The Macaroni Necklace: Ark’s Law Libraries 2020 (Summer Camp for Law Firm Librarians #1)

Colleen Cable | July 14, 2020

Though none of us are having the summer we expected, that doesn’t mean we stop transforming, growing and innovating. So, HBR decided to create a Summer Camp of learning through this blog post series, summarizing some of the industry events in which we are participating.

First up for all our librarian campers is the Ark Law Libraries 2020 virtual conference, which consisted of two days of great content focused on benchmarking the library, predictive analytics, engaging in transformative and innovative projects and so much more.

Here are a few quick highlights:

  • Strategy + innovation. Emily Cunningham Rushing and Lee Bernstein of Haynes and Boone kicked off Day One with a discussion on how they have aligned the firm library’s resources (people and content) with IT to become the delivery point for actionable information (e.g., competitive intelligence), enabling the firm to be proactive as the legal economy shifts. Cunningham noted, “you can’t buy strategy or innovation.” and encouraged attendees to define what innovation means for them and their firms.
  • BLISS Survey. The survey benchmarking session reviewed HBR’s 2019 Benchmarking Library and Information Services Survey (BLISS) results through the new lens of Covid-19. This session incorporated live polling, and the findings indicate that attendees are laser focused on cost savings, with 87% of respondents saying that they would cut print. In addition, firms report they are busier than ever, with 40% indicating an increase in research requests outside of normal business hours. HBR also announced that the 2020 survey would be released soon—see below to learn more about registering to participate.
  • Analytics. Michael Sander of Docket Alarm, Andrew Baker of HBR Consulting, and Abdi Aidid of Blue J Legal provided insight into the science of predictive analytics. They explained that analytics based on data (e.g., rules) can be applied for predictions that may be close to 100% accurate, or based on statistics to predict likelihoods. Understanding these two approaches and when and how they are applied can help law firm libraries accurately assess, recommend and effectively utilize predictive analytics tools. During a separate session discussing Elyssa Kroski’s new book, Law Librarianship in the Age of AI, panelists reminded us to consider biases that can be baked into the data. As we introduce new AI tools to attorneys in our firms, educating them on the way the tools work, the data available and the gaps in the data will help them use the tools most effectively.
  • Planning + implementation. Steve Lastres and Ann Lee of Debevoise & Plimpton took us from the RFP to the implementation of a popular content intelligence service at their firm, while Vishal Agnohotri discussed her knowledge transformation strategy at Hinshaw & Culbertson. All three of these presenters shared nuggets of wisdom, including recommending taking the needed time to get the project right. These two sessions paired nicely with Julie Savarino’s “Survive and Thrive” keynote on focusing our efforts on what is most important and making time to think, plan and build for the big projects like those at Hinshaw and Debevoise.
  • Changing roles. Finally, in two sessions, Scott Bailey and Anusia Gillespie of Eversheds Sutherland, and Saskia Mehlhorn of Norton Rose Fulbright and Stacy Pangilinan of Perkins Coie, addressed the changing role of the researcher. Each speaker focused on building new skillsets and bringing those skills and diverse backgrounds to promote services.

Okay, there were not any actual sessions on how to create a macaroni necklace, but thanks to the organizers and presenters at Ark, the program strung together a number of ideas for us to noodle over. And if you would like to make your own necklace, here is the site that will walk you through the steps.

What is coming up next in the series? The PLLIP Summit and AALL conference.


About HBR’s Benchmarking + Legal Information Services Survey

HBR’s Benchmarking + Legal Information Services Survey for Law Firms is designed to be the go-to industry standard for benchmarking law firm libraries. Your insights are critical to ensuring that the data gathered is relevant and representative of our diverse community of law firm libraries. Our goal is to equip and empower your firm with accurate benchmarks that can be used for internal reporting and data-driven decision-making.

As a participating firm, you will have access to an interactive benchmarking tool that will allow you to:

  • Benchmark data by firm type
  • Understand trends that impact the industry
  • Use data to support operational decisions
To register, please fill out this form and you will receive an email with a customized link to the survey.