The January/February 2010 Law Librarians newsletter put out by legal publisher Westlaw has published an article entitled Law Firm Economics and the Librarian—Bring Value Through Training. The lessons can apply beyond the context of private law firm libraries:
“Bring value through training. That was one message that came through loud and clear recently in ‘Succeed in the New Law Firm Library Reality—Learn the Business Side of the Firm’, a webinar hosted by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the informal group of law library managers of the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) (…)
“So how can training attorneys help? Here are a few ways:
- Training makes users more efficient and more cost-effective. They can do more work for more clients with more relevant results in the same amount of time, increasing productivity.
- Training limits total use of online services and keeps costs down, which has an impact on future contract negotiations.
- Training brings costs down for clients to whom they are passed along (much less common these days—clients often won’t and sometimes can’t pay).”
“Strauss [administrator at Wiley Rein, a Washington area law firm] stressed that this is an opportunity for librarians to ‘take ownership’ and that our ownership needs to be more visible and measurable. In particular, librarians can do the following:
- Show how the time spent training is reflected in cost savings and reduced usage.
- Talk to your more senior attorneys about the work product they are getting from your trainees. Is it better? If not, find out why not and work on improving your program.
- Survey your users to see what’s working and what isn’t. Elicit feedback and, where appropriate, highlight success to your higher-ups.
- If you aren’t already doing a self-review of some kind or annual report on activities to promote library services, you should be.”