Three Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals were honored this year as part of the 2020 Fastcase 50 —Cynthia Brown, Andre Davison, and Diana Koppang. Thanks to all of them for being such great representatives of law firm librarians. This week, we have been publishing profiles on each of the honorees. This profile is on Diana Koppang, Director of Research & Competitive Intelligence, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.
Fastcase 50 profile:
Diana Koppang Director of Research & Competitive Intelligence, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
“Diana Koppang is a law librarian made to lead. It’s not just her encyclopedic knowledge of legal research services and techniques, it’s her passion for them. In addition to leading a team of research analysts at Neal Gerber, Diana has held numerous board and chair positions at the AALL, Ark Group, PLLIP, PIUG, and other legal technology groups. Most recently, she and her team led a group of researchers to create the most comprehensive analysis of legal analytics platforms available. Analytics services vary widely, and comparing them can be like comparing apples and oranges in six dimensions, but the survey Diana led for AALL admirably compared the services across all of them. Diana also dedicates countless hours to providing technology to legal aid agencies in Chicago advocating for tenants’ rights.”
Answers compiled by Megan Moltrup, Librarian at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington, DC.
What is your role at your law firm?
Director of Research & Competitive Intelligence; I manage the research team who handle legal and business research, competitive intelligence, due diligence research for conflicts, and knowledge management.
What do you believe is the value you and your team bring to your firm?
Our flexibility and creativity in finding solutions to problems and working as a team both within our department and with other departments and practice groups.
What has been the biggest single change you have seen in the industry? And what changes do you see ahead?
The development of competitive intelligence and knowledge management roles – these will continue to grow, especially in the KM space. But like with CI, we have to fight for those roles so that they aren’t assigned to marketing or I.T. That being said we need to find a way to explain why we are best suited for those roles while fully collaborating with those departments whose expertise is also needed to bring the fullest value of CI and KM to our organizations.
Name one thing that you or your team is doing this year to meet the challenges ahead.
We’ve made a lot of changes to our contracts in the last few months, especially given the lack of access to print while the firm works remotely. We’re taking advantage of a captive audience to bring more training to the attorneys – for both new and current products – to help them change the way they work.
How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
Sadly, I do far less research than I did at the start of my career, and I sorely miss it! The majority of my job is management of contracts and vendors, staff, and playing a strategic role at the firm to promote the department’s services.
What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
Stage Manager on Broadway.
Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
Keep your options open – try not to take the attitude of “not my job” especially in firms where there is so much potential for crossover with other roles within the library and with other departments. Learn as much technology as you can but also keep apprised of the legal industry at large. Take a negotiation workshop.
What would you name your autobiography?
“Don’t Give Me That Look”
If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – she’s feisty and sarcastic with amazing physical strength and the best leather jackets (I’ve only got the first two going for me).
What’s the last photo you took on your phone?
My new baby Miles – he’s pretty much the subject of the last 100 or so photos on my phone.
These are tough times, but librarians are resilient! Be open to the world and our industry looking different when we come out the other side of this pandemic. Adaptability should be one of our greatest strengths!