AALL Management Institute: Opportunities Granted


By Allison Reeve, Library Manager at Littler Mendelson, PC

Thank you to the PLLIP Grants Committee for awarding me the 2017 Management Institute Grant covering registration to the event. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow through my participation.

On Firmer Ground readers are not immune to, or unaware of, the exciting transformations occurring in law libraries today. Law firm librarians stay abreast of trends in the legal market, provide competitive intelligence, and inform client-facing and revenue-generating products.  They cultivate relationships with attorneys and practice groups so they can deliver relevant, on-point resource and research responses. Law library managers realize that the transformational challenges they face can also offer a myriad of opportunities, such as liaising between stakeholders and library staff to align strategic plans, motivating team members, and advocating for much needed resources.

Led by expert Maureen Sullivan, an Organizational Development Consultant at Maureen Sullivan Associates, the 2017 AALL Management Institute provided law library managers with tools and inspiration to guide teams and organizations through staff challenges, follow through on corporate visions, and enable personal growth. From my vantage point as a new manager, I found the boots-on-the-ground conversations exceedingly beneficial. Ms. Sullivan provided attendees time for individual reflection and small group discussions, and opened larger concepts up to the group forum. These shared experience dialogues fostered deeper understanding of challenges and provided real-world strategies for success.

The Client-Coach-Observer exercise is one that sticks with me. Groups of three took turns in which each individual played the role of client, or one who expresses an idea or challenge; coach, a mentor role guiding the client to a conclusion; or observer, who later advised the coach on her counseling communication skills. During this exercise, I appreciated the opportunity to discuss current projects my colleagues are working on and to practice coaching dialogue. I found myself most anxious during my turn as the observer, wanting to ensure I provided constructive notes to the coach. This session provided real-world conversation practice and the opportunity to share challenges and successes with colleagues. Continue reading

Product Spotlight on Clarion:  New Business Insight Tool from Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer recently released Clarion, a “due diligence and client advisement solution,” according to their January 24th  product announcement.  Wolters Kluwer’s news release promoted Clarion as a tool for corporate attorneys, with “the ability to surface vital information on a company’s revenue sources, partnerships, customers, and suppliers that would typically take hours of research.”  Clarion definitely has utility for a wider audience than corporate attorneys though and could be helpful in firmwide competitive intelligence/business development efforts. It allows for searching by company/ticker symbol to get to a company dashboard or lets a user drill down by industry and pull company lists sorted by Revenue in Industry, Total Revenue, or Company Name.

The last couple On Firmer Ground posts focused on business development, and we highlighted a Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals’ resource guide discussing librarians’ role in business development and competitive intelligence.  The resource guide listed a number of databases for company and industry research, so this seemed like a good time to take a closer look at Clarion, since it’s a product that can be added to that list.

We asked Wolters Kluwer a few questions about why they saw a need for the product, how it was developed, and what distinguishes this tool from others on the market. Continue reading

Winter Webinars, Part Two: Competitive Intelligence, A Joint Effort

The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) recently got together with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) for a webinar/conversation called “Library and Marketing: Why Can’t We Be Friends?”  This is LMA’s,first collaboration with AALL, so it looks like a promising start.

Presenters for the webinar represented the marketing and library functions within their firms.

– Ben Brighoff, Competitive Intelligence Manager, Jenner & Block LLP 
 – Jennifer Bratcher, Director of Client Services, Special Projects, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC
– Juli Hughes, Director of Library Services, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
– Caren Luckie, Research Attorney, Jackson Walker LLP

The webinar went for one hour, and the presenters didn’t even get to all the slides, so obviously there was a lot to say on the competitive intelligence function in law firms.  Below are some takeaways. Continue reading

Winter Webinars—Catching Up!


By Andrea K. Guldalian, Library Resources Manager at Duane Morris LLP, in Philadelphia, PA

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals’ Special Interest Section offered a few great webinars this winter, and we wanted to highlight some of what was covered for non-PLLIP members, or for PLLIP members who missed them….

On January 31st, Eve Searls, a PLLIP member and a Research Attorney with Jackson Walker LLP, San Antonio, TX, led a panel of PLLIP members in a discussion of how competitive intelligence reports are handled at their respective firms.  “You Ask, We Tell – Your CI Report Formatting Questions Answered” not only covered formats and templates used for competitive intelligence reports, but also addressed the content typically covered within a report, and the sources used.

Panelists included:

  • Stefanie Frame, Research Services Manager, Foley & Lardner LLP, Los Angeles, CA
  • Juli Hughes, Director, Library and Research Services, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, Philadelphia, PA
  • Liz Whittington, Legal & Business Research Analyst, K&L Gates LLP, Pittsburgh, PA

Continue reading

Profile of Jennifer S. Stephens, Technology Services Librarian at Haynes and Boone


Profile of Jennifer S. Stephens, MLS, Technology Services Librarian at Haynes and Boone in Dallas, TX

What was your path to law librarianship?

I focused my coursework on academic librarianship, specifically in cataloging, and had even been offered a position in a small college. I turned it down because I was not sure my car would hold up for a 500 mile move. My dad called me the next day, saying he saw an advertisement for a position in the law department of Dresser Industries, Inc. and encouraged me to apply. I did apply, interviewed with Karen Dibble, the library manager, and was offered the job the next day. It was the best decision I ever made.  Continue reading