Not many professional associations are more than a century old, but the American Association of Law Libraries, founded in 1906, is one of them. And next week in Chicago, AALL will hold its 109th Annual Meeting and Conference with a future-oriented theme.

"It's not about the library. It's about the relationship the librarian has with those who do or could benefit from the library." This quote from Robert Oaks, Chief Library and Records Officer for Latham & Watkins LLP, encapsulates his panel presentation on the economic value of law libraries at the 2015 annual meeting of AALL (American Association of Law Libraries) held July 18-21 in Philadelphia.

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.

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.

There’s gold in alumni networks. It comes in the form of very real benefits to law firms and other professional services like management consulting and accounting. The following are probably the most desirable advantages:

Recruiting – When you are competing for talent, an active alumni network can be an advantage that helps tip the scale in your firm’s favor. In today’s economy and work environment, employment is not the long-term commitment or guarantee it once was, making alumni networks more attractive.

Staff Referrals – Alumni can be good referral sources to help you fill openings or gaps in skill sets or experience, not to mention the alumnus him/herself return to the firm.

Online legal research servicesWhen it comes to legal research services and databases for Big Law, the two leading providers are Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. Not too long ago, they were essentially the only players in the legal research game — but that was before the internet and the lure of Fast, Easy and often Free access to information online. Having recently touched on the differences between Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis, I thought it might be helpful to touch on the subject of low-cost and free legal research services and websites. We often get asked about less expensive options for gaining access to legal information, especially as it gets more difficult for law firms to recover the costs of these services. I have compiled a short list of six legal information resources on the internet today. This is by no means an exhaustive list; nor is it a recommendation to replace Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, Bloomberg or any other provider! In fact, those services continue to be a must-have legal information resource for many firms. Nonetheless, it is helpful to stay on top of other information options that are available to lawyers, firms and clients themselves.

Law firms find no easy answer in a comparison between Westlaw and LexisNexis. (We won’t even include Bloomberg, the third leading legal database provider, in the mix.) When it comes to making a choice between them, the ultimate decision depends on variables like a firm’s legal specialties and practice areas, client needs, user preferences and budget requirements. As such, there is no easy answer and certainly no one-size-fits all approach.


Law Librarians Convene at AALL 2013 Conference

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will hold its 106th annual meeting July 13-16, 2013 in Seattle, and LAC Group will be there. The theme for this year's conference is 'Rethink your Value', and it leads me to think of the evolution of both AALL and LAC Group. AALL is more than a century old, founded in 1906. Eighty years later, in 1986, LAC Group was founded as Library Associates Companies. No organization can remain viable for decades without a continual rethinking of the value it provides. We started as a temporary staffing firm for the law library community. Today we are an international company offering a comprehensive suite of information management services to all kinds of organizations.