Vendor Liaisons and Requests for Assistance

Another week in May, and we continue highlighting the CRIV website and the tools available there for the AALL membership. This week’s focus is on resources established for addressing specific vendor relations issues — CRIV’s Vendor Liaisons, and the Request for Assistance Form.

Vendor Liaisons

The Vendor Liaisons were established by the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (CRIV) to maintain a channel of communication between AALL and the four largest vendors of legal information resources. These four vendors were chosen because they have the most customers among the AALL membership: Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, and WoltersKluwer. Each year the CRIV Chair determines the assignment of a member of the committee to each vendor. Since CRIV membership is three years, often a vendor liaison is appointed in their second year on the committee, and the assignment will continue into their third year. This helps with continuity of relationships and institutional memory.

Each Vendor Liaison meets twice per year with their assigned vendor. Each vendor typically assigns its own employee contact to communicate with the liaisons and coordinate the semi-annual meetings, which typically take place in May/June and November/December. When there are issues of interest to the CRIV Advocacy Subcommittee, or when there have been Requests for Assistance submitted by the membership, these topics are added to the agenda for the next Vendor Liaison meeting. The meetings also usually include updates from the vendor about new products, new features, changes to their business practices, and anything else they would like to inform the membership about. The AALL Executive Director and the CRIV Board Liaison also attend these meetings. Notes about the meeting are shared with the AALL Board and published on the CRIV Blog and in the quarterly CRIV Sheet.

Members are welcome to contact Vendor Liaisons with questions or issues they would like to propose for the semi-annual meetings. You can also use Vendor Liaisons as a channel for providing comments or feedback to the “big four” information vendors.

Request for Assistance Form

The Request for Assistance Form (RAF) is available on the CRIV website, and serves as a conduit for members to document their disputes with any legal information vendor and request the aid of the committee in achieving a resolution. Ideally, a person considering using this form would contact a member of CRIV to discuss their problem, especially if the issue is time-sensitive, but anyone can use the form at any time, for any issue.

The RAF asks you to describe your issue and the actions you have taken to attempt to resolve it on your own. Everyone has disputes with a vendor from time to time, and it is our own responsibility to work them out; however, when there is an impasse, or when a vendor fails to respond to an issue (or does so unfairly), this is when the committee can attempt to assist. Use the form to explain the issue and what has happened so far. Someone from CRIV will respond to your request for assistance and discuss options with you for moving forward. The committee does not promise to fix everyone’s problems with vendors! But they will try to assist with finding a solution. Sometimes merely filing the request for assistance will get things moving toward a satisfactory resolution.

Up next week — The CRIV Blog!

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