Monday, July 19, 2010

Law Librarians

Firms have many labels for this type of work -- business development, business intelligence, competitive intelligence, business background searches, due diligence, conflicts, and client intake information, among others. But regardless of their names, all of these functions can be supported by the information professionals in the library or research department. Whether the firm needs creditworthiness information regarding a potential client's business partner or seeks to monitor the landscape and identify the major players and projects in a particular industry, law librarians are a powerful asset. In some cases, the need will be "one time" for a particular business background report on a company; in others, the typical workflow involves ongoing, complex project management, and continuous updating and tracking of critical information.

While the J.D./M.L.S. combination is well-known, particularly in academic settings, law librarians working in private firms often hold an M.B.A. or other business-oriented degree. As a result, many are proficient at analyzing the competitive environments in which a given company or industry operates -- sometimes referred to as the Five Forces, or SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analyses.