Tag Archives for " librarian role "

Jan 15

Feit Presenting at ARK Conference on “What is the Modern Law Library?” February 22nd, NYC

By Michael Feit | Feit Consulting , Librarians , Modern Law Library , Resources

Feit Consulting is presenting on “What is the Modern Library?” at the Ark Group’s 12th annual Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference, February 22, 2018.

Our program offers clear insights into the steps firms need to take for maximum efficiency and delivery of legal information resources and the role of the Modern Library. Feit Consulting’s Michael Feit, President & Founder and Monice Kaczorowski, Vice-President of Library Strategy and Innovation will lead the program by sharing their research on library modernization and how this is defined. We share key take-aways from our white paper, Beyond Virtualization: Transforming the Law Library.

An expert panel will discuss the “Big Picture” of Librarians as disruptors, how to change the stereotypical image of the librarian, how to run the Library as a business and the importance of interdepartmental support and technology. Panelists include:

  • Shabeer Khan, Director of Research Services with Morrison & Foerster,
  • Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer with Jackson Walker, and
  • Nancy Rine, Director of Research Services and Conflicts with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

The role of Library Services within firms and organizations has shifted. The program will address how and why Librarians need to move beyond traditional research roles, reinventing themselves to support the business of law. Added to this is why it’s important for administrators to be open to the new roles the modern law library can play.

Join us in New York for this exciting event.  Click here for the conference details.

Dec 04

What does it mean to be a Modern Law Library?

By Michael Feit | Modern Law Library

What does it mean to be a Modern Law Library??

The first thing that comes to mind for many is the focus on virtual versus print. Examining the need of both is an essential component. However, the Modern Law Library is more than providing content, it encompasses a proactive approach and mindset, new processes, and utilizing metrics and technology.

Open-mindedness is necessary for transitioning to a Modern Law Library, by both Administrators and the Library team. This includes a flexible approach, meeting change head-on. Consider, “How can I change my habits to actually facilitate change? How can I move out of my mindset of but we have always done it that way? What can I do differently to offer value to my organization and make them see me and my library in a new way?”.

In the Modern Law Library, both Administrators and Librarians recognize and open their minds to allowing librarians and their team to apply their skills differently in the past. While law firms have always depended on library and information professionals to support the research needs of their lawyers, the Modern Law Library is undergoing a paradigm shift. Success now depends on the library taking a more active role in the organization, to help support the day-to-day business of law. One such way is providing interdepartmental support. A few examples of this include:

  • Embracing new roles in Conflicts Support for new business intake
  • Partnering with Marketing to provide competitive intelligence to support the RFP process
  • Partnering with IT to identify and beta-test software
  • Driving Knowledge Management

Reviewing how the Library functions, it’s processes and what can be changed to increase collaboration and efficiencies to support the business of law is another necessary component to transitioning to a Modern Law Library. What changes can be made to improve access to content, increase usage?

The Modern Library, a business within a business, is not passive in its approach but rather utilizes metrics and analytics to forecast, predict and analyze data as changes occur. Examine what tools are being utilized to collect data on content needs and usage, how often this data is reported, and how this informs the budget development process. Preparing and monitoring annual budgets and working with Finance on cost and recovery of client-related research are important fiscal initiatives. With the cost of resources continuing to rise, data-analysis tools such as Electronic Resource Management (ERM) are invaluable in analyzing usage, preparing for contract renewals and general collection development. No longer a nice-to-have tool, ERMs are essential as the Modern Library moves away from print towards virtualization.

It is no secret that the legal sector is in flux and change, which is the only constant in our organizations. There are changes we can forecast, and there are those we must be able to react to in order to function as a fiscally responsible unit in our organizations. Rather than be a target of downsizing or outsourcing, the Modern Library is innovative and forward-thinking. It strives to carve out new roles within the organization while showcasing the value of resources and staff. Becoming a Modern Law Library is not done overnight, or in a week or month. It is complex and includes many little steps in order for a Law Library to modernize. In sum, the Modern Law Library is a trendsetter, evaluating and embracing new techniques, ideas and technology to help support business processes.

Feit Consulting offers Modern Library Audits, 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.

Nov 17

The Modern Library: The First Step is to Embrace Change 

By Michael Feit | Librarians , Modern Law Library

It is no secret that the legal sector is in flux. As clients demand better value for the dollars they spend, firms are taking a hard look at how they do business; analyzing their organizational structure, and evaluating the way services are delivered with an eye towards process improvement.

What does that mean for the Modern Library?

The first step in modernizing a law library begins with YOU – the Librarian, Administrator or Attorney   – anyone who has a role in managing legal information resources plays a part in deciding whether your firm or organization’s law library can modernize.

For librarians, it is essential to move away from the mindset of, “But we have always done it that way!”.  Ask yourself, “What can I do differently to offer value to my organization and make them see me and the library in a new way?”. Think about embracing change in a way to work smarter not harder. You need to be flexible in your approach and meet change head on. Think about your own habits and what you can change to facilitate change.

It can be stressful and overwhelming when asked to do more with resources that may already be stretched. Think outside the box. How can you do things differently to take on something that could add more value to the firm/organization. Change is not comfortable and we have no assurance that we will be recognized or rewarded.

The alternative to resisting change or inaction could result in your library being downsized or outsourced. How can you be proactive to addressing the threat of downsizing and outsourcing? Embrace change by being open to the new roles you can play. Consider what new value you can offer. How can you do your job differently?

For Administrators and Attorneys, they must move away from the “stereotypical view” of the librarian and be open to new roles librarians can fill to support the business of law.  A law library cannot modernize unless everyone is committed to advancement. Does the librarian have a seat at the table in making decisions on contracted content, print resources, budgeting, and collaborating with other departments such as marketing and IT? Ask yourself, what can you as an Administrator or Attorney do to promote the expansive role the Law Library and Librarian Team can play.

Jul 25

Don’t Jump Back Into Your Everyday Routine: Transform Knowledge Into Power

By Michael Feit | Associations , Events , Librarians

At the core, librarians utilize knowledge and resources to answer questions and solve problems. We possess a multitude of skills, and have much value to offer our organizations, beyond performing legal research. The American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) conference this month reminded us of our abilities, and more so the importance of transitioning from guardian of books to ‘linchpin librarians’. In short, we as librarians need to showcase the true value we possess and can offer our organizations. The question now is, “How will you transform the knowledge and empowerment gained at AALL into action steps at your firm or organization?”

Checklist for transitioning knowledge into action:
– Brainstorm what new step(s) you can take to build high-level collaboration and interdepartmental support at your firm or organization.
– Determine the best avenues to grow your visibility within your organization.
– Ask yourself, “How can I change my habits? What can I do differently that offers value to my organization?”
– Plan a lunch or phone call with colleagues inside and outside your organization to brainstorm what cutting-edge solutions you can bring to your organization or firm.
– Reach out to your new networking contacts. Choose one each week with whom to connect.
– Develop a Conference Recap to show management the value of attending; highlight program sessions and vendor products that support current and potential organization/firm initiatives.
– Include conference benefits in the library’s annual report to Management.
– Take Feit Consulting’s Library Modernization Survey.

Jul 19

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

By Michael Feit | Associations , Events , 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 American Association of Law Libraries’ (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 Michael Feit | Associations , Events , 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 advisers when it comes to providing and organizing their information needs. We already have a user base, let’s consider re-branding 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.