In part I of this series, we considered that as expenses outpace revenue as we come to the end of 2019, increased scrutiny will fall upon information professionals to demonstrate the business value of their services to the firm. Part I focused on how information professionals can work with their attorneys to show that business value. Here in Part II, we will look through the lens of firm leadership.
Firm leadership will be most cognizant of the tightening margins resulting from expense growth and will be keen to understand cost-efficiencies and returns on investment. At the same time, however, firm leadership also feels the tremendous competitive pressures in the market to win and retain talent.
There were nearly 9,000 lateral partner moves* within the AmLaw 200 in the five-year-span from 2014 through 2018, bringing an estimated $17.1 billion in total business with them. The lateral market is so fluid, nearly half of all partners are up for grabs at all times.
For firm leadership, value is tied to the bottom line and communications should focus on metrics that tell the story of how the library contributed to the firm’s success in identifying and winning new business, as well as recruiting and retaining talent. There are several ways to do this.
Annual Reports - Highlight successes of the past year and outline focus for the coming year. Use annual reports to show year-over-year trends, highlight new resources, technologies and initiatives coming from the library.
Utilization - Usage reports for online resources are key for identifying heavily used and valued resources and services. Sort reference statistics by practice group and compare them against expenses and revenue.
Billing/Revenue - Capture and report all billables coming from the library on a regular basis.
Trumpet successes - Find your supporters and amplify their voices through testimonials and peer-to-peer conversations.
Data Visualization - Employ techniques to make data easy to digest and illustrate the story. Take care that the information provided supports the message of value provided by the library.
In part III, we will shift the lens and consider how better branding can demonstrate the value of your firm’s information services. Stay tuned!
Did you know? Feit Consulting offers Contemporary Library Solutions, examining and recommending changes to save the firm/organization money, improve efficiencies, and maximize utilization of resources. Contact Feit Consulting today to set up a free consultation on modernizing your Law Library.
About the Author
Becky Bowman, Law Library Consultant
Becky served as the Chief Research and Information Analysis Officer for Am Law 100 firm, Baker Donelson for 32 years where she ultimately led a team of 5 to serve 750+ attorneys across 23 domestic locations. Becky's accomplishments at Baker were multiple, including transforming the library from print to digital, overseeing the efficient combination of 15 mergers and acquisitions of library materials, and successfully rebranding her department, and achieving buy-in from key stakeholders. Her exceptional experience is invaluable for clients as they assess the actual total cost and value of their library and research department including current print and digital collections, vendor contracts, as well as consider cultural and workflow disruptions or benefits in moving to an outsourcing vendor.
About the Author
Stuart Zimmerman, Law Library Consultant
Stuart provides strategic input on library and research services in large law firms with a focus on library audits, the development of best practices for the delivery of library services, and the implementation of new generations of digital resources for research and library administration. Stuart brings more than 25 years of law library experience both in law firms and public law libraries. Prior to joining Feit Consulting, Stuart was Director of Research and Information Services for Davis Wright Tremaine LLP where he transformed a patchwork of individual law office libraries into a coordinated, efficient, contemporary, firm-wide library system providing high-quality research and library services across nine offices.