Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

Writers’ Workshop offered at AALL 2010 Annual Meeting

The AALL 2010 Annual Meeting in Denver will again feature a Writers’ Workshop hosted by the AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee. The workshop will be held Sunday, July 11, 2010, from 12:00-1:15. The event offers a roundtable format in which new and experienced writers can interact and share ideas about any aspect of the publication process, including finding topics to write about, scheduling the writing process, and choosing an appropriate journal. Moderators include writers and editors speaking from both academic and practice-oriented viewpoints. Space is limited to forty participants. If you would like to reserve your spot, please contact James M. Donovan, Chair, AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee, at or 706-542-5077.

A brief workshop but it may prove helpful.  See the Call for Papers past winners to understand more about what the committee does.

Upcoming Competitive Intelligence webinar

Beginning a new Competitive Intelligence effort at your firm can be a challenging task.  Register for Establishing a Competitive Intelligence Function at Your Law Firm: A Beginner’s Guide to the 4 D’s on February 4, 2010, and the webinar presenters will guide you through the step-by-step process of establishing a CI effort at your firm.  Key assessment activities, needs assessments, information audits and cultural assessments, will be introduced that will enable you to set the foundation of your CI effort.  The day-to-day activities of CI group processes and procedures will be covered as well as tracking your group’s CI effort to make CI measurable to the executive committee.

Key learning points:

  1. Step-by-step process of a CI effort at your firm
  2. Needs, information and firm culture assessments
  3. Tracking CI activities – making CI measurable
  4. CI group processes and projects

Cost:  $30 per person USD or $60 USD for groups of up to 10 from the same firm


Carrie P. Long, MLIS – Research Analyst, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Research analyst, Carrie Long, has a Masters of Library and Information Science and over 10 years of experience in law firms and libraries, with her most recent position in an AmLaw 100 firm as Manager of Research Services. Carrie has extensive experience in managing and executing large, complex Competitive Intelligence (CI) and Research projects in the areas of: law firm and practice area analysis; company and industry analysis; product analysis, market share analysis and prospecting. Carrie’s current clients include:  information services vendors; legal vendors; and law firms.

Barbara Williams, MS – Market Analyst, USM Services 
Barbara Williams has over ten years of progressive and cross industry experience and responsibility in Competitive Intelligence and business development in the online information, legal and facilities management industries. Prior to her current position as Market Analyst at facilities management provider, USM, Barb was a Competitive Intelligence Analyst at Fox Rothschild.  She was responsible for providing in-depth business, industry, and competitive intelligence analysis support to attorneys and practice groups for the 450-attorney firm. At Thomson West, now Thomson Reuters, Barb was the Manager of Competitive Intelligence.  During her tenure with the company, she co-developed the CI function, which provided CI support to market research, marketing, field sales, and new product development initiatives. Barb has additional expertise and experience in product analysis and sales force intelligence.

Nina Platt, Principal Consultant
Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt is a law librarian and former AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked in law firms since 1986.  Her work in library management has spanned all but 4 of those years.  Nina believes the most effective law firm libraries are critical to both the business and practice of law and that achieving to build a business critical library can only be done through the use of business tools like strategic plans, business plans, business cases, and more.  She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations, and papers on library and knowledge management topics.   

Questions?  Contact

Imagining Web 2.0 in Your Organization: Thinking Inside the Blog

Join us for Imagining Web 2.0 in Your Organization: Thinking Inside the Blog presented by Cindy Chick on May 7th, Noon – 1:00 CDT.  

Are you hoping to follow hot topics, supplement training, market your department, monitor legislation, or create a knowledgebase? Use a blog for these types of initiatives and more. For the most part, Blog applications are only limited by your imagination. Blogs are simple but powerful tools for organizing and sharing information that are often underestimated and underutilized.

Cindy will discuss the variety of ways you can use these mini-content management applications in your firm, review some of the more popular blog tools, including SharePoint (still one word but with a capital P) . You’ll learn how to setup a blog, and organize your content.

Who should attend? Anyone who is interested in implementing blogs in a law firm environment including:

  • Library Directors
  • Library Staff
  • Knowledge Managers
  • Technology Managers

FEE: $30.00 USD per participant
$60.00 USD for 2 or more participants within a single organization

Speaker:  Cindy Chick, Global Manager of Knowledge Systems, Latham & Watkins LLP
Cindy works closely with the library, docket, records and knowledge management groups to help define and implement technology-focused solutions in her current role as Global Manager of Knowledge Systems. She was co-editor/publisher of for 6 years, and has been published in the American Lawyer, Searcher, PLL Perspectives and Online Magazine as well as speaking for a number of conferences and programs. Cindy maintains a blog called, “a conversation on law library technology and knowledge management.” Her most recent project is called, a web site for those who travel with their dogs. Moderator:

Moderator:  Nina Platt, Principal Consultant, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt, is a former law librarian and AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked in law firms since 1986. Her work in the libraries use of technology has spanned all those years. She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations, and papers on library and knowledge management topics.

Upcoming NPCI Webinar: Mark your calendar!

May 21st – Imagining Web 2.0 in Your Organization: The Wonderful World of Wikis with Cindy Chick

Wikis are easily the fastest way to create mini-web sites on the Intranet or Internet, making them a good tool of choice for many knowledge applications. Wikis can be used to track the status of a project, compile deal documents with commentary, build a small intranet, or collaborate on a procedures manual.

We’ll discuss the variety of wiki tools available and identify wiki pitfalls and limitations.

Who should attend? Anyone who is interested in implementing wikis in a law firm environment including:

  • Library Directors 
  • Library Staff 
  • Knowledge Managers 
  • Technology Managers

 Questions?  Contact Emily Harder – or  612-235-7488 


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ILTA 08 Conference Materials

ILTA 08 conference session materials (handouts, slides) are available on the ILTA 08 Conference website.  This includes materials from all conference tracks including topical tracks:

  • Applications
  • Business Strategy 
  • Communications and Collaboration Tools
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • ILTA U
  • Information Management
  • Infrastructure Technologies
  • Knowledge Management
  • Law Department
  • Litigation Support
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mobile Remote & Wireless
  • Open Source
  • Practice Management
  • Professional Development
  • Project Management
  • Records Management
  • Risk Management
  • User Support
  • Voice & Data Communications

and vendor tracks:

  • Interaction
  • Interwoven
  • Microsoft
  • Open Text
  • Thomson Elite

You can also purchase audio recordings of the sessions.

~ Nina Platt

Creating the Sucessful Law Firm Intranet: Webinar 5 – Measure & Maintain

Our 5th and final webinar of the Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet will be presented on Wednesday, September 24th at Noon – 1:00pm Central Time.  It follows the previous webinars in the series – Research, Design, Develop, and Rollout and completes the model we use when working with intranets.

In this session you will learn: 

þ      Three key metrics to track to communicate your success.

þ      How to plan for changes to your intranet.

þ      Creating a user advisory board for future input.


Nina Platt, Principal Consultant, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Owner and principal consultant, Nina Platt, is a former law librarian and AmLaw 100 firm library director who has worked with knowledge management (KM) in law firms since 1986. She has written and delivered numerous articles, presentations and papers on both KM and intranet-related subjects.


Laurie Southerton, Certified Usability Analyst, Southerton Consulting & Art, LLC

Laurie is a Certified Usability Analyst and a Certified Business Analyst providing clients exceptional results with intranet planning and design since 1994. Her company specializes in User-Centered Design, Marketing, Communications and Training.

Amy Witt,
Project Analyst, Nina Platt Consulting, Inc.
Amy has over 8 years of experience planning and managing intranet projects and teams. Previous to joining NPCI, Amy was Intranet Manager in an AmLaw 100 firm.

Elizabeth Ellis, Partner – KM at Torys LLP

Elizabeth is responsible for the firm’s knowledge management infrastructure and research systems, ensuring that the firm’s collective experience and expertise are captured and applied for the benefit of the firm’s clients. As part of her role, Elizabeth manages the firm’s extensive precedent collections. She is responsible for the continuing development of technology and internal processes that support the firm’s lawyers in their advice and direction to clients.

FEE: $30.00 US per person

If you have participated in the previous webinars and have yet to register for Webinar 5: Measure and Maintain, register for this webinar.  If you haven’t participated in the previous webinar, you will have the opportunity during registration to purchase the recordings of the previous sessions.

Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet

Creating the Successful Law Firm Intranet: Webinar 1 – Research registration is still open until the end of the day.  Click on the name of the webinar to register.  More information about the program and the series is availble in a previous post.


5 Strategies for Developing Technology Know How

j0402233.jpgI am often asked how I learned about technology. I have to say that I’ve had little formal training as I started out unless you count the 3 day training session North Dakota held for librarians in 1982. I was a director of a mid-sized public library at the time and (if I must admit) quite a bit younger.

The North Dakota State Library had decided it wanted to replace the teletype machines that were in city/county libraries that we used for interlibrary loan requests. The goal of the training was to give us everything we needed to know to purchase a computer, modem and communications software, get it set up and running, and teach our staff to send interlibrary loan requests as they came in.

The computer we purchased had 640k RAM and one 5 ¼ floppy disk. The modem had a baud rate of 312. In other words, the computers we first used did not have much power or speed.

But, I digress. The training was a great base for what I would learn later. We learned how the computer worked from the ground up. Up until then I had only used an OCLC terminal as a work-study student and some type of computer that required a coupler to send messages while at my first job. The training I received during those 3 days in North Dakota not only allowed me to go back to my library and set things up, it also helped me understand better how the hardware and software worked going forward.

Next came building databases and managing the library system at my first law firm position, along with trying to make DOS CD-ROMs work on Macs. I also took a great class where I learned how to take a computer apart and put it back together.  A process that took the mystery out of how the computer worked.

In the next position I taught myself HTML and learned more about databases.  While consulting for a short stint between positions, I learned more about library systems, web development and how a networked was set up.  I also took a class on how to evaluate electronic resources with addtional classes in project management and systems development as part of an MBA degree I have yet to complete.  Throughout my career I’ve consistently worked to learn more about the various enterprise applications from a user perspective but keeping the big picture in mind – thinking about integration with knowledge management initiatives and more.

At my last firm, I learned more about web development including gathering user requirements and delivering them in the form of an intranet.  Most importantly, I learned that technology needed to be tied to the firm’s goals and objectives and that technology for the sake of technology meant nothing. I also learned how to help people transition through the changes that technologies bring to their lives.  I would not say all the change initiatives went smoothly, but understanding the people side of change and acting on it made a difference.

So, what would I recommend for those of you who are just starting out, want to learn more and don’t have formal training?

  1. Attend training that gives you the basics. You can read to pick this up as well but nothing takes the place of a hands-on class where you can ask questions.

  2. Attend training that takes you beyond the basics. Even if the training doesn’t appear to apply to you, you will pick up something you can use later.

  3. Volunteer for projects that give you exposure to technology – requiring you to learn. I have always found that it was easier to learn something if it made a difference.

  4. Ask questions. I have always been treated very well when I asked IT to explain something I didn’t understand. Just like us, they like to be able to demonstrate what they know.

  5. Read whatever you have time to read on the topic of the use of technology and, most importantly, specific topics that interest you.  As of late, my interests have been in using technology for knowledge management which to me encompasses many topics. 

The bottom line here is to be inquisitive and willing to explore.  Also, don’t focus on becoming an expert in technology.  Instead, learn enough to be able to see the big picture and how the library fits into that picture, converse with technical staff and plan for the future.

This article was originally published in the MALL Newsletter, Sept/Oct Issue.