The International Legal Technology Association’s annual conference is happening right now in Las Vegas. I’ve been keeping up on Twitter and reading Monica Bay’s posts on  Legal Technology News. Not quite the same as being there, but a close second! I’m sure much of the Geek readership is attending and enjoying this amazing event.

I was especially intrigued by Monica’s summary of the key note address by Scott Klosoky of Future Point of View, where he asked the question: Are you a dead leader walking or one with your high beams on?

Two quotes really caught my eye:

Leaders get stuck in what they have invested in, and cannot move forward

See 10 years ahead. Think about what services you will be offering, how they will be delivered, how you will find new clients, and what new businesses you will be handling

I was struck by how directly this applies to law firm libraries.

What have we invested in that prevents us from moving forward and how we are “seeing” 10 years ahead:

  • Print?
  • We aren’t completely in control of what print we maintain, but we are in control of planning and presenting a vision of what the print collection will look like in the future. How are we planning to stop investing in print and utilizing emerging technologies to shape the collection of the future? How have we communicated that to firm leadership? 
  • Space?
    • Does our space or lack thereof, continue to define us? Do we need “space” in today’s law firm to be effective at our work or does it hinder us? If we look into the future, does space impact the services we provide? Maybe one day we are completely mobile with a tablet in one hand and our Google Glass on, working in attorney offices, client meetings, offering assistance as a roving service provider. How might we plan that kind of transition?
  • Non-core activities?
    • Jean O’Grady has done a tremendous job over the past few years focusing on the non-core activities that we must be willing to give up or out/in-source to others in order to focus on core activities. I’ve also heard Steve Lastres say many times that he tries not to do anything that isn’t “client-facing”. Both of these leaders are attempting to see 10 years ahead and planning their services accordingly. How can we take on and provide new services if we still have everything else on our plates?

    I’m watching a version of this “dead leaders walking” concept play out right here in Kansas City. Google Fiber announced last year that our fair city would be the first in the country to receive their services and I’m getting it very soon. I’m going to be saving $60/month plus getting many extras like a Google Nexus tablet that will function as our new TV remote!

    What has my current provider done to keep my business? Absolutely nothing. Have they contacted me personally to offer an explanation of their value or thank me for my business? Have they voluntarily offered to lower my costs or add services? Not a peep. Do they not see the wave about to crash into them? Were they “seeing ahead” enough to anticipate this and implement strategies to mitigate the mass exodus? Apparently not. I have no idea what, if anything, the two incumbent providers are planning, but it’s too late now.

    This is the latest call to action that we must heed and I hope we continue this conversation as information professionals and also within our organizations.

    Colleen Cable is a Library Consultant for Profit Recovery Partners bringing the “consultant angle” to Three Geeks.