Legal Information Professional?: Seize Your Opportunity

Disruption equals opportunity“–Robert Ambrogi

What’s that Chinese proverb? Oh yes, “In every crisis, there is opportunity.” That is Robert Ambrogi‘s position in this great post from last month, “Turning Challenges into Opportunities: New Directions for Legal Information Professionals.”

Like many these days Ambrogi writes that “we are in a time of unprecedented innovation in legal technology” and, although this may be a “cause for concern” for some legal information professionals, he suggests that,

Anyone who says the librarian is a dying breed is simply wrong. What is true, however, is that you need to redefine yourselves – redefine your value proposition – in terms that others can understand. That means that you must identify and emphasize what it is you bring to your institution and to the people it serves, whether they be the lawyers, the clients, the marketers, the fundraisers, the faculty or the students.”

That’s an encouraging passage to consider when we are thinking about our place in the current legal information ecosystem.

Librarians are no strangers to change and we’ve been very successful in adapting to the challenges presented to us. And we need to continue to adapt to the accelerating changes in our environment and look “strategically at the skills [we] possess and how [we] can deploy those skills to maximum effect to help your firm or institution thrive.

As a way to identify and focus in on these skills Ambrogi provides a list (and short description) of a number of unique roles that law librarians value:

  • Librarians as publishers
  • Librarians as facilitators of access to justice
  • Librarians as market analysts
  • Librarians as trainers
  • Librarians as knowledge managers
  • Librarians as prospectors
  • Librarians as members of client teams
  • Librarians as specialists
  • Librarians as drivers of change
  • Librarians as experimenters

He concludes that “it is a time to push forward based on the skills that you already have. After all, the work that you do, the value you provide, will never disappear.”

About midway through his post Ambrogi says: “To my mind, there has never been a more exciting or important time to be a legal information professional.” And although I might quibble a tiny bit with the idea that this is a “new direction” for information professionals, I agree completely that this is an important and exciting time for us to identify, realize and communicate our skills.

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