- Collaboration: Understand Marketing Team Pressures Law firm Marketing departments have probably never been under as much pressure to find new potential clients, respond to as many RFP's, and identify cross-selling opportunities as they are right now. Collaboration between the library and marketing teams is extremely important in order to get the best information in front of the right people, at the most critical time.
- Workflow: Anatomy of a Research Request For many firms, the Marketing department tends to be the "point-person" on questions being asked and the information that needs to be produced. However, the resources and expertise on how to answer the questions tends to be housed in the library. Just as with collaboration, there also needs to be communication between the researchers and the marketers. On top of that, the "deliverables" needed are very "marketing" focused, and are different than what library researchers are used to producing.
- Efficiency: The Real Definition There is a number of specific requests that the Marketing department may ask of the library. The key is to develop simple approaches, such as standard templates, that can get the best available information back to Marketing in a way that doesn't involve numerous back and forth emails. Once both Marketing and the Library have an understanding of what is expected from each department, the process becomes much more efficient.
- Moolah: The Budget Reality Check Both Marketing and the Library need to realize that the "business development" portion of what the firm does, is almost always considered "overhead". In many cases, though, the cost of the business development research charges gets passed along to the Library department. So, everyone needs to be aware of the true cost that the firm is paying for the business development project. The closer that the Marketers and the Librarians work together, the easier it is to understand what it will costs to deliver a final product. Librarians can point to alternative (lower-cost) research tools, and the Marketing team can determine when it is necessary to spend money versus when it isn't necessary.
- Blank Rome's Maryland Intellectual Property Law blog posted, not once, but twice since my list came out!
- Holland & Hart's Climate Change Law Blog found its way back from a 2 1/2 month hiatus and posted on December 10th.
- Nixon Peabody's Financial Recovery Blog is now a password protected site. Maybe they decided that it could only live if placed behind the protection of a firewall??
- Saul Ewing's Climate Change blog now points to one of those generic "we're sitting on your URL name, but will sell it to you for enough money if you want it back" sites. It was also removed from their list of publications from their website.
I and my fellow 3Geeks, @gnawledge and @glambert, were talking about this after our Twitterview with @AlinWagnerLahmy. We all three realized that we had been engaging in social networking for nearly 20 years.
In fact, I distinctly remember back in 1992 spending an entire law school spring break on Prodigy.
Social networking isn't new. I t has been around since the very first introduction to the internet. Just like Alexander Graham Bell, the first sign of life on the internet was an communication between UCLA and Stanford computers in 1969. And that certainly was social--the internet was built in response to the threat of USSR dropping bombs onto the US. Not exactly friendly but certainly social.
Through the internet, I have met people from all around the world. As I like to say on my job, I have traveled "virtually" everywhere.
Currently, I have a core group of online friends that I have known via my personal blog for a number of years. Their demographic range is wide and their perspectives are unique. About the only thing we have in common is our love for reading, writing and learning.
And that, I think, is the key to a wonderful online relationships: a love for witticisms, repartee, the written word.
It was funny when Toby, Greg and I were in our twitterview with Alin. We each had our own laptops and were each responding to the questions she peppered on us. We are all three very fast typists. So I think, too, that is a necessary element.
I have a passion for social media. To folks that don't get it, I often say, "its like having pen pals."
But I think a better description is that each of my online relationships is a little window into another part of the world. I often wonder, while I am sitting here typing whether my friend @pretentiousgit is walking the London rain or @gibslong is hanging out at his favorite St. Louis coffee shop or whether Simona has settled on her Masters program at Berkley.
So don't have the mistaken idea that social media is going away. It has been here a lot longer than you may have realized. And you don't have to play on it. But if you want to fully engage in the legal profession's marketplace it is as important a channel as direct mail or mobile phones.
A whole generation has been raised with this stuff.
Back in October, I wrote a post about the Special Libraries Association vote seeking to change the name from SLA to Association of Strategic Information Professionals. The vote came in yesterday, and the members rejected the name change. The debate surrounding the name change was very 'spirited' to say the least. It seemed that there were three factions that popped-up as soon as the name was announced, those for, those against, and those who were ambivalent. If you followed the discussion on Twitter, you'll see that the "for's" and the "against's" had very strong opinions on the name change.
When I saw the news yesterday morning, I asked the members of the Texas Chapter of SLA (I happen to be the President of this chapter until the end of this month) to discuss how they thought the process of the name change was handled. Below are the comments, and they are very telling. The majority of the comments tended to focus on the fact that this process was too much "top down", not enough debate was given to the SLA membership on the name change before it came up for a vote, and the "ASKPro" acronym was a fatal mistake.
While it may look like I'm beating a dead horse here, what I'm actually trying to do is what I've heard called an "Autopsy Without Blame". It is time for the leadership of SLA (which I am a part of) to review the comments from the membership and determine what we could have done better, and what we'll need to do in order to move on with an Alignment Project that is still in full swing. This has to be done in a way that is absent blame, and devoid of personal feelings. There's still a lot to do, and if we can't take away a lesson from this part of the project, we may find it very difficult to succeed in the next phases of the alignment project.
Perhaps the best thing to remember while reading these comments is the feeling in the very last comment - I'm glad [this part of the alignment project] is over"!
Here are the comments. The "Header" was created by me as a quick synopsis:
I think the two biggest challenges that our Association created for themselves was using the acronym when initially selling the name as ASKPRO is said aloud and fast can lead to much less desired outcomes or thoughts. The other issue is something that seems to be problematic yet has been an issue with Headquarters since I have been in
SLA, and that is they tend to put the cart before the horse.
Even though I know if you paid attention you knew this name change initiative was moving behind the scenes, there really was not that much in your face marketing to the overall association until after the mailing saying we were voting. Then and only then did you see the blitz of communications explaining the reasoning and development of how we got to this place. Totally backwards. I think if they had included more people other than the few emails I am sure I saw at some point or been more open in the discussions I believe there would have been a better chance.
The same issue existed in 2003 over the last name change process, they brought that up at the closing meeting of the annual conference when most people had already left.
HQ Did Fine - Now Focus Should be on Helping Members Strengthen Their ‘Value’
I don't have any problem with the way the organization handled the name change issue but I hope we don't have to go through this again for the next few years. The most important issues for the organization are helping our members strengthen their value, effectively communicating the value of our members to the outside world, and watching out for legislation that undermines our ability to do our jobs.
The Vote Was Rushed - More Time Was Needed to Discuss Drastic Name Change
Upon hearing about the
SLAname change results, I immediately thought about the time and effort put into this name change proposal and the voting in records numbers. Personally, I think there must have been some type of "gap" in the process leading to the findings of the Alignment Project. Why do I say this; the bulk of the SLApeople I spoke to were against the "drastic" name change. Probably SLA should have paid more attention to findings / fact discovery within SLAmembers. I must admit that I am not totally aware of the process, but I truly hope this was not the case. Thus, we can take these proposal results as lessons learned for future developments.
Name Change was Poorly Handled - Leadership Came Across as ‘Snarky’
I thought they handled it poorly. A lot of the posts by [the SLA leadership] appeared to be a bit too snarky for my tastes. It was as though dissension was not to be tolerated. I had a personal one from [one leader], after I forwarded a post to our listserv, maligning the fellow who's email I had forwarded.
Too Much Time Was Spent on this Issue
I'm very disappointed that so much time was spent on this issue. I am not sure if there was a popular vote on whether the name should be changed at all? Speaking for myself, I would like to see materials / handouts / seminars - maybe? promoting the value of Special Library services available for dissemination by
SLA. I think it would add weight to arguments in favor of keeping / supporting Special Librarians.
Midcourse Correction on ASKPro Showed Poor Planning
I didn't read every communication about the name change, but I had the impression that
SLAstarted out calling it Askpro, and changed mid course. SLA's communications should have been better planned. It probably wouldn't have made a difference in the vote results, though.
Name Change Should Have Been Better Vetted by Members
I am a long-time business researcher who had a career diversion and recently returned to the fold. I read many thoughtful comments about the name change. It's very interesting to read about the C-level surveys and perceptions. My primary comment is that the proposed name failed because it did not come from the membership and was not fully vetted within the membership before the name was introduced.
Augment Current Name with “Knowledge Professionals”
My idea is that we do what other organizations have done, be just
SLAand have it mean nothing. Many organizations (e.g.NAACP) are moving away from words to just the letters. We could add a hyphen— and be SLA-knowledge professionals. This would be a compromise and have meaning.
A Slate of Options Should Have Been Offered
I voted for AskPro simply because
SLAis problematic in our business world. SLAmeans Service License Agreement. Anything with Library is a negative for our management. We dumped our collections 6-7 years ago because of a dispersed employees and real estate costs. I’m not excited about AskPro – it sounds too much like Ass-Pro. It would have been better to have a slate of 4-5 options with a ranking option.
Time to Put the Name Change Behind and Move on to Important Issues
I must say that I think that the issue of the name change was a challenge for the organization, one of which I am hopeful it can recover. Within the past few months the name change and other decisions made on behalf of the members (some without member consultation) have, in my opinion, and I am sure the opinion of others, wasted time and created unnecessary division between members and the organization.
To that end, I think that the method of information dissemination this morning was most unimpressive. Everyone who was eligible to vote on the name change should have received your e-mail on the name change from
Those who voted, and even those who did not, should be thanked for their participation. Had you not graciously forwarded it, I would have not known the results right away.
In addition, for as much time the organization dedicated to the "selling"
of the name change on the
SLAwebsite (site real estate space included), I am disappointed to see the announcement at the very bottom left of the screen this morning.
Also, I realize that this effort to change the name was important to some, and with no disrespect given to those who participated in sparking this endeavor, I think that when an announcement is sent out about a vote, the word "fail" should not be used when first describing the results. As far as I am concerned, either way, the vote was a success.
SLAhas the opinion from 50 percent of its eligible voter that we would prefer for the name and integrity of the organization to remain the same.
Let us now focus as an organization on those things that are truly important in these times such as networking, continued education opportunities and maintaining the rich and known profession of "Librarianship".
Process Was Too “Top-Down”
Being fairly new to
SLA, I was able to view the process more as a detached observer than an impassioned member. What I was amazed at was it seemed to come out as a very top-down, “here is what we decided” statement. At first I thought this meant SLAwas run by the main office and the members would just approve it. This was very quickly disproved! After that, it really seemed more adversarial, an us/them mentality.
Assuming that the main office knew that the membership was not going to rubber stamp the proposal, I think they did an extremely poor job of presenting the new name and “selling” it. Once they blew the initial announcement, I think it was all over. There was nothing they could do to convince people otherwise. If they had done a clearer job of presenting the new name, explaining all the reasoning, not used the acronym, and cajoled people kindly, the vote may have been different.
I voted against it for two reasons:. I personally didn’t like it, and I didn’t sense that most members did either. If I had gotten the feeling that the majority of the members were for it, and it was truly for the good of the organization, I would have voted for it regardless of my personal feelings since I am such a new and tangential member.
It seems that the name change is a crutch (no one will respect us as long as we have our current name). Now that it has been defeated, the alignment project will have to move on with more concrete, actual plans for improvement. This is a good thing.
Leadership Was Not Prepared for Name Change ‘Firestorm’
I voted against it because I didn't like the name choice, not to mention how it was handled. I think they should have put it to an earlier vote with members, using something like SurveyMonkey. I don't think they realized the firestorm they were creating.
I am, at the end of the day, a dealer in information. Information builds knowledge management systems. So I felt pretty strongly that information needed to be a key element of the name, not strategic knowledge.
And I've never had a problem explaining what a special library is. It's always been a great segue way into what it is that I do.
The Term ‘Libraries’ Turns on the Light Bulb - ‘Strategic Knowledge’ Does Not
My take on the Name Change rejection remains the same as my comments below indicate prior to the vote. Yes, I'm in an academic setting, but a specialized academic medical setting. [My type of] libraries are always in danger of being eliminated, esp. on the corporate level (an
SLArealm) as those we assist don't understand that a Library isn't just books. They also don't have a clue what 'strategic knowledge' or 'information specialists' would do to help them other than with technology, i.e. computers. We currently have to explain what SLAmeans and when we get to 'Libraries' the light bulb goes on and the questions are asked.
So my questions remains 'what now?' What do we have from Align 09 that will help us promote our service definitions to the administrative, human resources, and general populations of our employers?
‘Regular Members’ Were Not Advised on Name
I hated that proposed name; also felt not enough of the 'regular members' were advised of all the proposed name choices!
Name Change Is Needed - But ‘Process’ Poorly Handled
Let me say at the outset that I fully support the alignment process and agree that the
SLAmoniker is outdated and should probably be changed. At the same time, however, I must admit that I have lost a little faith in the SLAboard/leadership over the name change.
First of all, "ASKpro" was chosen ass-backward. It was patently obvious that the acronym drove the name selection and not the other way around. Somebody thought ASKpro was clever, and I can only surmise that group-think convinced everyone else that it was clever too. So, it was disingenuous at best for the leadership to come back later and tell us that "it's the name not the acronym" that we were voting on."
Such a suggestion not only insulted my intelligence, but also felt like a ploy to ram a badly-handled process down my throat (i.e., when it started to look like the name change might fail over the acronym alone). It seemed like leadership egos (and "sunk costs") rather than membership best interests started to influence communication about the name change.
And what the heck is a "strategic knowledge professional"?
This name made me very sad. It revealed to me just how much we don't get it and how much of an inferiority complex we must have in our profession. Talk about trendy, buzzword soup. Notwithstanding the fact that the phrase "strategic knowledge professional" is a jumble of meaningless nonsense, as an organizational name, it would have become outdated much faster than
SLAever did. It makes me think that if we had gone through this process in the mid-nineties, we would have been voting on a name that included "total quality" or "kaizen" in the title. Ridiculous.
In addition, "strategic knowledge professional" says all the wrong things about us. Engineers, lawyers, doctors, computer programmers, corporate executives, etc. are all "knowledge professionals," but you don't see them calling themselves that. They are proud of their professions and don't seek to cloak them in ambiguous-sounding nonsense. Lawyers are lawyers. Business schools are business schools.
In contrast, "strategic knowledge professional" makes it sound like we are embarrassed by what we REALLY do and feel the need to make ourselves sound important because deep down we don't think we are important. It smacks of euphemisms like "sanitation engineer," if you know what I mean. Maybe we are not all "librarians" anymore, but "strategic knowledge professionals" is not an acceptable alternative.
If I were to ask a stranger what he did for a living, and he were to say "strategic knowledge professional," first, I would laugh, and then I would write him off as not to be taken seriously. How this simple heuristic did not dawn on the board/leadership of
SLAis beyond me.
ASKPro Killed the Name Change
SLAsaid we weren’t voting on the acronym, once it’s out in the ether you can’t take it back.
Leadership’s Message Smelled of ‘Groupthink’
I don’t think that either the leadership or the consultants got input from the membership. And I think there could have been much better names to choose from. I’m with my [colleague’s] suggestion – SLA Knowledge Professionals.
There was also a whiff of message control and groupthink coming from the leadership that did not sit well.
I’m glad it’s over with.
With that... time to review, digest, adjust and then move on to the next steps!
|Law Firm||Blog Name||Date of Last Post|
|Alston & Bird||Securities Litigation Blog||9/15/2009|
|Arent Fox||AdvertisingLaw.com||No Longer Available|
|Baker & Daniels||Climate News Live||10/21/2008|
|Blackwell Sanders||Fair Use Blog||11/2/2009|
|Blank Rome||Maryland Intellectual Property Law Blog||8/25/2009|
|Bracewell & Giuliani||Financial Industry Task Force Blog||6/16/2009|
|Bradley Arant||Mississippi Law Blog||No Longer Available|
|Davis Wright Tremaine||Corporate Finance Law Blog||8/18/2009|
|Davis Wright Tremaine||Digital Media Law Blog||No Longer Available|
|Davis Wright Tremaine||Telecom Law Blog||No Longer Available|
|Davis Wright Tremaine||Washington Construction Law Blog||8/18/2009|
|Epstein Becker Greene||Executive Women's Networking Blog||10/27/2009|
|Fox Rothschild||Employee Free Choice Act Blog||No Longer Available|
|Fox Rothschild||Tax Litigation||No Longer Available|
|Frost Brown Todd||Ask the Legal Pro||No Longer Available|
|Frost Brown Todd||Employer Notes||Empty|
|Goodwin Procter||KM Space||3/4/2009 (End of Blog)|
|Goodwin Procter||Real Estate Space||2/23/2009 (End of Blog)|
|Holland & Hart||Climate Change Law Blog||9/23/2009|
|Holland & Hart||NASD, SEC and Regulatory Defense Blog||No Longer Available|
|Hughes Hubbard & Reed||White Collar Crime Blog||5/21/2009|
|Hunton & Williams||Reasonable Basis||No Longer Available|
|Ice Miller||Agribusiness Blog||2/8/2008|
|Ice Miller||Daily Dose of IP||4/30/2009|
|Ice Miller||Indiana CEO Survey||10/9/2008|
|Ice Miller||Indiana Trailblasers Blog||11/26/2008|
|Ice Miller||Japan Trade Mission||9/12/2007|
|Ice Miller||Life Sciences Blog - Harry Gonso||2/24/2009|
| ||Entertainment Litigation Blog||8/18/2009|
|K&L Gates||Texas Non-Compete Law Blog||5/16/2009|
|Kilpatrick Stockton||EFCA Updates||No Longer Available|
|McGuireWoods||Suits in the Workplace||9/23/2009|
|McKenna Long||RFID Law Blog||10/15/2009|
|Michael Best & Friedrich||From Russia With Law||5/4/2008|
|Morris Manning & Martin||Open Source Law Blog||No Longer Available|
|Nixon Peabody||Financial Recovery Blog||4/8/2009|
|Perkins Coie||More Soft Money Hard Law||8/21/2009|
|Quarles & Brady||Summer Associate Blog||7/6/2009|
|Reinhart||Deliberations - Law, news, and thoughts on juries and jury trials||Announced End of Blog on 11/23/09|
|Saul Ewing||Climate Change||8/17/2009|
|Saul Ewing||New Jersey Zoning Watch||No Longer Available|
|Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold||Legal Technology Blog||8/28/2009|
|Sheppard Mullin||Advertising & Promotions Law Blog||9/15/2009|
|Sheppard Mullin||Bankruptcy & Restructuring Blog||10/16/2009|
|Sheppard Mullin||Covering Your Ads||9/15/2009|
|Sheppard Mullin||ESOP Law Blog||4/7/2008|
|Sheppard Mullin||Fashion and Apparel Law Blog||10/29/2009|
|Sills Cummis & Gross||Redevelop NJ||10/14/2009|
|Sonnenschein||Health Care Privacy Law Blog||8/3/2009|
|Stinson Morrison Hecker||TechKnowledgy||10/23/2009|
|Thelen Reid||Climate Law Update||No Longer Available|
|Thelen Reid||Daily News Blog||No Longer Available|
|Waller Landsen||Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) Forum||6/23/2009|
|Waller Landsen||Executive Compensation||10/15/2009|
|Waller Landsen||Investment Scams||6/12/2008|
|Waller Landsen||Payment Systems||6/12/2008|
|WilmerHale||Anne McLaughlin's Blog||No Longer Available|
|WilmerHale||Julie Smolinski's Blog||No Longer Available|
|WilmerHale||Kevin Chambers' Blog||No Longer Available|
|WilmerHale||Ross Firsenbaum's Blog||No Longer Available|
|Wilson Sonsini||Semiconductor Law Blog||10/18/2009|
|Wilson Sonsini||Silicon Valley Media Law Blog||4/8/2009|
|Wilson Sonsini||Startup Company Lawyer Blog||7/20/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||China Practice Blog||10/9/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||Commlaw - Mass Media||4/10/2007|
|Womble Carlyle||Commlaw Source||5/15/2008|
|Womble Carlyle||Community Development and Affordable Housing Blog||2/18/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||Construction Industry Blog||7/20/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||Fair Labor Standards Act||9/19/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||Non-Compete and Restrictive Covenants Blog||10/27/2009|
|Womble Carlyle||South Carolina Appellate Law Blog||12/13/2008|
- Do not write a sentence that is longer than two lines.
- Drop all adverbs. Any word with “-ly” is superfluous. If you can not write well enough to invoke descriptions without using adverbs then you need to practice more.
- Use an active voice. What does this mean? Instead of saying, “The Firm was given The Best Law Firm in the World award by the Two PR Professionals and a Dime Organization,” say “The Two PR Professionals and a Dime Organization gave the firm the The Best Law Firm in the World award.”
- Do not use legalese, unnecessary capitalization or Latin. Enough said. If you don’t know what I mean, then you really do not need to be writing your own copy.
- Do not use exclamation points. Okay, lawyers never use exclamation points. But marketers love to use them. Exclamation points are too cutesy, too redundant and too lazy. If you want to excite a reader, write exciting copy. An exclamation point does not transmit excitement, even if you are Yahoo! (maybe that should be especially if you are Yahoo!).
"Can Google Scholar Legal and Online Journal replace my Westlaw or Lexis content?"My answer: "Absolutely Not!"