HBR Consulting recently held its second annual Legal Information + Knowledge Services (LINKS) Conference. I had the privilege, alongside industry veteran Jean O’Grady, Editor & Author of the Dewey B. Strategic Blog & Director of Research at Venable LLP, and moderator Peggy Chevel, Senior Manager at HBR Consulting, to present findings from this year’s Start / Stop survey. I have previously commented that this survey has for years provided outstanding intelligence and insight into buying patterns of law libraries, but having now reviewed the raw data, I am excited to see how it is overflowing with wonderful nuggets.
It is an increasingly competitive market for law firms. Law departments are bringing more work in house, continuing to consolidate the number of outside firms they use, and sending more work to alternative legal service providers. To differentiate themselves, law firms of all sizes are seeking strategies to provide increased value to their clients, while simultaneously increasing profitability.
As the legal market continues to evolve, consultants have emerged as a key resource for addressing the challenges faced by law firms. Consultant engagements have also evolved, and law firm executives are not the only ones seeking help from legal consultants. In fact, 30-40 percent of consultant engagements are now initiated by stakeholders outside of the C-suite. This is dramatically different from 10 years ago, when consultants were mainly brought on by the executive team.
Earlier this month, Law360 featured an article by HBR Consulting’s Fahad Zaidi that provides insights into mistakes to avoid when building a law library. More specifically, Fahad explores common missteps that law firms should be aware of when considering data analytics tools and new software for their libraries.
Law firm libraries provide essential business services that are often overlooked by leaders of their organizations. While it may be tempting to assume that firm leadership is to blame for the oversight, the issue often lies in communication gaps that exist between law libraries and firm stakeholders. Historically, senior administrative leaders were partners that directly experienced the value of the library. However, over the past decade, there has been a shift to non-lawyer leadership and as a result the library’s value is no longer apparent to firm leaders.