Marie Wallace has enjoyed a fulfilling career as a librarian, beginning in 1951 in academia with the University of California and transitioning in 1971 into the private law library world until her 1995 retirement from O’Melveny & Myers. She is the 1997 recipient of the American Association of Law Libraries’ highest honor, the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award. Throughout her professional life, Marie has been a guiding force in the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, Practising Law Institute’s programs for law librarians and Teaching Legal Research in Private Law Libraries (TRIPLL).
Today, Marie has commenced on a new path she terms “Life in Progress,” which enables her to pursue a diversity of interests as a master swimmer, law librarian, trainer, storyboarder and designer of wearable art. She continues to be a dynamic speaker and prolific writer on such topics as private law library management, presentations and training. She is a member of Toastmasters International and is active with the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and in continuing education for private law librarians. She devotes her “free” time to various non-profit and civic activities. Always open to new ideas, Marie can be reached at: [email protected].
|Annual Reports (ARs) tell how your operation supports the organization and provide a snapshot of actions taken and ones contemplated. Before you begin writing your AR, whether your first or “umpteenth,” learn about your audience:
1. What are the organizational expectations regarding annual reporting?
- Is an AR expected from your department or operation?
- Is there a standard format or protocol in the parent organization?
- If an AR is not anticipated and you plan to write one, what can you do to reduce the element of surprise?
- In the case of multi-office law firms, will the AR be submitted on a local office or firmwide basis?
- Are copies of previous ARs from your department or operation available?
2. How are ARs used in your organization–planning, evaluation, control, unclear?
- How do you intend to use your AR in your operation(s)?
3. Who are the primary AR reader(s)–the policy makers and decision makers.
- What issues concern the primary AR reader(s)?
- What are the business needs and interests of the primary reader(s)?
4. What are professional perspectives, the communication styles and specialized jargon of the primary AR reader(s)?
- Deans, lawyers, engineers, managers of information technology, judges, court administrators, human resource managers, MBAs and accountants are likely to see the world through different lens than information professionals and use different concepts and vocabularies to articulate and prioritize organizational goals.
5. Who are the secondary AR readers?
- Will everyone on the Library or other department staff get a copy?
- Which other department heads, faculty members, judges, supervisors, board members, or professional colleagues might value a copy?
6. What is your purpose in writing the AR?
- Self-evaluation of performance
- Instill confidence
- Keep an open communication channel
- Reduce executive isolation
- Keep decision and policy makers informed of the value of your operation
- Motivate employees and staff
- Encourage sharing of information
- Record change and innovation
- Market services and products
- Public relations
7. Do you have or do you need to seek out critical planning information from the parent organization that may shape your future goals?
- Plans for expansion or reduction
- Merge with another organization
- Close an existing unit
- Move or re-location of facilities
- Change of CEO, Managing Partner, Dean, or Chair of the Board of Trustees
- Radical change in operating or service policy
- Unexpected increase/decrease in revenue
- Consolidation of operations
8. What formal or informal reporting instruments augment the AR?
- Monthly departmental financials
- Database usage tallies
- Monthly personnel summaries
- Departmental meetings
- Marketing reports
- CLE and other training reports
- Recruiting reports
- Summaries of hours billed
9. What actions and activities have priority, how much time do you have to prepare the AR, and what can you delegate to staff?
- If you have taken on new responsibilities, such as acting Dean, Conflicts Manager, Records Manager, or Director of Lawyer Training, priority may go to a state-of-the-innovation report.
10. Where are the industry or professional standards for your operation(s) that can be used for best practices norms or that your primary reader(s) may use to put your achievements in perspective?
- ABA accreditation standards
- ABA Guides for professional managers
- Price Waterhouse or other law office reports
- Library/information association reports
- Judicial administration reports