Recurve team member Kathy Agno was recently featured in the September/October Issue of American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Spectrum Magazine. An excerpt of the article with Kathy’s interesting perspective about COVID-19’s influence on legal innovation is below.
Q: Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your library/organization’s innovation road map? If so, how? What are you doing to keep your staff one step ahead?
Kathy Agno: Innovation is traditionally defined by the paradigm of people, process, and technology. Legal innovation involves the challenge of delivering legal services in a value-driven way. Law firms are tasked with finding tools that can solve their client’s current problems and have the flexibility, bandwidth, and foresight to resolve problems that arise in the future. Often, it is a matter of not falling for fads or buying what is deemed the next shiny tool. Innovation has always afforded law librarians, legal information professionals, and knowledge managers the opportunity to use their skills as gatekeepers, guides, and gurus to drive innovation within their organizations to better serve their patrons and clients. They possess the skills to vet new tools, negotiate their purchases, and work across their organizations to facilitate implementation and adoption.
In early 2020, the onset of the pandemic accelerated the need for innovative solutions. Before 2020, many were already working on transitioning their firms from print to digital libraries. The pandemic merely sped up the demand for mobile resources, and many law librarians were able to quickly work with their vendors to meet this need. There has also been a greater focus on having a core package of tools and resources. This is not a matter of going to one vendor and purchasing their suite of tools. Law librarians are playing an integral role in evaluating the legal research and technology market and curating a collection of tools to meet their organizations’ legal and business needs.
To this end, at Greenberg Traurig, the library works extensively with the firm’s subsidiary, Recurve Solutions, to collaborate with our technological partners to offer customized solutions for law firms and legal departments. We help select and implement tools used for due diligence review in various corporate transactions. We also promote our Recurve Connect collaboration platform and the services of our Innovation Architects, who can design and deliver these platforms across a variety of practice areas.
To meet the demands of innovation, it helps to have your team engage in various design thinking exercises in which they work together to discover and identify the scope of a problem, brainstorm and test various solutions, solicit feedback, and work toward implementing the solution across the organization. Many people often believe innovation can happen overnight. It does not. It takes time. There may be some trial and error, and it often requires one to have a good read of one’s culture to determine whether a certain innovation is the right fit. By managing expectations and emphasizing the need for open communication among the team and our organization, we continue to keep up with the changing pace of innovation.