Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor delayed travel could keep the recent 13th annual 2019 Ark Group's Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference sponsored by HBR Consulting from being a well-attended and content-rich event!
From the opening remarks by HBR Senior Director Kris Martin and Manager Holly Riccio, to the keynote and each of the individual sessions, a clear theme was the changing roles and responsibilities for information professionals. Change is here to stay and the possibilities for innovation are endless. As Holly put it, “change is our jam” and information professionals with the right knowledge and skills are poised to take advantage of these new opportunities.
The conference focused on actionable solutions and best practices designed to tackle today’s needs, including:
- Driving practical innovations to solve our client’s most pressing needs by focusing on asking better questions that inform value-driven process redesign
- The importance of leveraging data and analytics to tell the “story” of the information department, including using infographics and other communication tools
- The need to carefully select and evaluate new analytics products, particularly with the current influx of new vendors crowding the market
- Ways to shift from a purely overhead department to one that drives revenue, by leveraging partnerships with departments that have already done it
- How to elevate the department service level by “killing the library,” through introspection and an honest evaluation of current processes and assumptions
- The development of staff skills needed to support new and evolving roles, especially with respect to data analytics and AI, which may necessitate looking outside of our traditional channels
I had the great opportunity to offer some closing remarks. I was inspired by keynote speaker Angela McKane, the Lead of BP’s Technology Intelligence, who started her presentation by mentioning the popular Facebook #10yearchallenge. That struck me as great way to examine our own careers and think about where we were and what we were doing 10 years ago. What are you doing differently today? How does your career reflect what “sparks joy” for you? I am excited to have recently joined HBR’s research and information solutions team as a Director. I look forward to working with the team and with you in the evolving information environment.
Overall, the conference challenged the attendees, and I closed with a Marie Kondo quote that resonates with me individually because of my recent career changes and, I hope, with you, too: “When we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” As legal information professionals, we constantly strive to make our services come alive for our users but, to do this most effectively, we must ensure we are each an active participant in our own professional growth, embracing changes to be part of the evolution.
For information about how we can help with your research and information needs, please feel free to contact me or any other member of our team.