Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two-thirds of Am Law 200 have CI units

A recent survey of Am Law 200 law firms reveals that nearly two-thirds (64%) of those firms now have CI units, more than I had realized.

The CI units at these firms report to:
Marketing - 59%
Library - 33%
Marketing and the library - 8%

Consistent with surveys I’ve seen over the last three years, this latest information comes to us via Law Firm Inc.’s sixth annual survey of law firm librarians. A couple of cogent articles about the survey findings and librarians’ CI roles appeared recently in that publication, both reported by Alan Cohen:
Survey: CI on the Rise at Firm Libraries
Survey Says Librarians Like Their Jobs but Are Displeased With Vendors

The articles spotlight librarians’ enthusiasm for competitive intelligence work, although their CI role is growing slowly: CI took up 9% in library staff time in 2007 compared to 7% in 2006.

The survey also reports that at those firms responding to the survey the CI group reports to marketing at 38% of the firms, to the library at 21% of the firms, and to both marketing and the library at 5% of the firms. I assume the other 36% of firms responding do not have CI units.

If I interpret these findings correctly, this means approximately two-thirds (64%) of Am Law 200 firms now have some kind of explicit CI unit. That’s more firms than I’d imagined had taken the CI plunge.

As the saying goes, “First quantity, then quality.”

I’ll take that challenge!


Bill Fiora said...


Personally, I'm skeptical that two-thirds of firms have a stand-alone CI unit, and would be interested in your views on this statistic. Personally, I would guess that any firm that responded to the survey by saying that it was doing CI research was counted as having a CI unit. Doing occasionaly secondary searches, however, does not a CI unit make.

Ann Lee Gibson said...

Bill Fiora is right to question whether two-thirds of Am Law firms have stand-alone CI units (see Comment #1 above). I’ll try and set the record straighter by doing some primary research of my own on this issue soon. Thanks for helping to keep it real, Bill.