Jul 19

Innovative Forward Thinking Indispensable to Your Organization – You Just May Be A Linchpin Librarian

By Monice Kaczorowski | AALL , Librarians

How exactly are you viewed in your organization? Are you seen as the gatekeeper of knowledge or guardian of books? The image of the stereotypical librarian is ingrained in our society. In movies and the media, the librarian is often portrayed as the figure that makes patrons tremble in fear with their disciplinarian approach of keeping people quiet while maintaining order in their domain. Those perceptions die hard. On the final day of the AALL Conference, two programs took a serious look at this issue and provided insight on what must be done to dispel the stereotypes if we are to thrive in our organizations and as a profession.

At an organizational level, “The Linchpin Librarian: Becoming an Indispensable and Integrated Resource in Your Organization” summed it up nicely: See a need, fill a need. Librarians have relevant skill sets to help their organizations. We are organizers and planners. We know how to analyze data and recognize relevant patterns. We are front facing, customer service oriented with good communication skills. So instead of guardians of books, let’s become information brokers. Whether embedded in a practice group to support an attorney team or partnering with client development to support business development and increase revenue streams, we need to assume the linchpin mindset. High level collaboration and interdepartmental support will break down librarian stereotypes as we work on building relationships within our organizations. Step outside your comfort zone. Give change a try and while it may seem uncomfortable at first you can flourish as an indispensable resource within your organization.

Taking this mantra even further, one of the initiatives of the Private Law Librarian & Information Professional (PLLIP) Special Interest Section was to establish the Elevation Task Force as a means to further the profession. During the program entitled: “Elevate! Lifting an Innovative Profession into the Light”, the panel discussed their plans to identify forward thinking innovative standards that will give the stakeholders in our organizations a better understanding of our value and capabilities. This group wants to focus on how the law librarian is portrayed in the media, and create a tool kit to manage the law librarian professional image. They are working to dispel negative and outdated perceptions that pigeon hole us as mere researchers diminishing our vast array of talents and making us targets of outsourcing.

We need to take a hard look at our future, be proactive in thought and action, and demonstrate to the C-Suite that we are willing and capable of sharing a seat at the table. Embracing change will greatly diminish our chances of being left behind.

Follow Monice’s AALL insights on Feit Consulting’s LinkedIn page here.

Jul 18

Helping Our Librarian Clients To Forgo The Status Quo

By Monice Kaczorowski | AALL , Librarians

The theme of this year’s 110th AALL Annual Meeting and Conference Forgo the Status Quo strikes a chord with what we are hearing from clients in the legal market. We are seeing a paradigm shift as law librarians look for ways to reinvent themselves and the value they bring to their organizations. The future for information professionals is full of possibilities and many of those lie in the area of knowledge management. Who better than librarians to manage institutional knowledge making sure the right information gets to the right people at the right time. 

This was the message of the session entitled ” Knowledge Management for the 21st Century Information Professional.”  If you think about it, isn’t this what librarians have always done through the creation of online catalogs, legal research and curated taxonomy?  Librarians might benefit by broadening their view and looking at the big picture to identify KM related roles they may take on in their organization. Law Librarians know what attorneys need and understand attorney workflow. We are often seen as trusted advisors when it comes to providing and organizing their information needs. We already have a user base, let’s consider rebranding ourselves as thought leaders in knowledge management and expand the level of support we provide through KM solutions. 

Moving beyond the status quo was further highlighted in the session titled ” The Law Firm Librarian’s Role in New Business Intake”. Good loss prevention and risk management begins at intake when client conflicts are identified during the development of the scope in the engagement letter. Who better than the librarian to perform due diligence on potential clients? With access to necessary databases to perform the research coupled with the organizational skills to establish systems and checklists to further the Conflicts process, we are able to infuse valuable information into a critical process and demonstrate the value of the library. This is just one way to showcase our research and organizational skills to the rainmakers of the firm who are responsible for bringing in business but may not currently be utilizing their library for traditional research services.

If you have the bandwidth in your library to take on this function, it can prove to be a quick win for showcasing your value. The only expense is staff time and a bit of training since the resources required to support this function are already in place in the library. Knowing what business is coming into the firm will provide the library with intelligence to make sure that subject experts and resources are in place to support traditional research requests for these new clients.  

Follow Monice’s AALL insights on Feit Consulting’s LinkedIn page here.

Jul 17

PLLIP Summit 2017: Nexus of Knowledge and Legal Tech

By Monice Kaczorowski | AALL

The PLLIP Summit pre-conference – always timely and ever interesting! This year’s day-long meeting was no exception. If there was one take away, it would be that Change is the only constant in life and with that change comes new and exciting possibilities for our profession. What we do with those possibilities is up to us. We need to build on our established alliances and push outside of our comfort zone as we navigate the shifting landscape of organizational reporting, new technologies and artificial intelligence. Librarians must remain flexible and rethink how we apply library skills to create knowledge management solutions; solutions which help further the goals of our organizations and aid our users as they face an increasingly competitive legal landscape.

As collaborators and communicators, librarians need to devise new ways to insert themselves into the daily activities of the firm outside of legal research. Utilize your library skills differently to spread your message and raise library visibility by supporting daily firm activities like Client Intake, providing competitive intelligence support during the RFP process, portal and dashboard creation, producing curated client newsletters and becoming seen as the go to place for data analytics. Assist IT as beta testers and software implementers. When presented with opportunities to change, meet the challenge and grow as a person and as a professional. Evolution means moving forward so don’t be left behind.

Follow Monice’s latest takes on the AALL Conference on Feit Consulting’s LinkedIn page.

Jul 11

Time is Money, Leverage it Wisely

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations , Market Trend Reports , Pricing , Resources

What leverage does your firm have going into contract negotiations?

Many firms wait until around three months prior for legal information contract expiration to come top of mind. However, if a firm can allocate more time for planning and evaluating its legal information resources’ value, the extra time creates a huge leverage for the firm. Firms that obtain market knowledge to compare their contract pricing coupled with key metrics to assess contract resources’ value will gain significant leverage in legal information contract negotiations.

Planning ahead with the right tools and knowledge is not only critical but absolutely necessary for success. Key leveraging points may include change in size of firm, ample time to make certain contracts co-terminus, firm-wide interest in the sole provider option, usage and value of each legal information resource to name a few. A multi-year plan allows one to know ahead of time what the firm’s goals are going into contract negotiations.

Feit Consulting’s latest report, Optimizing Legal Information Resources, provides market intel to compare your firm’s contract pricing as well as key leveraging points to utilize in your upcoming legal information contract negotiation. This resource shares tactics to achieve optimization. It also shares how to optimize your legal information pricing and terms with Lexis, Westlaw, Wolters Kluwer, BBNA and other products.

Get ahead of the vendor’s strategy and timeline. Don’t wait to prepare. Optimizing Legal Information Resources is a tool that will help your firm prepare in time with the essential leveraging tools to achieve success. Learn more here.

Jul 11

The Power of a Successful Contract Negotiation

By Michael Feit | Contract Negotiations , Market Trend Reports , Resources

Contract negotiations not only set product/vendor pricing for the next contracted term, but can also determine the pricing path your firm will be on for years after. We all know the story, 3-5% increases year over year. Once you lock in at a price and terms, this becomes your new baseline for future negotiations. Vendors will only want to increase over your current price.

Not to fear, price corrections can be made at your next contract negotiations. Feit Consulting sees about 15-20% of the large law firm market paying substantially higher than the market mid-point. Firms that fall into this category won’t be able to reach the market mid-point in one contract cycle; it could take several cycles to price correct.

There are two secrets to securing optimal pricing in your next legal information contract negotiations: Planning and Market Knowledge.

Allocating enough time to plan for negotiations is one element. Waiting till close to contract expiration is one of the worst mistakes a firm can make. Start the process early. Market Knowledge is the other essential tool for achieving optimal results in the negotiation process. This allows one to gauge whether your firm’s current contracts are on par with the market or above or below. Having this intel affects your leverage in negotiations. Due to secret pricing, no one firm can truly know whether their contract is exceptional or fair without outside knowledge.

Get the tools you need NOW in order to successfully negotiate and optimize your firm’s legal information resources and pricing. Working with a consultant is one option to obtain the Market Knowledge for benchmarking your firm’s contracts. Another option is Feit Consulting’s Optimizing Legal Information Pricing. Learn more here.

Jul 06

Forgo the Status Quo: Preparing for the AALL Annual Meeting and Conference

By Monice Kaczorowski | AALL

The 110th AALL Annual Meeting and Conference is scheduled for July 15-18 in Austin, TX. The theme of this year’s conference, Forgo the Status Quo seems perfect for such an eclectic and vibrant city such as Austin! According to recent attendee surveys, 22% of attendees are from law firm libraries. For that reason, we are excited to attend this year’s conference.

We want to know what our clients want to know.

Below, we offer some suggestions and tips on how best to prepare for the upcoming conference and optimize your time there:

Plan in advance what you want to attend. Prior to the conference, study the conference schedule and decide what programs interest you the most. You have the option of downloading the conference app to your device making it a handy option for planning on the go and managing your conference schedule (https://eventmobi.com/aall2017/). While you will receive a program upon arrival, come prepared and have the program and the programs you are most interested in attending already highlighted if you prefer paper. As some programs are bound to be more popular than others, try to arrive early to ensure that you can get a seat. Check out the events and meetings scheduled and map out what events interest you the most.

Schedule time for the vendor hall. Be sure to leave ample time to explore the exhibitor hall and find out what is new and exciting with vendors and databases. You probably won’t be able to do it one day, so plan on popping in once or twice during the conference to connect with vendors and see the greatest and latest offerings. And this is a great time to collect literature on new vendors and databases to share with your colleagues back at your firm.

Bring an extra sweater or long sleeve shirt and dress comfortably. Summertime in Austin is HOT, but the Austin Convention Center will be cool. Some conference rooms might be chilly, so come prepared!

Network, network, network! If you attend the conference with colleagues, it might tempting to stick close to them. It’s best to divide and conquer and meet new librarians! And if you go to different programs, you can present what you’ve learned to your colleagues after the conference.

Get Social! If you are on Twitter or Facebook, find the conference hashtag #AALL2017 and follow along for conference news, events, photographs, tips, and commentary. Use #AALL2017 in all of your social media conversations and posts! If you don’t have a chance to attend the conference, this is a great way to follow along.

Bring business cards! Be sure to update your LinkedIn profile before heading to the conference. You may exchange business cards with new folks you meet, but they will likely add you soon after on LinkedIn.

Follow Feit Consulting on LinkedIn to see daily highlights from the conference.

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