Congratulations to our new 2016-2017 PLLIP Officers!
Mary Ann Wacker
to PLLIP-SIS member Jim Senter the Research & Library Services Manager for the California Region at Jones Day for being chosen as the AALL Diversity Committee member of the month for June. He has been a librarian with Jones Day for over 16 years. Jim received his B.A. in Music Theory & Composition from Azusa Pacific University in 1990 and his M.L.I.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1995. He has written articles in the Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL) Newsletter, AALL Spectrum, and Law Library Journal. Jim is also active in service to AALL, SCALL, and PLLIP (Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section of AALL). He has served in several leadership positions throughout SCALL.
Kudos to our members who wrote articles for the July/Aug issue of AALL Spectrum:
Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Knowledge & Research Services, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Rolling in the Deep Not Dark Web: Tips for Accessing and Searching the Hidden Web
Sarah E. Lin, Library Systems Librarian, Reed Smith LLP, Managing Technical Services Long Distance
Christine M. Stouffer, Director of Library Services, Thompson Hine, The Insurgent Candidate: Best Practices for Hiring in the Ever-Changing Field of Legal Information
Please send us your news and ideas!
Kurt R. Mattson, JD, LLM
Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals
PLLIP-SIS Executive Board Meeting
This will be at the AALL Annual Meeting in Chicago and is open to all members. Please feel free to attend on July 17th in the Hyatt Skyway Room 282 and will begin at 6:15pm.
Want to get involved with PLLIP-SIS?
Plan to attend one of several PLLIP committee meetings in Chicago:
Membership Committee Meeting, Monday, July 18, 7:30-8:30am, Hyatt- Skyway Room 281
Communications Committee Meeting , Monday, July 18, 5-6pm, Hyatt Skyway Room 284
Education Committee Meeting, Monday, July 18, 5-6pm, Hyatt Skyway Roo
Cameron Gowan, PLLIP incoming Chair is presenting at the Diversity Symposium: Exploring Resources and Library Services to Better Serve the LGBT Community, Sponsored by LexisNexis, on Sunday July 17 at 4:00 pm, in the Hyatt- Columbus IJ Room.
See you in Chicago!
Welcome New Members!
Information Services Manager, Kirkland & Ellis
, Research Librarian, Faegre Baker Daniels
, Reference Librarian, Thompson & Knight
Research Librarian, DLA Piper
Supervisor, Information Specialist, Bennett Jones
Collection Coordinator, Miles & Stockbridge
, Research Librarian, DLA Piper
, Tech Services Librarian, Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young
, Library Assistant, Miles & Stockbridge
Business Intelligence Specialist, Greenberg Traurig
Reference Librarian, Kaye Scholer
Research Assistant, Kirkland & Ellis
Deputy Director, Jenkins Law Library
Librarian, Reed Smith
Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Newsletter
From the Chair
Last chair columns are often about change. Often we express surprise that the time flew by so quickly and that so much has happened in a year, which it certainly has. PLLIP has offered more awards and grants than ever before. Cheryl and Kurt have really amped up our internal communications along with the Communications Committee and the awesome web team! The Summit continues to shine as an example of our most strategic, relevant platform for PLLIP education and collaboration. This PLLIP Executive Board has tackled new issues with enthusiasm and we are excited about what's to come. We have a new, dynamic and capable PLLIP Chair on the way (yay Cameron!) and I will be making my Brexit or "Baileyxit" from the chair role, if you will. Come to think of it, Brexit was literally the case for me as I left the UK last Friday, visiting relatives and law firm offices, to come back to an exciting climate of change here in the profession (cloudy segway)...
How we look at change and transitions is really important. The perceptions of what change will mean creates change itself. Markets react to perceptions and realities. Over half the voting people have spoken in the UK and they are making dramatic changes, exiting a union of nations. We in law firm libraries and other private law libraries have choices every day about the way we think, our alliances and what we choose to push for in our professional association. The legal industry and market are changing every day creating a new environment for decision and action. That's why PLLIP is announcing the formation of the Elevation Task Force that seeks to elevate our image in the industry and get us noticed where it counts. The PLLIP Elevation Task Force is both a rapid response team to handle perception issues as they arise as well as a strategic team to build on and enhance our reputation of excellence and promote us where it counts. We hope to provide the kind of visibility that can offer publishers an immediate take on what is going on in the marketplace. Law firm libraries shutting down? Ask a PLLIP librarian for a reaction. Outsourcing a threat? Ask a library leader. What drives the engine of innovation and strategic insight in a firm? Better ask a librarian or information professional. Better yet, we are seeking to create an image so strong in the industry that the question doesn't even need to be asked. But maybe that's a long way off...
We can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to communicating our value. Bravery is called for rather than perfection. The nudges we have seen in the industry media about outsourcing and artificial intelligence can only point us toward promoting ourselves and making our case for "authentic intelligence" plainly stated. We are redefining what we do and we need the perception to align with the reality in the marketplace. Those of you who listen to TED Talks or NPR will no doubt remember the piano industry's demise in relation to the rise of the recording industry; the oil lamp's fall clearly giving way to the incandescent bulb. We need to make these kinds of fundamental changes to our product and the way we communicate it so that our evolution is an expansion and investment in it is a no brainer. These are the kinds of changes that lead to progress.
So, as I take my leave as PLLIP Chair, let me again express my gratitude to all of you who have helped create the PLLIP of 2016 and I look forward to making progress in my other roles as your colleague, including the Elevation Task Force. Here's to a successful conference and an upward trajectory for all of us!
See you in Chicago!
Around the Blogosphere
More Law Firms Outsource Their Law Libraries
discusses the nominal trend of outsourcing law library functions, but truly fails to illustrate the downside associated with doing so. Not to mention conspicuously absent from the article is any discussion of the value dedicated library staff bring to the table: strategic partners, strong internal library management and committed employees some of who may have a seat at the management table and certainly provide their attorneys with specialized knowledge and expertise.
In a counterpoint post
Throwing Law Firm Intelligence Out with the Books?
Jean O'Grady deftly lays out some key clarifications re/the above American Lawyer article and states the case for when a law firm should retain dedicated in-house library staff versus outsourcing and firmly shows that it is definitely not a cookie-cutter approach. Clearly, some basic tasks (loose-leaf filing, cataloging and basic research tasks- think pulling cases and statutes) can easily be out-sourced and in fact have been for many years by many law firms.
And in yet another counterpoint post
Law Firm Libraries Cannot Simply Be A Service... It Must Be A Strategic Partner
says that "in some cases outsourcing the library is a viable option for some law firms" but overall lands firmly on the side of retaining the value add services inside the firm with information professionals who are employees and who are part and parcel of the law firm culture and know the work the firm does; outsourced employees are and never will be part of the firm culture, rather their first and foremost loyalty will be to the outsourcing company for whom they work. And, if you're wondering how to tell if your own law information center is on the chopping block read
If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu
You Do What: Reworking a Librarian Career Day Presentation
is a great post that presents a novel way to tell others what librarians do! Not to mention shows that people (at least young people) still think what we mostly do is check out books to people and is proof that we must be vigilant in showing and telling others what we do and that is does not involve checking out books!
Based on the above posts you might want to ponder these apropos words of wisdom from Seth Godin in
Wasting our technology surplus
In a nutshell -- we need to offer services that can't be done without us! And might I add - what we offer will always need changing as things change!
Member Interview - Kevin Miles, Manager of Library Services, Norton Rose Fulbright
by Andrea Guldalian
1. What was your path to law librarianship?
After trying public and university librarianship, I wanted a faster pace inside a private environment. My first law firm was Miami's oldest law firm. It was there I questioned the continued need for library materials that were brought in for one project, but continued to be paid for when that project was completed because no one was paying attention to the budget or the usage of the collection. This was also when Lexis and Westlaw were making their way into private law firms. Online research can be more efficient than book research and can be less expensive.
2. Did you have a mentor or librarian who helped you and/or influenced your work style/ethic?
Yes. At the beginning of my career, Sid Kaskey was at Kelley Drye and Warren, and June Berger was at Steel Hector Davis. They both taught me to look at the big picture of how the materials in the collection are connected, to pay attention to duplicative resources, and to stick to a budget. Sid was super at pointing out the unwritten rules of a law firm. June was great at showing how to produce added value. Both exemplified a "get-it-done" attitude.
3. How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
In my first library, we had every printed state statute set available on the market. So in a sense, I was a "book herder." Now, I am "digital." My time is divided between online legal research, competitive intelligence and business development, micro-training attorneys on specific research problems, and long term projects. Recently, Saskia Mehlhorn, our Director of Knowledge Management and Library Services, asked that I lead our Lexis OverDrive eBook roll-out. It is a great product, that many are already familiar with from their public library experience. eBooks are working for our attorneys.
4. What is your biggest challenge at work?
Time management is my biggest challenge. I am normally in the office from 6:30 am to 4 pm, and I gladly answer additional research questions at night and on the weekends. This is part of customer service, in my opinion.The second biggest challenge is querying the attorney well enough to discover the real question. Mental models change during the research process, but many times the real question gets lost in the transformation. Identifying the real question can be a challenge.
5. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The people, of course. I also enjoy all things digital, and suggesting to the vendors ways to improve their organization of knowledge. Finding information in the fewest clicks is critical to keeping the researchers' attention. In terms of areas of knowledge, I love business information and patents. Everything is very fast paced in both fields.
6. How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?
I read widely from many resources inside and outside the library worlds. My favorites are the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wired Magazine, AALL Spectrum, and of course, the listservs. In terms of books, I recommend Don't make me think, revisited: a common sense approach to web usability 3rd edition by Steve Krug. For fun, I am currently reading Bad-ass librarians of Timbuktu, by Joshua Hammer.
7. What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
If I had not become a law librarian, I would probably be developing web portals or Android applications for law firms. The organization of knowledge is fascinating to me; it should not remain locked in paper. I am fortunate to volunteer with Linda-Jean Schneider and Heather Williams on the PLLIP-SIS website, and have had the opportunity to learn yet another web system. Volunteering with these great librarians is a privilege.
8. How do you reach out to your attorneys to let them know how the library can help them?
I use an array of methods: the old-fashioned "management by walking around," having 10-second elevator speeches, walking material to the attorney's office rather than relying on office services to deliver it, volunteering to demo any product any time, and sending calendar appointments for in-person training in lieu of sending additional explanatory emails. And we use V-cards to send out short research instructions.
9. Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
- Be prepared for massive, constant changes. Platforms will continue to change, and new products will appear that may disrupt the existing platforms. Embrace and adapt as quickly as you can.
- Learn web usability. Whether you build web portals for your organization, or develop a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla! or Drupal, it is all for nothing if people can't use it.
- Perfect your "micro training" style early, and use it often.
- Contribute to your favorite blog. Mine is Lex Script (http://dallnet.blogspot.com)