November 2014 Meeting

Location: Ogletree Deakins
Attendance: 17

President Deborah Schander welcomed everyone to the third meeting of the 2014-2015 year and thanked Ogletree Deakins for hosting the event. Schander next introduced the speakers for the topic of competitive intelligence. There speakers were:

  • Louella Randall, Manager of Research Services, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
  • John Jackson, Business Research Librarian, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
  • Thomas Sneed, Associate Law Librarian for Research and Electronic Services, Emory Law


Louella Randall
Randall began by discussing how research for competitive intelligence started at her firm. One aspect of a successful competitive intelligence program was the partnership between the library and marketing departments. Librarians know how to find the information, while marketers know what to do with the information. As part of a successful partnership, Randall suggested that librarians learn what the marketing department do and how the library can help, take time to educate the marketing department on what the library can offer, and include marketing team in resource training. Randall also discussed several qualities one should have to do competitive intelligence successfully, such as knowledge of business resources, ability to work with marketing department, excellent writing skills, and comfortable doing analysis and providing a finished product to the department.


John Jackson
Jackson discussed his experiences providing competitive intelligence for Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. Jackson had never worked with a marketing department prior to working at Sutherland. One issue he dealt with early on was establishing deadlines. The marketing department would often set artificial deadline, so Jackson worked with them to clarify when the information they requested was needed. Above all, Jackson noted that the business managers are under and incredible amount of pressure, so librarians should remain flexible. Jackson also discussed the type of competitive intelligence he conducts and how he produces reports. Much of the research he does focuses on company and industry research. Due to the volume of reports he produces, Sutherland now has a template that provide for four different kinds of reports that he can produce. Jackson notes that the forms force the requester to include certain information for a particular type of report they would like to receive.


Thomas Sneed
Sneed discussed how he teaches competitive intelligence at Emory Law. Although student’s might not actually have to do a project like this if they work at a big firm, students working at smaller firms may have to conduct competitive intelligence. Sneed incorporates the topic into two classes: Technology & Legal Practice and Business & Tax Legal Research. Some resources that Sneed uses to get ideas for topics and assignments include the Atlanta law librarians, conferences, and publications.


The SLA/ALLA Joint Holiday Party will be on Tuesday, December 9th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Eclipse di Luna. The cost will be $15 for members, and $25 for non-members.