The legal profession has been slow to adopt many Web 2.0 technologies, but we are getting there. A recent survey by CCH found that:
- 59% use Web 2.0 technology at least once per week – most use it for professional purposes
- 54% of social media usage is for professional research
- 72% of professionals value information from peers as much as something published in a book
In 2008, the ABA Legal Technology Report wasn’t so promising (see Web 2.0 Still a No-go), but the complete 2009 Survey was recently released, and there have been some big changes:
- When asked whether their firms maintain a presence in an online community/social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn, LawLink, or Legal OnRamp, overall twelve percent (12%) of respondents report affirmatively, up from 4% in the 2008 survey
- When asked whether they personally maintain a presence in an online community/social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn, LawLink, or Legal OnRamp, overall, 43% of respondents answered affirmatively, almost three times the percentage (15%) in the 2008 survey
We still have a long way to go, but I think that most in the profession are open to learning more about new technologies that will improve their practice and service to clients. I recently showed my Google Reader to an attorney who confessed that he did not know what I meant when I asked him about receiving information via an RSS feed. Once I showed it to him and explained how it would help cut down on email, he was hooked.
Hat tip to explodedlibrary bunker.
Sarah Clark Kavanagh will be speaking at the September 23 meeting of the Orange County Chapter of the ALA. The group has opened its doors to all of those in firm management, and not just administrators. To make reservations, click here.
It’s been a couple of weeks since the 2009 survey was released, and the results have been on my mind. Here are some of my thoughts:
- Budgets for resources have shrunk 46%. This is no surprise to any of us, but, the survey also mentions that 43% of respondents report that their budgets are larger. I wonder what those librarians are doing to secure increases in this economy?
- 62% of respondents said that the library is their firm’s main source for marketing research, which is a good thing in my opinion. The more the library can support internal “customers” the better. However, tracking the results of these efforts and making sure that the library is recognized can be difficult. As a library director mentions in the article “90% of my own work is public relations.” I couldn’t agree more, and believe that library director is the “head cheerleader” and nothing else is as important.
- Lexis or Westlaw? This year, 31% of firms said that they intended to move to a single-vendor strategy versus just 12% last year. Is this surprising? No, not really, as these two services usually combine for more than half of the library budget. Additionally, the commoditization of primary law and the growth of small specialty providers has significantly changed the market.
- Average yearly librarian billable hours are up from 300 to 350, however, it doesn’t seem like this was a factor in saving jobs, as staff counts are down for 57% of respondents. Should librarians seek to increase their billable hours? I’m not sure. While there are direct benefits to billing out librarian time, the question really is: How can the value of the library staff be communicated outside of the “billable hour”?
- Firms are starting to use technology to organize and deliver content in new ways. I wonder why this is occurring now? I have a feeling that the concept of “information overload” has finally caught up with many firms, and there is a realization that investment in information infrastructures is not just “nice to have,” but necessary.