A Conversation with Zena Applebaum

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In the short interview below, competitive intelligence (CI) expert Zena Applebaum discusses her career in CI, why this is an important skill set for legal information professionals, and how you can benefit from attending the AALL Competitive Intelligence Foundations program.


Faculty Spotlight

Zena Applebaum

Competitive Intelligence Foundations      
October 27, 2017
Sidley Austin LLP
1 S. Dearborn St, 38th floor
Chicago, IL 60603

How did you begin your career in competitive intelligence (CI)? 

My career in CI began by accident. I was working at what was Canada’s  largest law firm circa 2003, with responsibility for all national proposal responses. A major U.S. retailer was looking to come to Canada and my firm wanted the work. I knew that in order to win the account, my firm had to up our game, not just by responding ourselves, but figuring out which other firms may have been asked, and how they would be responding. I knew we had to answer in a way that was as much offensive as defensive, and in researching best practices for this kind of thing, I learned about the discipline called CI.  There were only two or three people talking/writing about CI in legal at the time, and once I got started, I knew I had to share the intricate discipline with others.  

Why is CI an important skill set for legal information professionals to learn and incorporate into practice?
The legal market is only getting more competitive as it changes and adapts to innovations in legal technology, and the evolving roles of both legal and allied professionals in the field. CI helps firms avoid surprises and anticipate the future. CI is a skill that will help firms succeed in the new legal paradigm as it encourages a wider lens on the world than legal information professionals and others have had for years.  

How will legal information professionals benefit from this course?

This course will provide attendees with a different way to approach their clients in this competitive market. CI skills, analysis, and understanding the business environment for firms and the clients they serve will allow information professionals to provide better, more targeted research. It will also assist information professionals in asking the pointed questions that will turn them from service providers to business partners in their firms, and will even provide tools to move the dial from cost to profit by way of lead generation and helping to close prospective clients. Think of CI as sales enablement for the legal and information professional.  

Want to know more?
Registration is open until October 2 and limited to 40 participants. Learn more about the program and register today. Need a primer on CI? Read Zena's article "Competitive Intelligence and Your Library: 10 Best Practices," published in the September/October 2016 issue of AALL Spectrum