Optimizing the Law Firm Library and Legal Research

By: Nina Cunningham, Unbiased Consulting

Law firm operations have changed dramatically for many firms since the Coronavirus erupted in early 2020.  But legal research remains an important activity for lawyers in serving client needs. As more lawyers work from home, firms recognize that physical libraries waste valuable resources because they demand both maintenance and space.  A librarian may be available to answer calls from homebound lawyers, but print materials duplicate what can be used more efficiently and effectively in electronic format.

Electronic resources continue to expand and create uncertainty as to how to choose the right resources for a firm or legal department.  Unbiased Consulting can show users how to avoid duplication as well as reduce the high costs of research needed to create quality work product. Unbiased Consulting serves as an advocate for firms in creating the right mix of services and the right budget for doing so.

The cost of legal research services is a common concern. Firms try to reduce high research costs on their own, but legal research contracts demand special understanding of provider negotiation practices, pricing models, and policies. As a result, firms addressing cost control measures on their own may experience less than optimal gains. Because we understand that provider negotiation and pricing models change over time, Unbiased Consulting can improve opportunities to reset contracting goals and improve return on research investments.

Unbiased Consulting’s contractual cost reduction efforts have resulted in savings from 20-45% based on contracts executed by their own personnel.  This savings can be considerable when   legal research is likely the most specialized—and most expensive—of firm operating costs.

Unbiased Consulting provides the needed expertise in Library & Research Services.  Depending on a firm’s practice areas and research needs, we find that some cost reduction efforts are overlooked more than others.  These are:

  • Introducing alternatives to some of the expensive research services used today
  • Reviewing all long-standing subscriptions and contracts to determine current need
  • Evaluating cost structures of contracts as a percentage of total firm revenue and expense

Unbiased Consulting can help your firm introduce alternative research services and/or help you survey your lawyers to determine what information and resources are most important to each practice group, each lawyer, and each client. 

You may find that changes you make today will serve you long term and help your lawyers develop confidence about the quality of work they can perform without investing in high-cost proprietary information services.