|Steve Martin, Jean O'Grady, Scott Baily, Greg Lambert|
Steve Martin, a Principle and head of legal design practice at Gensler provided an overview of the transformation of law firm libraries from rooms full of stacks into innovation and collaborarion hubs. A Gensler survey of library users had identified new roles for information professionals. At the top of the list was digital curator, change agent, connector and innovator. All of these issues emerged throughout the panel discussion.
I highlighted the importance of business skills including budget analysis, scenario planning and analytics for knowledge services leaders. Since lawyers are not always open to innovation-- there are times when it makes more sense to act first and get permission later-- acting when a unique opportunity presents itself.
Scott Baily highlighted the importance of outreach and deep engagement with practice groups to identify knowledge gaps where information professionals can create new solutions. New opportunities can arise from embedding researchers in practice groups where they can advise on the development of new workflow best practices.
Greg Lambert focused on interdepartmental collaboration opportunities. Most administrative functions have knowledge needs and information professionals can help develop workflow solutions .There are also opportunities to assume responsibility for a wide portfolio of knowledge related serviced including, conflicts, pricing, business development, competitive intelligence, intranet management, and client portal development.
We all agreed that lawyers simply can't keep up with all of the changes in knowledge products and technologies and that the role of the information "connector" has never been more important. Information professionals will play and important role in assessing and deploying emerging Augmented Intelligence, analytics and workflow enhancement products.
It was clear from the audience questions that not every law firm and corporate legal department has invested in hiring strategic knowledge leaders - so the panel provided a great platform for educating the wider legal community on the transformative roles information professionals can play in giving lawyers an information edge.
1) New efficiencies within the department
· JOG - What skill do you wish you had learned before you became a Knowledge Services Leader/ Library Director?
· SB-Many studies regarding innovation have suggested that the way to create indispensable services is to be inventive and develop something new. How has your firm effectively recognized (or not recognized) your attempts at innovation? Is failure an essential part of the process?
· SB-What innovative services does your department offer that expand your value and insight and impact?
· JOG - Have you ever gone out on a limb to introduce innovation (opting for forgiveness rather than permission)?
2) Unique partnerships within firm and outside
· GL - What non-traditional opportunities are available within the firm to the leaders of Knowledge Services?
· SB-What are the points of resistance toward establishing an effective internal awareness campaign of what you and your team can do?
· JOG - What have been your most successful alliances/collaborations to initiate change?
3) Effectiveness of information services
· GL - How are you leveraging the technologies your firm already possesses in new ways that expand the role of KM or Libraries?
· JOG - What new technologies are you watching closely with an eye future innovative opportunities?