Communicating Our Value to Management – NE2007

I attended an amazing session today at NE2007. In “Reveille! Roll Call!: Communicating Our Value to Management,” Steven Lastres (Director of Library & Knowledge Management, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York) and Donna Purvis (Firmwide Library Manager, Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco) energized me by discussing practical examples of what researchers/librarians can do to contribute to our organizations’ bottom lines. Some best practices discussed:

  • Learn about your organization’s business goals and objectives.
  • Find out what your organization’s leaders are saying about the firm in the media, trade publications, etc.
  • Use the same language as your firm when promoting a plan or project.
  • Shift the firm’s perception of your group from an overhead cost to a creator of value.
  • Tell people in your firm what you’re already doing for them and what more you can do. Communicate with people who control the direction of the firm.
  • Communicate library metrics .
  • Teach new associates how to do research the firm’s way.
  • Integrate KM and the library.
  • Report information from your users’ perspectives. Always have your users’ thinking in mind.
  • Add an “Ask a Librarian” link on the firm portal.
  • Develop a firm-wide password manager tool for online resources.
  • Provide client development research and competitive intelligence.
  • Provide news alerts/current awareness service for committee groups as well as practice groups and client teams.
  • Create pathfinders outlining tools to use for specific research problems.
  • Deliver short (30 minutes) research training sessionsĀ on 3-4 tools that focus on a specific topic.
  • Deliver an annual report to the person you report to.
  • Quantify the value of what you’re providing.
  • When proposing a new plan, position your argument so managers cannot say no to you.


  1. I agree with Agnese, the session was amazing, as have been all the NE2007 sessions I have attended.

    One addition to the great tips that were promoted in this session is to capture metrics that show how the library adds value to the firm, not just how we reduce costs. For example, tracking non-billable librarian research time and quantifying that with the estimated dollar figure of enabled lawyer billable hours.