By Becky Bowman l Feit Consulting
There were countless times over the course of my career as a law librarian I wished I could have stayed home and worked. I recall cold icy mornings or bad hair days that made me long for the comfort of my home. Over the past few weeks, those wishes have come true. If your firm or company is forward thinking, some of you may have worked from home pre-pandemic as all firms are now dealing with staff working from home.
For researchers, working from home has most likely been a smooth transition—and may continue to be. A request comes in, researchers are able to access needed resources electronically and begin to work on what will become the end product for the attorney; barring any sustained technical issues, the process is seamless.
But what about the physical library? The mail hasn’t stopped coming. Every day, it brings books, journals, newspapers; not to mention invoices and the thousands of advertisements vendors send out. How does all this get processed and how much money is being wasted as these books, journals, and newspapers pile up and collect dust?
One of the main unfortunate side-effects of the pandemic has been economic, putting extreme financial pressure on many law firms. When there’s pressure on margins, management almost always comes to the Library/Resource Center with budget cuts. And as we look at the possibility of returning to the office, law firm leaders will be looking at that office overhead - one of the top expenses after salaries - and wondering: do we need all this space? What is the right balance of in-office and at-home staff? Time will tell, but now is the time to evaluate your library and the direction it needs to take going forward.
To make sense of all this, librarians might want to consider engaging a consulting company. A consulting firm - if it’s unbiased - can help you gather information objectively and can make life a little easier for you and help you produce better results. An objective evaluation of services, resources, and operations will produce a clear picture of best practices and steps for moving forward. Most importantly, a consultant can help put you in a proactive position, offering solutions to management in a changing world.
If you would like to learn how Feit can help your firm look at the full picture and assess your library, reach out to us here.
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.