It is undeniable that the modern legal library is caught in a transformative stage.
The aftereffects of the 2008 financial crisis continue to ripple through the legal profession in general; although global economies are in recovery, progress is slow and incremental, and support functions are at the forefront of the agenda as fi rms look to cut operational costs. Often seen by firm management as unnecessary and outdated, legal libraries are facing a double-pronged challenge: it is now essential for librarians to demonstrate the continuing value of their profession whilst battling with shrinking budgets and the development of new, disruptive technologies that are transforming working practices and processes at a rapid rate.
This has meant that now, more than ever, libraries are at risk.
However, the traditional knee-jerk responses to such threats and challenges – such as downsizing and outsourcing – are now not enough.
Instead, the modern librarian has been compelled to innovate, transforming their role to one that embraces the possibilities that new digital resources bring and which has become more centered on information management. Similarly, the way in which the library functions has been forced to change in response to economic pressures; like other fi rm departments, the law library increasingly must apply principles and practices from the corporate world to its operations, in order to reduce costs and improve services. Indeed, the role of the library is transforming in the face of a dynamic and sometimes hostile climate, reforming itself from a semi-autonomous department to a fully integrated and agile facility that must embed itself solidly in a fi rm’s everyday activities and respond quickly and effi ciently to its challenges and queries.
In this period of extreme upheaval, it is essential for both library and firm management to seek the right guidance in negotiating these challenges. Heavy emphasis is often placed on technological innovation and digital resources, and their current and future impact, due to the exciting and revolutionary potential these modernizations bring. However, what is of more value is tackling those diffi cult issues libraries face as they reform their operations to more resemble a corporate model and as the focus shifts towards profitability.
Packed with constructive advice and fascinating insight from a range of industry experts – from librarians to knowledge offi cers and consultants – The Evolution of the Law Firm
Library Function: Transformation and integration into the business of law seeks to provide the most pertinent and practical intelligence about the current challenges and the most effective ways of negotiating them. Invaluable advice is supplemented by pioneering, real-world examples of alternative methods of library management that can provide a solid foundation for application and implementation.
Chapter 1: The modern library – running a business within a business
By Monice Kaczorowski, vice president of library strategy and innovation for Feit Consulting
Chapter 2: Collaboration and coordination – the integration of the library into the “business of law”
By Kara Buzga, paralegal manager at Mayer Brown LLP, and Tunisia Johnson, legal information administrator at Mayer Brown LLP
Chapter 3: Absorbing library services into knowledge management
By Patrick DiDomenico, chief knowledge offi cer at Ogletree Deakins
Chapter 4: Leveraging research analytics to build insight and revenue
By Scott D Bailey, global director of research services at Squire Patton Boggs LLP
Chapter 5: How law firm professionals can make an impact on practiceorientated legal education
By Jocelyn K Sagherian, reference librarian at the Maloney Law Library of the Fordham University School of Law
Chapter 6: Are you running a 24-hour law library?
By Jim Haggerty, vice president of LAC Group
Chapter 7: How to demonstrate value and withstand executive scrutiny – a consultant’s perspective
By Michael Feit, president of Feit Consulting
Chapter 8: How strong relationships and expertise aid business development with clients – a case study
By Cynthia Brown, director of research services at Littler Mendelson PC, and Jill L Kilgore, research librarian at Littler Mendelson PC
Chapter 9: The evolution of a law library from physical to mobile
By CJ Anderson, head of information and research at Linklaters LLP, London
Chapter 10: Makers in the library – the new age of hands-on artificial intelligence
By Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase, and Sean Tate, AI sandbox product manager at Fastcase