August 17, 2007
LawFirmInc. Survey Identifies Issues Being Addressed by Large Law Firm Librarians
Reporting on an ABA Journal Blog post, Mitchell H. Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof Blog, notes that big law firm librarians are spending more time on rainmaking by performing marketing and competitive intelligence research which increases their prominence and influence with the lawyers who employ them. See his post, Big Law Firm Law Librarians As Rainmakers. A good thing and one that grew out of the rather tedious 1980s practice of using online resources for conflicts research. This conclusion was one of many based on LawFirmInc.'s sixth annual survey of law firm librarians at Am Law 200 firms.
Some snips from Law.com's Survey Says Librarians Like Their Jobs but Are Displeased With Vendors, also based on the LawFirmInc. survey.
Budget Cuts: According to the survey, the average law library budget decreased 3.5 percent in 2007, coming in at $4,251,627 -- compared with $4,408,242 in 2006. And only 45 percent of firms have more full-time library employees than they did two years ago. The average law library staff size is currently 19. Cost recovery has become more difficult, too, with clients increasingly demanding that online research tools be treated as overhead. But perhaps the biggest headaches are coming from the content providers, the vendors who sell access to electronic research tools. They continue to raise licensing fees, introduce new products and market their wares aggressively -- often directly to lawyers.
Vendors: [L]ibrarians clearly have their pet peeve: the online content providers, particularly the big two, Reed Elsevier Plc's LexisNexis and Thomson Corp.'s Westlaw. There was a time when electronic services were supposed to replace books and lower costs. They've done neither. Instead, fees continue to rise each year -- well beyond the rate of inflation, say librarians (licensing fees are typically covered by confidentiality agreements).
On a scale of 1 (very good) to 5 (very bad), LexisNexis scored just a 2.43 for overall satisfaction, marginally better than Westlaw at 2.51. And those numbers are down from last year (when the services scored 2.37 and 2.42, respectively).
Knowledge Management: For most of the last 10 years, knowledge management was overhyped and underdeveloped, but projects are finally gaining momentum, and librarians are playing a key role: Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say that they are actively involved in their firm's KM efforts. The work, they say, can't simply be handed over to the IT department.
Check out the entire Law.com article for details, links to the article's tables provided above. [JH]
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» Commentary on Survey of Law Firm Librarians from ALMResearchBlog
Several web sites have posted commentary about the report of the 2007 Law Librarian Survey, published recently in Law Firm Inc. Joe Hodnicki, on the Law Librarian Blog focused on the issues of budget cuts, vendors, and knowledge management, and [Read More]
Tracked on Sep 7, 2007 5:01:15 AM