AALL announced details on its plans to produce a ROI study about law librarians and law libraries (press release available here). AALL announced late last week their selection of HBR Consulting to conduct the study. The results of this study will provide empirical data concerning the value of law librarians, which will be a boon to law firm administrators especially in regards to their budgetary assessments of library staffing.

The project is projected to take six months to complete, but once it is available I will be especially curious about and excited to see an explicit, dollar amount value attributed to what law librarians provide. ROI figures for the more customer service-y aspects of our profession have never previously been available, and too difficult for us to really assess on our own: What is the value of teaching cost effective methods of legal researching? How do you measure the cost-saving implications of providing practice groups with custom interfaces that contain, organize, and localize all the databases they need? How valuable, in a cost-savings sense, is the research law firm librarians conduct?

The creation of this study has been a primary goal of AALL President Steven P. Anderson, as evidenced by Greg Lambert’s 3 Geeks and a Law Blog coverage of the story (available here). And the timing for this information is perfect: in an environment where law librarian’s roles are being changed, and in some cases diminished, there is an absolute need for empirical data showing our true value.

Kudos to AALL for pursuing this!