6/14/11

Some Q&A about Law Firm Competitive Intelligence

[Guest Blogger Emily Rushing]
I made a (very) quick stop through a record heat wave in New York for a short CI conference presented by the Ark Group. (For y’all Yankees, when a Texan says it’s too hot…it’s really too hot.)
A link to the conference agenda can be found here (PDF).  My notes from the great panel discussion are below. The panel included:
  • Jennifer Manton, Chief Marketing Officer, Loeb & Loeb LLP
  • Jean P. O'Grady, JD, MLS, Director of Research Services and Libraries, DLA Piper LLP
  • Philip Bryce, Director of Professional Support, White & Case LLP
Panel Q&A

Where is CI in your firm?
  • Some firms have library and CI integrated in an overall “Knowledge Department”.
  • Knowledge Depts can include Project Management (PM), Library, Knowledge Management (KM), Docket maintenance and research, CI, BI.
  • BD is among the users of the CI services but not always the owner of the CI function.
  • Sometimes the Library and BD overlap, with both doing analysis and research, although library typically does more research.
What are CI services and tools do you offer?
  • Law firm industry newsletter to firm mgmt, topical monitoring and alerts, docket monitoring, group by topics of litigation and then ID relationships in the firm to either side parties
  • Rankings, Capital IQ, MergerMarket, OneSource, Thompson, Lexis.
  • Specialty journals
  • Standardized CI report templates
  • Client briefings, mainly in support of proposals or targeting. Looks at competitors, relationships, past work, about the company and news.
  • Weekly industry newsletter on top clients and industries
What has changed for CI services in the modern law firm?
  • Increased availability of accurate information. That used to be hard but now that’s an easier part of the CI process.
  • The average user’s research skills have increased as has their sophistication.
  • Firm management is increasingly professionalized and accountable.
  • Library, KM, BI, CI, IT increasingly have a set at the strategic table.
How do we standardize content and licenses?
  • Firms are trying to get more proactive and strategic, less reactive. KM and library need to be at the acquisitions table, not just to buy what attorneys ask for.
  • Firms are using OneLog to calculate cost per product and cost per use.
  • Moving to library help desk software to help determine amount of time and primary users of CI work. Also how often specific content is used and how.
  • Some libraries/intel groups are hiring project managers and practice managers.
Jean O’Grady reminded attendees that libraries have to continue to adapt and learn new skills, become more efficient, and find new ways to add value. This “Future Ready” attitude is also the theme for the #sla2011 conference this year in Philadelphia. I look forward to continuing the conversation about the future of information/intelligence roles in law firms – preferably in the a/c with a nice glass of iced tea! 

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