Law Library Consultants Celebrates 32nd Anniversary

Posted on Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Law Library Consultants, Inc. just celebrated 32 years of incorporation! As Minnesota’s first and only full-service business for law libraries, LLC provides law firms, corporate legal departments, and county law libraries with a variety of customizable services; including consulting, library management and maintenance, reference and research, Intranet development and maintenance, and staff placement. LLC services are adaptable to fit both temporary and on-going client needs. In keeping with LLC’s mission to provide quality law library services in an efficient and cost-effective manner, its employees are experienced, conscientious, and hard-working.

Kathleen Bedor founded LLC as a consulting firm in 1972, when the Dorsey firm requested a 10 year library space growth projection. (their library reached capacity in the projected 10th year.) Over the next 14 years, LLC gained experience in consulting, reference, and research in many law library environments: law firm, corporate, academic and public.

In 1986, LLC was incorporated and expanded to a full-service business with employees in the field to take care of on-going library management and maintenance, including loose-leaf filing, reference and research, and special projects.

Clients describe LLC as a “friend of the firm”, being a confidential and reliable source to discuss library management issues, staff planning and development, and problem solving of all sorts. Over the years, LLC has developed and enhanced various consulting services:

• Strategic Planning
• Collection Planning and Valuation
• Facility Planning and Library Moves
• Information Audits
• Vendor Contract Negotiations
• Marketing & Branding
• Staff Development

Consulting projects vary from simple to complex. A few years ago, when Lawyers Joint Law Library decided to disband with only one remaining partner firm, LLC performed the collection valuation, sold off the designated books, furniture, and equipment, merged (and cataloged) the retained titles into the remaining firm’s collection, planned the firm’s main and regional libraries, and advised firm management on LJLL staff retention, duties, and compensation.

Vendor Contract Negotiations
With flat rate contracts becoming the second greatest expense (after employee compensation) for most organizations, negotiating vendor contracts on behalf of clients has grown into an important and increasingly popular LLC service. After many years of representing firms and legal departments in flat rate contract negotiations, I believe that organizations have the right to representation in these negotiations, in order to get the best possible terms.

The AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers (July 2006) outlines principles that should be followed in these vital negotiations:
#3 Fair Dealing. Publishers should engage in fair dealings with their customers. (Fair dealing is defined as “the conduct of business with full disclosure”)
#3.2 Fair negotiations. Publishers should engage in open and fair negotiations with customers regarding license agreements and other contracts.
#3.2(a) Publishers should not bind their customers to a non-disclose clause as a non-negotiable requirement of doing business.

Examples of unfair business practices would include vendor attempts to use confidentiality agreements to exclude disclosure of firm usage information, as well as other methods to prevent or undermine 3rd party representation in negotiations.

Collection Valuations
Clients request collection valuations when selling books or libraries, and for insurance purposes. LLC did the valuations on all the used books donated to the new law school at the University of St. Thomas.

Information Audits
LLC conducts Information Audits for law firms and corporate legal departments. The IA, as a diagnostic tool, identifies user needs and flags areas needing improvement. Results of the audit can be used to strengthen practice area resources by identifying the most appropriate format for any particular resource (print, electronic, Intranet), to make collection development decisions (to acquire or to weed titles), and to design user services to best meet research and information needs. As part of the IA, interviews are conducted with each practice group, as well as with library, IS, and Marketing staff to gain comprehensive firm feedback. After the interviews and subsequent data analysis, the audit report is generated with an action plan for the client. The IA becomes the basis and reference point for all library/information resource center planning.

Intranet Development and Maintenance
LLC offers a cost-effective Intranet for law firms and corporate legal departments. These are enhanced and customized for individual clients. Intranets are maintained 24/7.

Knowledge Management
KM issues usually surface in an Information Audit. LLC works on custom comprehensive KM solutions that cost effectively address electronic document management.

Reference and Research
Reference and Research services are provided onsite on a regular basis or as needed. Off-site reference and research services are also available and include Legislative Histories. LLC is asked to do Legislative Histories since they can be very labor-intensive and difficult to do off-site by a busy law library staff. Competitive Intelligence services are also provided.

Placement services include temporary or permanent placement of part-time or full-time librarians, library assistants, and clerical positions (including loose-leaf filers). Consider using this helpful service when your library is short staffed and needs coverage for vacations, maternity leaves, and special projects!

The last 32 years have been ones of great change and challenge in the law library world. The future will move even faster, making greater demands on already-limited resources. Law Library Consultants looks forward to continuing to provide quality, enhanced and cost-effective services that will provide law libraries with the support to succeed and thrive in such an environment.