’s another time-consuming task to find help, and then often you need additional time for onboarding and training. But there are ways to get the help you need, when you need it, with a minimal amount of effort and virtually no disruption.
Virtual research services
Get help on a regular basis or extra support during crunch times by submitting research requests to LAC’s Research Management System. Once you’re set-up, you’ll get secure, immediate access to expert resources, along with access to a wide range of other library services.
Onsite staff augmentation
If you need an expert onsite, LAC Group can provide a qualified researcher or other librarians with advanced training and education. Virtually all of the people we work with hold MLIS and equivalent degrees. Filling positions is hard work, especially when the talent pool gets shallow, but our LibGig recruiting division specializes in LIS candidates, with ongoing identification and vetting through an online job board, social media and other outreach.
Legal library staff recruiting
If you prefer permanent staff, LAC works with you to find the right team member for your needs and environment. Filling positions is hard work, especially when the talent pool gets shallow. Our LibGig division, which specializes in LIS candidates, is focused on recruiting as an ongoing process, with identification and vetting through an online job board, social media and other outreach.
When you’re ready to cry out, “Help! I need somebody,” remember LAC Group’s comprehensive library and information management services. You’ll get the right somebody for your library staffing and research needs.
Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.