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Survey – Law Librarians Focusing More on Competitive Intelligence The focus is shifting toward more business intelligence research for partners and away from client-facing work, the survey results indicated. “This year’s survey results show that for firm librarians the focus is switching from practice of law research to business development research—sometimes referred to as competitive intelligence. Specifically, 75 percent of respondents expect to see requests for business of law research increase in the near future, as opposed to 52 percent expecting the same for practice of law research. Asked if the business of law has overtaken the practice of law as their researchers’ principle focus, 31 percent of respondents said it had. More significantly, 84 percent of respondents said they believe their departments should be the primary provider of business of law research for their firms. “In the old days, we used to support the practice of law. Now, we are doing research for business development and we have a very good relationship with our marketing people. We also work with individual lawyers,” says Charles Frey, the director of the library at Munger, Tolles & Olson. Have Frey or other library directors gotten more staff for the new assignments? “It has been one of the challenges,” Frey says. “We have maintained the same staff, but reallocated their time.” Likewise, survey respondents reported that their departments’ staff budgets shrunk slightly from 2017, when they averaged $842,742, to this year, when they averaged $837,697. Their departments’ budgets for print and electronic resources have gone down from $8.2 million in 2017 to $3.2 million this year, a steep 60 percent drop. Some of those cutbacks reflect multiyear subscriptions expiring for print products that were not renewed, according to the library leaders who spoke for this article. There was also an outlier in the data for 2017 that drove last year’s figure so high. Removing that outlier brings the 2017 data to $3.75 million, which would make 2018’s figures just 14 percent lower than 2017. Survey results are impacted by the number and composition of respondents, which change from year to year. The data comes from dozens of firms in the Am Law 200 and beyond…”

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