Law Firm Marketing and Law Librarians Join Forces to Provide Sophisticated Business and Competitive Intelligence

By MaryAnnWacker, Reference Librarian and Josie Morgan, Manager, Business Development at Bracewell & Giuliani

At Bracewell & Giuliani, the Library has developed a collaborative relationship with our Business Development & Marketing Department. We provide them with sophisticated business intelligence (BI) and competitive intelligence (CI) on a daily basis. While this work is primarily nonbillable, it is some of the most rewarding and satisfying research the librarians undertake. Most importantly, the firm recognizes the impact that our research has in identifying and bringing in new clients to the firm and staying abreast of the competitive legal landscape. Here at Bracewell, we have three reference librarians for a firm of almost 500 attorneys. Our Marketing group is organized by practice with managers for energy, banking/finance, trial/technology, etc.

A valuable service the Library provides to our litigation section and the Manager of the Trial and Technology group is a daily court alert that provides newly filed patent/copyright cases from Courtlink. This feed generates requests from our attorneys for copies of new complaints.

From a due diligence perspective, we are called upon for information on prospective clients and for upcoming pitches. We refer these types of requests as “you ring, we fling” requests given the fast turnaround that is demanded. We use tools such as Lexis AtVantage, Bloomberg litigation reports,Hoover’s, D&B, and news sources to complete these requests. In order to work more efficiently with Marketing on these requests, we copy the manager for that attorney’s section with the search results.  This helps the managers stay in the loop and keep up-to-date on all happenings within their groups.

Recently we added social media to our arsenal of resources we search to obtain background information on individuals. Our biography package now consists of information from our standard news sources, as well as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and photographs from Google images. With this information in hand, our lawyers are well prepared for any meeting.

To support the growing needs of the Marketing department, we work with the firm’s Communications Manager and monitor all mentions of our firm in the press and social media outlets. The Library uses Lexis Publisher and Google news alerts to send out a daily e-mail to all firm employees which includes every mention of Bracewell’s name in the press.

From a competitive intelligence perspective, the Library provides league tables to the Marketing Manager who supports finance and banking. Some of the resources we use include Thomson Financial, DealLogic, Bloomberg, and MergerMarket.

Marketing and the Library have also taken the time to get to know each other on a personal level through casual lunches. This has benefited both groups by knowing what is happening in each other’s department, plus it creates a dynamic where you aren’t just employees at the same firm but you care about what is keeping each other busy at work and after (movies, travel, DSW!). It also helps each department understand what the workload is like on the other side and that your requests may not be the only ones flooding respective inboxes.

A direct benefit to the Library of our collaborative relationship is that the librarians gain access to databases purchased by Marketing such as Energy Acuity and PitchBook. We are really grateful to have access to these (pricey) resources.

In addition to the services we provide, the Library plays a professional development role by training all new Marketing staff members when they arrive at the firm. This provides a great opportunity to start off on the right foot. The new employees then become ambassadors for the Library, sharing capabilities and sending attorneys to us for their research projects and requests.

The Library’s romance with Marketing began several years ago when we took on the task of compiling a weekly newsletter which included energy-related news in the Caspian region. We sent it out to clients for a while with just an e-mail. When Marketing heard about our efforts, they offered help with newsletter software to make The Caspian News look more professional and increased the distribution list using InterAction. This got the notice of important partners at the firm and it turned into a very high profile endeavor. I knew our efforts were appreciated when the entire Marketing Department showed up in the Library and surprised us with cupcakes to celebrate the newsletter’s 100th issue!

Marketing knows they can always depend on our quick response and valiant efforts. When they know we are responding immediately to their requests, they can get information to the attorneys in a timely manner which makes everyone look good. Our attorneys are then able to impress the firm’s clients, as well as prospective clients, because of our efforts as a unified team – not as two separate departments.

Our secret to creating a fun and rewarding working relationship with the Marketing Department is keeping lines of communication open – try asking someone to lunch, stopping by their office, or chatting with them over coffee at Starbucks.

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6 thoughts on “Law Firm Marketing and Law Librarians Join Forces to Provide Sophisticated Business and Competitive Intelligence

  1. Great to see such innovation and cross-functional collaboration! I’m curious which resources you find the most helpful and where you think they’re evolving? I’m doing research on the topic and while there are so many resources out there it seems (and you seem to suggest was well) that no single solution or silver bullet has really come about yet…

  2. I like Juan, would like to hear what resources are really working. I saw demos and tested most of the products mentioned. They made pretty final reports but did not have depth of coverage. If it had periodicals, it didn’t have case law and docket information and none seemed to have accurate information on medium or private companies. Granted those are hard items to get data on but it’s a hole in knowledge that the vendors do not acknowledge.

  3. Pingback: 10 Library Services Tips for Building Value « gillneer

  4. Pingback: 10 Library Services Tips for Building Value |

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