Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

Ark Group Conference – Protecting the Core – While being Strategic

Panelist for the final presentation of the day included Steve Lastres, Director of Library and Knowledge Management for Debevoise & Plimpton, Rochelle Cheifetz, Director of Libraries for Dechert, Robert Stivers, Director of Library & Records Services and Joshua Fireman, Vice-President Market Development and General Counsel, ii3.

Joel’s question: Define Core. It’s what we’ve always done.

Reflecting on strategy session – no plan is worth the paper it is written on if it doesn’t begin, touch on and end with politics.

Josh Fireman on opportunities for librarians:

  • There are library skills that frequently go unrecognized that are critically important and often thought of ask core. Example: tagging (assigning keywords, subject headings)
  • As firms brought in intranets, the library was the only part of the intranet that were done well. For a portal to work properly, the firm needs to create a content management service team. This is a tremendous opportunity as librarians are well suited to the position.
  • All firms have problems with training – balkanized as it inhibits the value of best practices, etc. This is another great opportunity.

Group – Retreat from the services that are core that aren’t necessary or where the work can be done by other departments. Example – training secretaries to use Find & Print or Get a Document –

Group – clerical staff is not as necessary

Panelists – Retrain clerical staff for higher level services.

Panelists – Protect the billable work. Example – research that has become more complex

Panelists – Firms are looking for work for lawyers. Now is the time to take the opportunity to help the firm structure KM initiatives and to provide training.

Summary from Joel: One of the most important thing to do in a business structure is to pitch what is no longer strategic or core and focus on what the core competencies will be for the future.

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