Librarians are Uniquely Positioned to be at the Heart of This Growing Trend
By Eric Dewey, Principal at Group Dewey Consulting
Companies that run into legal issues, more often than not, had warning signs which provided clues to these developing problems. Warning signs are, almost by definition, easy to see in hindsight. The challenge is in accurately forecasting which of the many unusual business activities of a business, over time, are reliable predictors of future problems. Fortunately, several industries have worn a path that law firms can use to help them develop these financial forecasting skills. If law firms stay informed and pay close attention to these clues, they can gain a competitive business development advantage, learn a company’s business more deeply, and provide distinctive value to clients and prospects. And librarians are well situated to be at the heart of this growing trend among law firms to gather rich data about their clients.
By Julie Bozzell, Chief Research and Knowledge Services Officer, Hogan Lovells
Finding who knows what or has experience doing XYZ quickly in most law firms today is not as simple as we’d like it to be. At ILTACON in August, I participated in a panel titled “Finding a Needle in a Haystack with 21st Century Expertise Systems.” Other panelists included Kate Cain, Director of Market Intelligence at Sidley Austin LLP; Marybeth Corbett, Director of Knowledge Asset Services at WilmerHale; and Joshua Fireman of Fireman & Company.
Our session included discussion of expertise v. experience, expertise systems and solutions, why firms need expertise location tools, and the fun range of challenges that exist with implementing any such solution in a law firm. I emphasized to the audience the expertise librarians can bring to these projects based on their experience with, and love of, developing and managing controlled vocabularies and taxonomies. Along with that, librarians and information professionals have a deep passion for searching and for refining search tools to better meet our discovery needs.
ILTACON Session Description:
Expertise location systems are ubiquitous at law firms of all sizes and are key solutions that help with everything from responding to client proposals to finding the right attorney to help with a particular matter. An effective expertise location tool can be a differentiator for law firms, yet they are tricky because of the need to pull together multiple sources of information while providing clear answers. People from the trenches will share their experiences of implementing various solutions and tips and tricks to keep in mind when you’re evaluating a new solution.
Jean O’Grady, Senior Director of Research & Knowledge at DLA Piper and blogger at Dewey B. Strategic, was recently interviewed for an ABA Journal Legal Rebels podcast. Jean has been a long-time law firm librarian and is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries. She has served in several leadership roles for the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals’ Special Interest Section, and now she can also claim the title of “legal rebel.”
Listen to the podcast to hear Jean discuss the strategic role information professionals are playing in law firms and how law firm information and research centers are helping keep attorneys ahead of the curve.
Emily Florio’s post on attending ILTACON mentioned some of the private law librarians and information professionals that presented. Katherine Lowry, Director of Practice Services at BakerHostetler, participated as a panelist for the session, “The Social Collaboration Tools Making a Meal Out of Email”. The session focused on social collaboration tools, such as Slack, ThreadKM, Yammer, and Beezy, that law firms are using to facilitate collaboration and to help stem the endless stream of e-mail messages.
Katherine contributed to the panel by discussing BakerHostetler’s use of Yammer, and described the roll-out and adoption process. According to Katherine, “[I]t was a great panel filled with a diverse set of products supporting social networks in the legal industry”, and she’s happy to see “social networks gaining even more momentum”. She recommended the recap of the presentation written by Sameena Kluck, a Strategic Account Executive for Thomson Reuters and Westlaw.
The session’s moderator was Patrick DiDomenico, Chief Knowledge Officer at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. Other panelists included Ginevra Saylor, National Director of Knowledge Management at Dentons; Raul Taveras, Manager of Litigation Technology Solutions at Fish & Richardson P.C., and Cindy Thurston Bare, Director of Knowledge Management at Orrick.
By Emily R. Florio, Director of Library Services at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
From August 28 through September 1, ILTACON, the International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference, took over National Harbor, Maryland. The conference filled the immediate area with close to 200 educational sessions, presented by more than 350 speakers, on topics such as information management, business management, applications/desktop and technology operations. Just from this small sampling of topics that are of interest to ILTACON attendees, it is clear that there are opportunities for law librarians and information professionals to be involved with creating and attending programming during this event.