Benchmarking Legal Research Resources—Fact or Fiction?

From guest blogger: Sarah Clark Kavanagh

We are being asked a lot about our “Benchmarking Experience” as though it is the only ingredient in a Library Service cost reduction program.  This is scary because knowing how much something should cost is important, but it is not the only guideline in negotiating/’rightsizing’ library contracts.

You know, it’s really easy for anyone off the street to gather some data, divide it by the number of units and come up with an average.  The real work comes and is helpful when the VALUE of something is determined.

Last year we gave presentations revealing the pitfalls of negotiating information contracts, and now it’s time to reveal a few of the ploys used by the Cost Management companies who are contacting your firm to reduce library costs:

  • Library cost benchmarking is nonsense.
    • What the firm down the street spends is irrelevant to your firm and the needs of your attorneys.
    • Cost per unit and its value to your firm is what matters.
  • Sometimes your online contract or book agreements shouldn’t just be reduced – they may need to be completely restructured!
    • We see some firms pay MORE after some consultants leave simply due to the lack of a true NEEDS assessment of the practice that results in a contract structure that increases costs!
  • A law firm’s information needs change over time.
    • Has anyone talked to you about your legal research strategy and the resources you should have to support that strategy now?  Next year?
  • Did you know you can reform online contracts, save money and actually have your attorneys think they have more to work with?
  • Finally, it’s complicated, and the vendors certainly aren’t going to simplify it for you.
    • Your consultants should be assessing the individual needs of your firm, determining value and simplifying your contracts IN ADDITION TO reducing costs.  Period.

We not only help firms save money…we help them determine what they need and how much to pay for it. That’s the real bottom line.

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