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Although law firm leaders are projecting a healthy 2015, the long-term consensus is that profitability will face continued downward pressure. As President Obama just delivered his State of the Union speech, I decided to turn this into a ‘State of Law Firm Profitability’ address. While doing some research on this topic, I found a few notable perspectives worth sharing and have curated them for your reading pleasure.

The changing landscape of the law firm library was the topic of our recent webinar, The Rise of the Library. LAC Group joined forces with partner Manzama to discuss the evolution of the law library. A practical agenda was covered as LAC Group CEO Deb Schwarz and Manzama CEO Peter Ozolin shared ideas, working examples and best practices in order for the traditional law library to evolve as expectations and responsibilities continue to change.

Do you believe in the common superstition that bad things happen in threes? It’s possible that some people in Tulane University’s library system started feeling that way this summer, when two water-related disasters occurred within a few months of each other, while the University is still recovering from the record-breaking disaster that happened nearly ten years ago.

What if your marketing department needed to find all the M&A deals managed by the firm during the last 5 years for supporting material to include in a response to a RFP? What if they needed to know the value of those deals? What if a partner asked you to determine the names of the lawyers that worked on real estate deals during the last 2 years? What if you were asked to find the purchase asset agreement from a recent deal the firm worked on that was written by an attorney from the other parties firm? What if your firm is going up against that same firm and working on the same deal type? Would you be able to find the information needed efficiently?

News alerts play an important role in competitive intelligence and other research-driven processes. They are the steady workhorse, keeping people current and knowledgeable on specific companies, industries and other topics. Yet news alerts also can be an intrusion, contributing to information fatigue by overloading people with useless information. Enter the value of curation.

Last month, LAC Group announced the launch of its Library as a Service (“LaaS”) platform to provide flexible, configurable and on-demand solutions for law firms and corporations seeking to make the most out of an increasing flood of information. The next series of updates focuses on our LaaS offering, with this month, we are highlighting our Knowledge Service Portal (KSP).

LAC Group’s launch of Library as a Service (“LaaS”) provides flexible, on-demand solutions for law firms and corporations seeking to make the most out of an increasing flood of information. With the natural evolution of LAC Group’s library staffing, research services, information and knowledge management consulting, and archival services, LaaS includes a full spectrum of capabilities encompassing traditional on-site staffing and library management as well as cloud-based content delivery platforms and LAC’s distributed network of North American and UK-based researchers, librarians and information specialists. At the core of LAC Group’s LaaS is a North American and UK-based distributed work force of research and information science experts.   The distributed LaaS team works virtually, responding to client-directed requests in LAC’s proprietary, secure, cloud-based platform.  The platform matches requests with the correct information specialist (or specialists), routes and tracks the progress of the request, QC’s the results/findings and then delivers back the “answer” to the client (Download At-A-Glance Workflow Diagram).

RIGHTS CLEARANCE: NEED PERMISSION, GET IT FAST!
Does your organization have a copyright policy that is supposed to be followed whenever someone needs to reprint, share electronically, or post copyrighted materials? Does your organization have a business license with the Copyright Clearance Office (CCC)? Whether it does or doesn’t, are there times that you are asked to obtain copyright permission or licensing for representatives of your business who are presenting copyrighted materials at educational programs in-house or at external events?

Without a good User Interface (UI), even the most current and complete information systems are essentially worthless. Well, perhaps “worthless” is a bit strong. Yet a well-designed, intuitive UI can mean the difference between success (prompt, relevant results) and failure (tedious, time-consuming struggle) when trying to find the data you want. Lexis Advance online legal research serviceLexisNexis® has discovered this with their online legal research service, Lexis Advance®. We're happy that the company has announced plans for some needed updates to the look and feel of this important product. Usability matters—we have found this to be true working with clients across all industry sectors using a wide range of information and knowledge management systems. And one of the building blocks of usability is a strong User Interface.

Lexis Advance, Before and After

LexisNexis has announced an improved research experience for greater speed and efficiency, with seamless transitions across all versions including the web, desktop and mobile devices. The changes are supposed to be coming “this summer” although they have not yet happened as of this writing in early August.