Friday, March 12, 2010

Law Libraries Should Be Their OWN Department

Greg Lambert's got it right. The recent news of Morrison Foerster Moving Their Library into their Marketing Department makes little sense, and shows "the law library has fallen a great deal in stature under its existing leadership." Not simply at MoFo, but at a lot of firms.

Law library service, done well, should hit almost every aspect of a law firm; and while that includes Marketing, this relationship only represents the smallest fraction of what's possible.

Even more troubling, I find it disrespectful of the firm's work product. Legal research is the front end of creating a quality deliverable - and working directly with firm lawyers to support their creation of that product is absolutely essential. Remember: GIGO is a key principle when any knowledge worker is making important fast-paced decisions.

Having Librarians operate under another department's goals & objectives, means their primary purpose of supporting firm lawyers is undermined. Competitive intelligence is a fine service offering, but not at the expense of firm lawyers producing their highest quality of work mistake free.

Moving the library under the mandate of another department (Marketing, IT, ... doesn't matter) creates a huge hurdle to Librarians trying to deliver that service. I like innovative approaches, but this kind of restructuring shows a lack of understanding.

Ask some of the Research Lawyers and Associates who collaborate directly with librarians. What's the cost of a missed decision these days?

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