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Library Day in the Life Round 8: Monday

This blog post is part of Library Day in the Life. I am writing about my job as a business research librarian for a UK law firm.

I started at 8am this morning so I could finish at 4 and go to the gym, as I do most Mondays. This has the added bonus of meaning that I get an hours uninterrupted work time before people are likely to start calling me! Once I’d booted up my PC, made a cup of tea and got a slice of toast from the canteen, which I ate while checking my emails for anything urgent that might have come in over the weekend, I started off my day by finishing off a monthly alert I’d started putting together on Friday. It’s fairly basic, just a round-up of commercial property market research reports published by the big property agencies and consultancies over the previous month. It doesn’t need to be sent out until tomorrow, so after I’d finished I decided I’d come back and proof read it in the afternoon.

That took me up until about 9am, then I started work on producing some company factsheets. We’d been asked to do short profiles on about a dozen companies that may be potential clients, so we split the list of companies between the team and each took three to do. The profiles are to give a bit of background information so our Business Development (BD) people can see if they’re worth targeting or not. They’re pretty straightforward to do – you just need info on the company’s structure, recent financial performance, key people, who their existing legal representation is, anything you can find out about their strategy and/or future plans, and some recent news. I didn’t expect this to take long – unfortunately, the first company I looked at turned out to be an American company, based in Delaware, which meant that there was virtually nothing I could find on them. For those who haven’t done company research, a little background – in the UK we are pretty spoiled when it comes to finding company information, as the Companies Act requires companies to publish an awful lot of information about themselves. In many other countries, requirements are less stringent – and if a company is not required to release a certain piece of information, they almost certainly won’t. In the US filing requirements vary from state to state, and Delaware has only minimal filing requirements – which is why lots of companies register there! I spent some time digging around to see what I could find out about this company, and did manage to scrape up a few bits of information from various sources, but overall it was a rather frustrating experience. I then moved on the second of the three companies that had been allocated to me, and was relieved to find that this one was much more straightforward!

Once I’d finished my second factsheet I was a bit bored of company information, so decided to work on a few other things and come back to the third profile later. I made a couple of phone calls to people within the firm that I needed to catch up with. The first was to an associate who has recently returned from secondment with one of our key clients, a large pharmaceutical company – I produce a weekly news alert that goes to the in-house legal team at this client, as well as to the dedicated client team within our own firm. As she’s been “on the inside”, I’m keen to get her opinion on the kind of topics I’m covering in the alert, and any ideas she has for how it could be improved. Unfortunately she only had a few minutes free to talk when I called, so she’s said she’ll call me back when she has more time next week. I’ve made a note in my calendar to drop her another line if I haven’t heard from her by the start of the following week.

Next, I spoke to the BD manager for the Property markets team that is my main focus – I know he met with the Partner who heads the Property team last week, so I want to catch up with him about what current activity is going on and what I could be helping out with. He also only had a few minutes free (sensing a theme here!), so I’ve put a note in my diary to call him first thing tomorrow.

Spent my last half hour before lunch checking through various RSS feeds and email alerts for material to go into my pharma update (although this only goes out on Fridays I try to check my sources daily – it’s a quick job each day then, rather than a massive job at the end of the week!), then headed down to the canteen for lunch.

After lunch I decided to tackle the third company factsheet – luckily this one was a straightforward UK company too, so it went a lot quicker than the one this morning! With all three complete I let my manager know they were all done – he took the enquiry for this, so he’ll collate all the reports we’ve produced and send them on in one batch. I recorded the time I’d spent on this on SupportWorks, our enquiry logging system. I’d had a reminder through from my manager to check that all my work has been logged before the end of the month, so we can run accurate reports, so while I was there I checked through to make sure I’d closed down everything that was allocated to me, and added a couple of small enquiries that I hadn’t added at the time I did them.

I spent a bit of time reading through some of the email alerts I’d had through the day – I subscribe to various newsletters and alerts on the property market, to increase my market awareness and so that I can forward anything relevant onto the property teams. All of these are filtered into a sub-folder as they come in, so I just check it once or twice a day – I’d be far to distracted by everything dropping into my inbox otherwise!

Next, I went into our online performance review system and recorded my notes from the interim review I had last week – I usually like to do that straight after the meeting so it’s all fresh in my mind, but my manager had asked that I hold off for a couple of days while he checked some things. Not the most fun job in the world – not a huge fan of performance reviews/appraisals generally – but hey, at least that’s done for another 6 months!

I only had about 45 minutes left to go by then, so I proof-read the monthly property alert I’d finished off in the morning, then set it up to send out tomorrow morning. I then spent the last 20 minutes or so of my day reading the new issue of Estates Gazette, then dropped it into the internal mail to send to the next person on the circulation list, gathered up all my stuff and headed off to the gym.

Vital statistics:

Cups of tea: 2 (1 normal, 1 peppermint)

Emails left in inbox at end of day: 5 (it was 4, then one more appeared just as I was about to log out! Grr)

Items ticked off to-do list: 6


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