At Robins Kaplan, innovation is baked into our firm’s DNA. An important part of my job as the manager of the firm’s Research Services department is to stay abreast of the latest innovations in legal research technology as well as legal library business trends, so that the services we provide to firm members are of the utmost usefulness and relevance.
One particularly forward-thinking move the Research Services department made nearly five years ago was to pivot from a traditional, paper-based library services team into a primarily digitally-based, borderless research department. We continue to offer legal research support and will always provide certain physical book titles, but now also offer business development and client development support, along with various ad-hoc, in-depth project work as requested. Because we are more of a service and less of a physical place to visit, we are seen as an inclusive service to all firm members, regardless of where they live. This move also helped (accurately) position our team as excellent wide-ranging researchers with the ability to help in many ways, instead of limiting us to certain areas. Now, we can and do pitch in on a truly varied assortment of projects, bringing our cumulative professional expertise to bear in very useful ways.
While legal research support is a crucial service we will continue to always provide, moving into business development and client development work has proven itself to be of great value to firm members. Now, when an attorney takes on a case in a new jurisdiction, or goes before an unknown (to them) judge or attorney, our Research Services team can gather immediate, actionable intelligence to help them prepare.
In future posts in this space, I will explore the changing landscape of legal research technology, and how crucial it is for law firm research departments to maintain a firm grasp on understanding of products and trends. This is an area where Research Services can be a leader, and another example of the continued evolution of our department.