As research and information services director, you know that hiring the right research analysts is essential to maximize support for your firm’s business development efforts. Here are some of the things you should be looking for when hiring next-generation research analysts for your law firm.
1. Hire analysts who want to deliver actionable and tailored intelligence at scale.
Most research departments haven’t managed to create an effective social-technical system that combines people, processes, and technology that enables them to rapidly handle hundreds of analytical intelligence requests about their clients and industries. Their analysts spend too many hours manually retrieving content from desktop-based sources, pasting it into templates, and formatting reports. The unfortunate reality is that your new analysts may spend way too much of their time over the next few years manually completing Word templates. If so, it’s important to be aware that the best talent is not interested in doing drudge work. They want to create intelligence reports with concise analytical insights and background information to prepare their partners and business development managers exceptionally well for meetings in order to make a difference. The best analysts want to produce research that drives revenue generation for the firm. If you have an effective research platform or a budget for intelligence-reporting software with API-driven data feeds and tools that support collaborative analysis, use it as a selling point to attract top candidates.
2. Hire analysts who enjoy collaborating across functional teams
More and more law firms realize how critical it is to foster shared situational awareness and understanding of clients/industries among lawyers, business development (BD) personnel, and others. These firms want their reports to go beyond static flat PDF documents attached to emails. They want to build dynamic online intelligence hubs that enable shared situational awareness among researchers, BD managers, lawyers, and client relationship managers. They realize that interactions between these roles drive a better understanding of clients, of the firm’s work, and of the business context driving actual and potential research requests. So, clearly state that your analysts need to collaborate closely with colleagues, contribute insights about industry developments that will likely impact clients, and discuss how the firm can provide unique value. The top talent will love this. Check whether your prospective analysts appreciate that they must understand the business context surrounding requests to produce a highly relevant and valuable research report.
3. Hire analysts committed to achieving a vision of proactive and customized research
Leading law firms want to synchronize their marketing, business development, and research activities as well as be more proactive in anticipating events that create legal risk for clients and opportunities for revenue growth. Savvy firms are either planning or starting to author procedures and business rules to achieve more reliable and timely information sharing and collaboration across teams engaged in various activities. They expect that client/industry developments that research departments must learn to anticipate will trigger legal work opportunities and the need to initiate marketing, legal research, and thought leadership activities. Analysts will achieve “anticipatory intelligence” by building models and authoring business rules. For example, when an indicator event occurs, or an emergent industry pattern (e.g. new regulation) reaches a threshold, analysts will produce a report with specific elements of information, lawyers will publish thought leadership pieces, and BD managers will look for speaking opportunities.
4. Hire analysts who want to leverage AI-powered tools to deliver customized reports at scale and reuse institutional knowledge
It takes a while for new analysts to learn which information to include in reports for attorneys from different practice groups who are dealing with diverse company types in various industries and business contexts. If your research team has not yet documented this institutional knowledge, then it’s time to do so. Your analyst training should include a conceptual model of the factors needed to describe the context of a partner’s or team’s need for research/intelligence. This model will help research analysts understand what to include in a report. These factors may relate to meeting types, intended reader roles, the kind of company profiled, and the types of legal services to be provided.
Platforms like MindPeer help law firm research analysts select the data fields, natural language questions, and sections to include and address in intelligence reports for different practice groups, industry teams, and individual attorneys. You want analysts that recognize this capability and automated completion of report templates via data feed APIs as an opportunity to free up their time to focus on higher-value analysis. If the candidates view this automation as a threat to their livelihood, they may have a superficial understanding of technology. They may also be afraid of doing more demanding analytical work compared to completing static templates.
You want to hire analysts who treat information as a strategic asset and want to make the content from past reports more findable and reusable. In addition, they should understand the potential of taxonomies and ontologies such as the SALI Alliance LMSS, the Financial Industry Business Ontology (FIBO), and Natural Language Processing technology to tag unstructured text with metadata.
5. Hire analysts who deeply care about data quality and want to make data-driven decisions to improve research processes
Your analysts need to care about which internal/external sources they should use for conducting client and industry intelligence and for ensuring the quality of the data they provide. It’s a positive indicator if a candidate is eager to make sure that each data field incorporated into a report comes from high-quality sources. In addition, the most diligent analysts will want to know the source from which data providers received the information being published and how frequently they refresh the data.
Experienced research analysts know which companies and products supply the highest quality data for each field used in a report and when it makes sense to compare answers from different sources.
Next-generation analysts will want to analyze information regarding the utilization of data sources to help their departments negotiate data-feed subscription licenses armed with data-driven insights. Then their firms can spend money on data strategically and wisely. For example, they will know which data fields and sources their firm uses most frequently in reports to advise their departments to rightsize their API purchases.
Your candidates may not check all of the above boxes, but they should be well-aligned with your intent.
For more information please visit MindPeer’s Website