Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Law Firm Mandates Associate Westlaw Training to Improve Efficiency

Greg Lambert at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog writes a great post about one national law firm that finally got tired of inefficient Westlaw searching eating away at their bottom line. They mandated "best practices" in Westlaw searching and a training lunch for all litigation associates, and any other associates who might use Westlaw.

After several meetings in Boston with a wide selection of private librarians, I was hearing a great deal of need for firms to take things in hand. Apparently, too many firms do not require training, or do not adequately support training by the librarians. They are missing a major way to make the firm more efficient! Not only in terms of Westlaw and Lexis searching, but in other research methods as well, the firm librarians can be hidden resources of great value.

Greg's excellent post, and the comments that follow at the blog note that the importance of the training goes to several points:

1) What is and is not covered in the firm's contract.

When the researcher does not understand the ramifications of searching beyond the contract limits, the bill can rapidly soar beyond what the client should be asked to pay. And the firm will end up "writing off," or hiding the bill. Bad business plan!

2) A combination of a good trainer from Westlaw and Lexis and the librarian can be the best option for the training...

The rep knows what the latest additions are and is really taught how to train. But the librarian knows what is in the library and can fill in the researchers about how to cut costs by using a print resource in the library, or finding a different database in a different online resource or the open Web. With a good relationship, the training can offer the best of both worlds and show the associates how to cut costs and be efficient with their time.

Excellent blog post, Greg!

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