Sharing Information

CALL Continuing Education Event: Librarians as Strategic Partners to Lawyers

On October 20, 2015, Neal, Gerber and Eisenberg hosted a CALL Continuing Education Event, “Forecasting Opportunities for Rainmakers: Librarians as Strategic Partners to Lawyers.” Below is a description of the program followed by a recap by one of the law firm librarian panelists, Skadden’s Vanessa Meihaus.

Program Description: “Law librarians have the opportunity to innovate their roles from traditional legal researchers to strategic business development partners. Join three of your peers to hear how they have evolved their roles to help lawyers develop new business opportunities and identify new markets.”


  • Working collaboratively with marketing/business development teams.
  • Embedding with practice and industry groups.
  • Moving from providing information to providing intelligence.
  • Marketing your services internally

Moderator: John Wernikowski, US Northeast Sales Director, Manzama


  • June Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library Services, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Holly Barocio, Marketing & Communications Manager, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
  • Vanessa Meihaus, Head Librarian, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates.
Photo of Vanessa Meihaus
Vanessa Meihaus


Saccharine alert: I’m going to talk about sharing once or twice in this recap of “Forecasting Opportunities for Rainmakers,” but after looking at my notes from the panel discussion, I can’t help but notice a theme. Make the toddler inside you proud by sharing with your marketing and business development (BD) teams and the attorneys in your firm.

Share strategies. When you learn something new, share it with those who can use it. A tip from a continuing education program, a good article, or a new resource may be valuable to your marketing or BD departments, perhaps even more beneficial than it is to you.

Share insights by highlighting useful content. You don’t have to provide legal analysis to enhance the value of the information you send. Rather than just saying “See attached” in your emails, include a sentence or two about why you selected the information you are sending.

  • If an alert turns up big news about an existing client, include a note about other matters involving the client.
  • If you identify a new development in an industry or topic of interest, include info about existing clients or matters in the same areas.
  • If you are sending several articles, tell the recipient which really stand out.
  • You can always share your expertise as well. Let the recipient know when you have experience in an industry or subject matter of interest, especially if its new to him or her.

Think about how much business is done via mobile devices these days, and try to provide useful intelligence in the body of your email. The attachments you also include can be viewed when time and technology permit.

Share a cup of coffee. If you haven’t joined forces in a while, reach out. Send an email, meet for coffee, or pop your head into the marketing department when you walk the halls. A friendly reminder might lead to an immediate opportunity to work together. At the very least, you’ll nurture your relationship, making future collaborations more enjoyable and productive. (You can actually each have your own cup of coffee, of course.)

Hoarding skills, knowledge, and work doesn’t help the firm, and it certainly doesn’t help us maintain a work-life balance. Leveraging one another’s strengths and weaknesses by collaborating and sharing allows each of us to contribute to the firm’s success using our unique skills and resources.