law library management

Once Again We Must Ask –What business are we in?

Over the years when speaking to library and knowledge management audiences, I have often invoked the importance of knowing what business we are in.

,I became a librarian because “I loved books.” Yet on the day when I started my first law library job, a hulking piece of equipment was rolled through the door of the Pace University Law  Library. This was an omen, like a comet across the night sky, my career path would pivot in unforeseeable directions. The Lexis DeLuxe research terminal was the size of a washing machine, and it connected to Mead Data Central computers in Ohio via a dial-up modem. This “state of the art” equipment provided access to Ohio statutes and cases. Within 10 years the Lexis and Westlaw WALT terminals would shrink, the World Wide Web would be born and the stacks of books would be compressed into bits of data accessible on everyone’s desktop.

I love the “Black & Decker marketing strategy that recognized that their customers “don’t want a drill they want a half-inch hole in a board.” And librarians who thought lawyers and law firm administrators only needed books became flotsam in a surging tide of technology. Librarians and knowledge managers need to be aligned with what lawyers really need and  that they have the unique expertise to deliver: information that gives them a competitive edge, new clients, happy clients, predictive and  actionable insights , efficient workflow, and tools that make their lives easier. (Read the full post at Legal Tech Hub)

Seizing the Technology of the DayContinue Reading AI and the Future of Law Libraries : Opportunity or Armageddon

HBR Consulting  just released the 2020 Benchmarking + Legal Information Services Survey (BLISS). The innovative and interactive delivery format is at least as interesting as the content. The survey focused on the core metrics such as staffing, budgets, and resources but also covered hot topics such as innovation and COVID-19 impact. The survey was undertaken during June and July 2020, three months after most law firms were two months into mandatory work from home. That enabled the  survey designers to capture some insights into how law firms were adapting legal research and knowledge services in response to the pandemic.

I asked Colleen Cable, director at HBR Consulting, to provide some insight into HBR’s goal in creating the survey. According to Cable “HBR recognized that there was a need for law firm library benchmarking data that could be utilized to support decision-making within the firm. This type of benchmarking, available by Am Law segment, is not offered anywhere else in the market, so HBR stepped in and BLISS was born.” One of the things I noticed immediately is that this report captured attorney staff ratios. This has been an elusive “holy grail” of library benchmarks that I have been begging for over the many years I have
Continue Reading HBR Releases Interactive Library Benchmarking Survey with COVID Insights

We all knew that law libraries were shrinking. No one suspected that they would be totally “done in” by a virus. Law libraries have been “going digital” for at least 20 years, but few firms tossed out their last “pocket part” update. But as firms plan their post-pandemic re-openings, retaining a collection of shared books is frankly a biohazard. Should librarians develop systems for sanitizing and quarantining books? In today’s digital world -– is it even worth the trouble? 

Does anyone really want to take on the backlog of updating books that are nine months out of date next January when lawyers begin returning to offices?

For the past two decades, many law librarians have been assessing products and developing in-house solutions to support virtual library resources.  

There is no universal solution. The law firms which have the foresight to invest in strategic information professionals are most likely  to have had substantial digital libraries in place last March when COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt. Many firms are running parallel digital and print libraries because they are supporting both the last of the “baby boomer partners” and the “born digital” generation of lawyers. COVID-19 has been an unprecedented tipping point which exposes the importance of completing or starting a digital library transition plan.  

  12 Building Blocks Of A Digital Library  

Continue Reading 12 Tips For Building Your Digital Law Library In The Age Of COVID-19

One of the few silver linings of the 2008 financial crisis was that many lawyers were shocked into budget consciousness. Seemingly overnight, lawyers became willing to reassess old assumptions. Maybe they could live without personal copies of treatises. Maybe they would try online resources that they had resisted. The crisis has passed but the changed legal market place remains. Law firms that want to invest in new technologies must subsidize those investments with lean budget practices that continuously reassess all ongoing costs. No product is a “slam dunk” for annual renewal in 2019 without some “due diligence.”

Here are some tips to help your “harvest” saving which can be reinvested in “nextgen” resources.

Focus on ROI. Products such as Research Monitor and Onelog can provide invaluable insights into the number of lawyers who actually use web-based products.  Products are often maintained based on 
Continue Reading It’s Budget Time! 12 Timely Tips to Help Manage Law Firm Costs

Legal organizations spend an estimated $3 billion dollars on technology according to a recent study by Mitretech
Catching the Wave: :Legal Technology Spend at $3 Billion and growing. Driving product adoption remains a challenge across law firms of every size.

Clients demand that law firms focus on knowledge management, analytics and legal project management and there is a burgeoning market of new products to address these needs. An email blast or an offer a free Danish and bagels no longer motivates lawyers to leave their offices and sit through a demo. Product deployment alone does not assure adoption and a return on investment. In order to optimize the adoption of products there are multiple strategies which can be used to drive the adoption and aid in the determination of ROI.

Eliminating the Obstacles to Adoption This step is often overlooked. It is important to recognize at the outset that policies and the technology itself can create obstacles to adoption. Obstacles to adoption include: imposing client charges of use;
Continue Reading Best Practices to Drive Lawyer Adoption of Technology

It seems like only yesterday that Joan Axelroth and I were Co-Chairs of the 2012 PLL Summit themed as “The Road to 2020.”   That year’s Keynote Speaker was Jordan Furlong, a leading legal industry consultant who inspired the audience with a talk entitled  “Climbing the Value Ladder. Rethinking the Law Library on the Road to 2020” 

Keynote: Jordan Furlong

Furlong is back and this years Summit theme is “The Road to 2030.”  In retrospect, many of Furlong’s predictions about the transformation of libraries and the morphing of librarians into a wide spectrum of knowledge and technology roles have materialized. I am looking forward to another inspiring Furlong road map suggesting how we should respond to the changes ahead.

The keynote will highlight how the growing power and sophistication of legal intelligence will dovetail with and help to accelerate the transformation of law firms’ client services and business models. Furlong will describe how law librarians, knowledge engineers, and data analysts will play
Continue Reading Registration Closing for PLLIP Summit: The Road to 2030 with Jordon Furlong Keynote and Design Thinking Workshop

Please mark your calendar for a Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) Webinar from the Education and Professional Development Committee:

Feb 6, 2019 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST

Start It or Stop It? Jump Starting Initiatives and Innovation in 2019

Description:

Listen in on a lively conversation that will help you jump start