Monthly Archives: January 2009

Friday Fun: My Pet Lawyer

Need a companion for your Perfect Associate? How about a pet lawyer?

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Staff Cuts: A Good Idea?

Cutting staff to save money can be a good idea in two situations, first, the firm has reduced attorney count, so the corresponding staff is also reduced. Second, only after all other possibilities have been explored. Has the firm truly looked for ways to cut costs on the operations side, without sacrificing levels of service?

In a recent article from the National Law Journal, the author argues that “Arbitrary cuts in key departments, such as marketing and technology, could ultimately hurt the firm by undermining efficiency and long-term growth plans.” There are many other service areas, such as library services, that could be added to that list. Rebuilding these departments when the economy turns will be very difficult for some firms. This puts them permanently behind the curve.

Are you doing everything you can to review expenditures prior to making staff cuts? Expense reduction on a contingent basis, is a win-win proposition for the firm. If expenses aren’t reduced than no fees are paid. We have recently helped several firms save over $1 million on library services alone, and have partnered with other consultants to achieve significant savings in other areas.

Contact us today for a free no-obligation review of your library services expenditures.

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A Look Back & Looking Forward

We closed out the year with exactly three months of business under our belts. In that short time, much has changed and we have learned a lot. Since this is a typical time for reflection, we thought we would share what we’ve learned and make you an offer.

1) Be flexible.
When we started this business new associate attrition was one of the top concerns of law firm management. This concern has evaporated in light of the new economy, and others have become more prominent, such as the continuing high cost of fee-based legal resources.

2) To look at information resources with fresh eyes.
Legal research has been held hostage by tradition, even though we are living in a new age. Oftentimes we continue to provide the same services and resources merely because that’s the way it’s always been done. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on offering something new or canceling something you’ve always had; you can always reorder.

3) Information resources must be looked at holistically, regardless of media or source.
Law firms are realizing that all of their resources are interconnected, whether online, print or internal everything must work together to provide value to the user.

4) Importance of social networking for legal professionals.
Sharing information directly via the web has become a phenomenon. Tools like Twitter and LinkedIn allow lawyers to share and market themselves like never before. Where is this going? Who knows, but the journey will definitely be interesting.

5) Constant vigilance of the information resources spend.
Law firm costs are being scrutinized like never before, and this includes information resources. We are astonished at the amount of savings realized by some clients, in a short amount of time. Interested in seeing what Cable&Clark can do for you? Contact us for a free preliminary analysis of your 2008 numbers.

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Law Firm Web Presence Index Released by Muzeview

A law firm’s web site is fast becoming the primary way potential clients learn about the firm. Muzeview has just released its Law Firm Web Presence Index which ranks “different law firms against one another according to the strength of their presence on the World Wide Web.” An interesting way to measure ROI of a firm’s investment in their web site.

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Vendor News and New Resources

Thomson Reuters

LexisNexis

CCH

New Resources

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What Two Things Go Great Together?

Attorney and Bookbinder? Jobrated.com recently released their Top 200 jobs list.

At number 82: attorney.

At number 83: bookbinder.

Hat tip to ATL.

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It’s that Time of Year…Price Increase Letters

Many of you have begun to receive the annual January online price increase letters. These letters are informing you about ‘non-contract’ price increases to the underlying retail costs of a particular database or file. These price increases were started in May 2003 by West, and Lexis quickly followed suit. In the past two years, these increases have accelerated. For example, last year Westlaw increased prices three times.

‘Flat-rate contracts’ don’t protect you. These price increases:

• Lower your effective discount while;
• Increasing costs to your clients;
• Causing much higher renewal rates on future contracts, and;
• Creating a perception of higher usage

Additionally, any usage in databases outside of your contract will be much higher today than one year ago.

Vendors are certainly well within their rights to raise prices, as their costs increase just like everyone else. However, law firms have taken little notice of these price increases over the years and the impact. Perhaps its time to take a closer look.

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Friday Fun: Librarian Couch Potato Wins Again!

When a librarian sets their mind to do something…we do it! This is clearly demonstrated by Stan Friedman a research librarian at Conde Nast. Stan captured his second straight title in the Ultimate Couch Potato Competition last Friday by sitting in a recliner for over 18 hours (click here for full article)!

That’s nothing…I bet he’s had rerference requests that took longer!

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Vendor News and New Resources

LexisNexis

CCH

Gale

New Resources

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Changes to Law Firms Coming in 2009?

Professor William Henderson of Indiana University makes three predictions in a recent Chicago Tribune article:

  1. Firms will start to get smaller;
  2. The days of lock step bonuses and big raises are over; and
  3. Firms will reevaluate their capital structure.

These predictions definitely buck the trends of the last few years, but maybe that’s a good thing.

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