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Does Your Law Firm Have the Competitive Research Edge?

Information is power. It can be the difference between winning and losing. That’s why your law firm needs access to the right information and FAST! Leveraging the information sourced by your knowledge researchers, using the most up-to-date library management tools, will give your firm the competitive research edge.

Lawyers are Not Research Specialists

Does your law firm hire attorneys based on their research skills? No, of course not! That’s what knowledge and research specialists provide. We’re not saying attorneys can’t find information, eventually. We are saying knowledge staff do it faster and better.

The quicker your attorneys access the right information, the more successful their outcomes. The cost to your firm is high when staff don’t get the correct information quickly. Your brilliant attorneys working together with your knowledge specialists make for a formidable team. That’s your competitive research edge!

8 Reasons Why Knowledge Management Teams are Cost and Time Effective

A well-resourced and well-staffed knowledge and research center provides many benefits. There are too many to list, but here are eight critical benefits you and your firm will gain from the research and management skills of information specialists that will give your firm the competitive research edge.

1. They Find the Information Your Attorneys Need, When They Need It, Fast

Finding the right information is just one of the skills your knowledge specialists bring to the business. They will find the information your attorneys need, not just something that “will do”.
They know where to find it fast. It could be from specialized databases, current and previous cases, journals, or internally created documents. But, that’s not all. They curate the existing and newly acquired resources, ensuring all that information is easily retrievable.

2. Can Your Attorneys Be Sure They’ve Got the Right Information?

Sure, you could just tell your attorneys and paralegal staff to “just use Google, it’s on the internet somewhere”, but have you ever done a Google search? How do you know:

  • Whether you’ve used the right search term or phrase?
  • What is the information you want from the millions of results you get?
  • Whether those results include the information you need?
  • Whether the information is valid or the most recent information on the topic?
  • What to do if the information you need is locked behind a paywall?

How many times do you go past the first page of results? Searching Google, or any other search engine, is not as efficient or effective when the information you seek is specialized.

Your knowledge staff specialize in research to source information that is relevant to your business efficiently. They will:

  • Research and filter large volumes of information.
  • Assess information to ensure it is valid, reliable, and applicable.
  • Ensure subscriptions to industry-specific databases to match your firm’s information needs.
  • Categorize material according to topics and subject groups.
  • Organize resources of all kinds in user-friendly formats to ensure ease of access.
  • Store resources securely to ensure access to authorized staff.
  • Digitize hard copy files, reports, cases and other documents.
  • Maintain and preserve digitized resources. Formats change, which may result in loss of data.

Time is money. Having knowledge specialists who know how to find information and where to find it increases efficiency and accuracy. Investing in the right specialists for the right tasks ensures a return on your investment.

3. Facilitate Access to Curated Information Anywhere, Anytime

How valuable is it for attorneys and paralegal staff to access the information they need when they need it? How important is it that those resources are collated, categorized, and easily accessed anytime, from anywhere?

With a library management system like Liberty, knowledge specialists will ensure it is available to your firm’s staff anytime, anywhere, no matter what time of day or night, or on which device!

When key staff can access information, without the barriers of time or place, the cost benefits to them and your firm is significant.

4. Create and Manage the Firm’s Knowledge Base

Law firms generate vast amounts of internal data that has future use. Corporate knowledge, from processes to practice standards and case files, is valuable.

Knowledge specialists:

  • Curate the firm’s knowledge requirements
  • Ensure it is categorized for easy access
  • Ensure the knowledge base is fit for purpose.

It is a one-stop current information shop. No more siloed information. Everyone authorized to access confidential information knows precisely where to find it. No longer do they need to waste time asking other staff where they can find, or who can tell them the location of the information they need.

5. Gather and Analyze the Business Intelligence

The continual gathering, and analyzing, of business intelligence is vital to ensuring your competitive research edge. Attorneys hear many interesting snippets of information when they are out and about. But, to whom do they pass on such information? It needs to be recorded, researched and verified, managed and disseminated to the relevant people in the business.  This includes information such as:

  • Who are your competitors – the up and comers, the innovators?
  • Who of your traditional competitors is evolving or devolving?
  • What are your competitors doing in your marketplace?
  • Are there any trends to be aware of?
  • What are they offering?
  • Which changes to their areas of specialization are gaining traction (or not)?
  • To whom are potential clients speaking?

A knowledge specialist can research these issues and disseminate it logically and clearly to those who need to know.

6. Provide Analytical Reports – Statistics That Identify Trends and Curated Information

No doubt you and your staff require reports designed to meet specific requirements.

Knowledge specialists produce those detailed, analytical reports on areas critical to the needs of their broad base of users, be they decision-makers, financial staff, or attorneys.

The analyzed data generated on those reports must be fit for purpose and delivered in text and graphics formats. But is the reporting tool they use up to par?

7. Automate the Dissemination of Personalized Notifications on Research, Practice Areas, and Newly Acquired Resources

Attorneys and associated staff need to be updated quickly on:

  • What resources are available
  • Information and resources they have requested from knowledge managers
  • Newly acquired or created information of interest to them.

Knowledge specialists save the firm’s staff time and energy to get on with their jobs by providing what they need, sometimes before they know they need it! Give your knowledge specialists the tools to deliver these essential services.

8. Manage the Up-To-Date Security Requirements of Your Firm’s Data

Data security is vital for your law firm. It is private and confidential. Do your attorney’s and associated staff know how to:

  • Secure your firm’s sensitive data
  • Ensure the records of staff users are secure
  • Establish authorized access based on requirements and security clearance
  • Amend authorized access as required
  • Archive confidential or sensitive information securely when necessary?

With the right system, your knowledge specialists can secure your information, minimizing any risk of unauthorized access or loss of vital information.

Does Your Knowledge Team Have the Best Tools Available?

Ask yourself, “does my firm have the competitive research edge?”. Do you know whether your knowledge staff use the best tools to accomplish, cost-effectively, your firm’s competitive knowledge goals? Ask them!

If they don’t, advise them to contact Softlink Information Centres about the Liberty library management system and illumin, the research and knowledge management system. Your knowledge staff will love them and the ROI for your firm will amaze you. Give them the tools to help your firm reach even higher. Knowledge is how you gain and maintain that competitive research edge!