« Yale Law Journal Joins the Ranks of Major Law Journals Issuing eBook Editions Published by Quid Pro Books | Main | Are the ABA and AALS Ready for Congressional Hearings on the Legal Academy's Gaming of Stats? »
November 15, 2011
A Vendor Rep's Professional Opinion on the Relationship between Vendors, Law Librarians and Their Institutions
Chuck Lowry, a sales rep for Fastcase, offers his professional opinion about the contributions law firm librarians make to their law firms writing
Vendors have an almost unique perspective on law firm librarians. We are sometimes partners, sometimes adversaries; sometimes you use us and sometimes we use you; we are often friends; it is undeniably true that we cannot live without you, nor you without us.
Lowry goes on to identify a number of contributions firm librarians make in representing their institutions in the vendor-buyer relationship including the following:
The financial relationship between vendors and law firms has in many cases become so tortured and complex that negotiations, especially large renewal negotiations, can have a real impact on firm finances, both directly in costs and indirectly in efficiency and availability of required resources. These large scale negotiations, especially renewal negotiations, involve usage levels, adjustment of time charges, transactional charges and flat fees, adjustment of the product mix within a particular service, and, more obscurely, an inkling of how the negotiation will go, how much flexibility the sales rep has and when it’s time to change tactics or even insist on dealing with the sales rep’s boss. Nor can we overlook the requirement that the library director/negotiator understand what the firm’s lawyers can and cannot do, will and will not put up with, have to have or want because the publisher called them directly. What you pay a good library director will be more than made up, over and over again, by the director’s expertise in vendor negotiations.
And after the contract is done, the library director has to serve as the usage cop, not just in terms of the quantity of usage, but in making sure that usage is executed under the terms negotiated by the parties and preserved in the contract. Who sees more information service licensing agreements than the library director? Who better than the library director knows which terms are rigid, which flexible, which terms vendors will negotiate and which they will enforce rigidly?
Of course, I believe Lowry would say the same applies to law librarians in other market sectors too. In this case, the post references firm librarians because it was published in On Firmer Ground. For much more, see his guest post Law Firms and Librarians: They Really Do Need Each Other (A Vendor’s Perspective). [JH]