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Library Day in the Life Round 8: Tuesday

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.

Started at 9 today, so didn’t have to get up quite as early as yesterday! The day started off pretty well when I found my payslip on my desk as I got in (oh payday! I’ve missed you so much! Don’t leave it so long before you visit again, ok?). Sadly it quickly took a turn for the worse as I headed down to the canteen for a slice of toast only to discover that they had run out of crunchy peanut butter, and I had to make do with the (obviously) vastly inferior smooth variety. Boo.

Smooth peanut butter

Pictured: the poor man's breakfast spread. Photo courtesy of kurafire on Flickr

No time to mope though: I had to quickly overcome this crushing disappointment and get on with checking my emails and planning what I needed to do today. Started off by deleting about 20 out of office replies I’d got to the monthly property alert email I’d scheduled to send first thing this morning – that’s actually far less than I usually get from this email, it goes to a lot of people! I guess not many people are on holiday at the end of January… I then phoned the business development (BD) manager I’d talked to yesterday about the property markets strategy, but got his voicemail. Left him a message, then went to talk to one of my library colleagues about the trainee seat moves that are happening next month (note for those not well acquainted with law firms – the trainee solicitors spent several months with each practice team within the firm during their two-year traineeship. These are referred to as “seats”. They move seats a couple of times a year, and each time we offer them refresher courses in research skills, if they want/need it, and also try to bring their attention to any resources, specific to their new seat, that they might not have used before).

I wanted to catch up with my colleague about what, if anything, was planned for the new Real Estate trainees. My half of the team, the business research half, typically has little contact with the trainees – the assumption has always been that it is partners, associates and the BD teams who have most need of the client and market intelligence that we produce. That is true to a certain extent, but we’ve realised that the trainees often do get asked to find out background info on clients or potential clients, and they probably don’t know that it’s something we can do for them. The first we usually hear of it is when a panicked trainee calls the helpdesk because they’ve googled the client, found nothing useful, and don’t know what to do next! The plan is to introduce the clients & markets team’s services to the trainees once they’ve been in their new seats for a week or so, and they’re not quite so overwhelmed with new information.

On getting back to my desk I still hadn’t heard back from the BD manager, so I decided to watch a recorded webinar from DTZ, about the UK property investment webinar. A number of the property firms do these kinds of webinars and briefings, and they’re useful for me to improve my market and sector knowledge, as well as allowing me to pass on any useful info from the webinar to the lawyers in my team who are usually too busy to sit through an entire webinar. I typed my notes as I was watching it, so once it was done I could just give it a quick proof read and then send on to the property markets team.

After the webinar the BD manager called me back, so I had a brief chat with him about the property team’s strategy. It transpired that he is in the process of revising the strategy, so I’ve put some time in the calendar for us to have a catch up this time next week, when most of the work on this should have been done and he’ll have a bit more to tell me. It wasn’t a waste of a phone call though – he also mentioned a specific property company that the team has decided to target, and said that two of the partners have already started work on identifying any contacts within the firm who could help them get a first meeting. Armed with this knowledge, I emailed the partners in question, attaching an example of an in-depth profile I had produced on another company, and asking if they would like something similar on this new target. They responded immediately and enthusiastically, so I decided to start on it straight away. I worked on it for the next hour, taking me up until lunchtime.

After lunch, I thought I’d put the property profile to one side and work on a slightly simpler request – we’ve been asked to put together very basic info on the companies attending an upcoming event, and brief biographies of the people from each company attending. We’re working through the guest list as a team, each taking a handful of companies to look at. This only came in yesterday and isn’t due for another couple of weeks, but I like to get these things done while I have time – no telling how busy or otherwise I’ll be over the next couple of weeks, so I don’t want to leave it until the last-minute and then discover I’ve got four other urgent deadlines to meet at the same time! It’s fairly straightforward work, so I got through the first company I’m doing quite quickly.

I had quite a lot of emails in my current awareness folders by that point, so I spent the next hour reading through them, forwarding on some items to people I knew would be interested, saving a few to my Diigo account for later reference, and updating the intranet pages I maintain with some others. Once I’d done this I only had about an hour left to go, so I worked on my property company profile up until the end of the day. Got a decent amount done, but there’s still quite a lot to do – in-depth profiles are quite time-consuming, especially for companies as large as this one, so I’ll probably be working on this for most of the week.

Vital statistics:

Cups of tea: 3 (2 normal, 1 peppermint)

Emails left in inbox at end of day: 5

Items ticked off to-do list: 3

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