Monday, October 03, 2011

A Different Form of Reference Service: My Experience

After reading Betsy Chessler's article on Restructuring the Desk about the changes in her firm's reference services, I can relate to the similar process of providing research services to attorneys across the country. I worked at a global law firm and was at the Dallas location within their North American Offices. These offices were structured based on time zones:

-Eastern Zone--New York, DC and Miami

-Central Zone--Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Toronto (hard to explain why Toronto is not in the Eastern Time Zone)

-Western Zone--San Francisco, San Diego, and Palo Alto

In our system, attorneys, paralegals and staff sent an email to the librarian at their designated office needing information. There were times when one is unable to retrieve a source, that individual would send an email to their zone for assistance. On other occasions, if an attorney from a different time zone needs assitsance because their library service is closed for the day, a library staff member from the other time zone can locate information. Overall, the firm managed to provide their services to everyone across the North American region without any hassle. Even though this form of reference service does provide the face-to-face traditional interaction, our attorneys knew our library and information services were dependable.

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