Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Is it Time for Law Firms to Market "Non Lawyer" Expertise and Contributions?

At the PLL Summit this year, lawyer and  law firm consultant Jordan Furlong pointed out that the law firms are the only institution that define half of their employees by "what they are not."  Law firms are neatly divided into lawyers and non-lawyers. Furlong's blogpost The Non-Lawyer Gap in Law Firms Narrowing or Widening,  suggests that this division does not optimize collaborative teamwork or deliver the highest level of efficiency. Although clients are pressuring firms to engage in creative staffing  in order to enhance efficiency, how many firms actively promote the value of their  "non-lawyer" support teams? Firms routinely  brag about their use of outsourced or offshore teams, but remain silent about the many talented "non-lawyers" who contribute experience, efficiency and unique talents to client support. Are firms overlooking the marketing value of half of their own institutional talent pool? Is this omission perpetuated  by Furlong's observation that, lawyers can never entirely forgive staff for their "original sin" of  lacking a law degree.

Making Staff Talent Part of the Pitch When Burr & Forman Launched their new website in November, they issued a press release announcing that their new website included more than 40 videos  highlighting  both lawyers and staff. Burrr & Forman is a 300 attorney regional law firm with offices in 9 cities in the southeast US. Their press release states that the videos and new interactive features on their website were developed as a result of client feedback.

Highlighting the Library Director and Research Support!  Library Director Helen Walker and library staff and services are featured in three sections of the website, including  "Working at Burr," "Advanced Work Place" and "Summer Associates."

Watch Summer Associates  provide  commentary noting that  the library staff are among the most valuable resources available to them.

What are Other Firms Doing?

Is Burr & Forman  pioneering a new trend? Respond To This Brief Survey

Results will be reported in mid January.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, thanks for writing a great blog post! A few years ago, I looked at the top AmLaw firm websites to see if KM professionals were noted anywhere on their websites, whether in biographies, services offered, or firm descriptions. I was surprised by how few firms made any mention of KM, since in so many firms, these folks are or were trained lawyers. A few were even former partners, and these guys became invisible once they moved over to the administrative side. What shocked me was that, at the same time, many firms were responding to RFPs from corporations that contained specific questions about firm's KM initiatives and technology. You would have thought at least a few firms would have noticed, and put a sentence or two on the website somewhere.
    So, we have a long way to go before we see much change for libraries and librarians -- but it is long overdue!