Nice job Michael Saint-Onge on his article Upping Your Swagger in the September/October issue of AALL Spectrum.
Please send us your news and ideas!
Kurt R. Mattson, JD, LLM
Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals
A Bit on Diversity
Marielena Fina is a member of the Bar currently working as a research librarian at Sutherland Asbill and Brennan. Ms. Fina's commitment to diversity and public service is evident from, among other work, her work as a faculty member in the Sutherland Scholars Program. The Sutherland Scholars Program is an intensive three-week, 40-hour program for students from historically black colleges and universities planning to attend law school. The program is a Sutherland initiative to ensure the success of minority students by helping demystify law school, and by exposing students to skills they will need to be successful in their careers.
What does diversity mean to you?
While the English dictionary classifies the word diversity as a noun, from my perspective, diversity is a verb. Achieving a diverse work place requires commitment and meaningful action to fulfill its promise. Competing in a global economy demands nothing less.
Why do you think diversity is important for law librarianship?
Often for new law graduates, the first bridge between doing legal research in the law school environment vis-à-vis learning to do legal research in the practice of law falls on a law librarian. Thus, a law library where diversity is actively practiced, appreciated and celebrated is a welcoming library, and a welcoming library is a place where learning can occur easily.
Welcome to the following new PLLIP-SIS members
Joel Frozena, Library Manager, Keker & Van Nest
Jamie Zagata, Sales Manager, The New York Times
AALL Annual Meeting Program Reviews
Understanding the Creation and Use of Law Firm Data
By Corrine Vogel, Research Librarian, Baker Botts LLP
There is a significant need to understand how law firm data is both created and utilized throughout a law firm's various departments as well as to understand additional opportunities a firm may have to use this data. Lynn Fogle, Keith Maziarek, and Terrence Coan did a great job of providing program attendees with a look at how law firms create data, and each panelist added their unique perspective given the different roles they play in their organizations. A particular emphasis was given to how law firm data plays a role in strategic pricing.
The panelists discussed the way that data is typically brought into the firm -- through the client matter lifecycle, beginning with a new client matter intake form. The expression "garbage in, garbage out" is relevant here, as it is incredibly important to gather and input accurate information at the beginning in order to avoid having wrong information disseminated that will affect other individual's work going forward too. Information initially entered into the firm's client matter intake system, correct or incorrect, is likely to flow to secondary systems within the law firm rather than flow back and forth.
Maziarek, the Head of Strategic Pricing at DLA Piper, also emphasized the importance of closing a matter. While attorneys may not view this as a big deal and want to keep matters open, from a strategic pricing standpoint it is necessary that just as much care be given to wrapping things up properly so as to have an accurate sense of a matter's true lifecycle. According to Maziarek, the Golden Rule in pricing is that details really do matter so, "define as much as possible, and make reasonable assumptions for missing data." A detailed list of the data used by pricing teams can be found on the slides available from this presentation at http://www.aallnet.org/conference/education/programs-and-workshops/aall2go.html.
The panelists also discussed the secondary systems that pull in the law firm data from various SQL tables, including the CRM, DMS, KM, and docketing systems.
Takeaways for librarians:
As librarians we know that we need to understand the parameters of the data we're working with and to make sure it's of high quality in order to use it in a helpful and accurate manner both internally and externally. There are numerous opportunities here for us to share our expertise with those involved in this information sharing and input process. For example, we can assist in creating better forms for opening and closing matters. We can also assist with providing accurate parent company and subsidiary information for potential new clients as they are run through conflicts, etc. Librarians are also in a unique position to look at the workflow of information in our firms and help to reduce inefficiencies.
A collective effort by us to ensure the accuracy of our firm's information will go a long way in helping our firms in their continued success.
Introducing new At-Large Board Member Michelle Tolley
What made you decide to run for Board Member of PLLIP?
Well, I was nominated and since I was ending my term on the SCALL Board, I thought it would be the perfect time to transition. For some time, I've wanted to become more active in PLLIP, so this was my opportunity.
What do you see as some of PLLIP's highest priorities?
Definitely, member outreach and continued support of learning and networking opportunities.
How do you see our members playing more of a significant role in their organization
I see our members playing more significant roles in legal technology integrations in their organizations.
What would you like to share with our membership re: hobbies, something unusual, or your favorite city to travel to?
I'm sort of a newbie to traveling, but I do enjoy it. I'm taking my first cruise to Mexico early next year, which I'm excited about that. I enjoy watching TV and one of my favorites shows is the Tiny House. I am obsessed with tiny houses! It's just something about living simply, organized, and with less stuff.
Interview of Vendor of the Quarter
Patricia Ginnis, Executive Director, Legal Markets for Wolters Kluwer
Why did your company create the Cheetah platform?
A few years ago we were doing some customer research to identify and prioritize the next round of enhancements to our existing IntelliConnect platform when it became clear that we really needed to build a new 21st century legal research platform from the ground up. Our law librarian advisory board, along with end users, told us how highly they value our content but noted that it was difficult to find and use the information they needed. We worked closely with our customers, talking with hundreds of librarians, practicing attorneys, and other legal professionals throughout the process. In addition to a new modern look, Cheetah offers topically organized dashboards, significantly improved search, and a streamlined reading experience which makes it easy to put the content to use. Given the steady growth of mobile device usage, Cheetah was developed using Responsive Design, in which the screen adapts seamlessly for optimal display on full-sized screens, tablets, and smart phones. We're very proud that Cheetah was voted one of the top 2 products of 2015 by readers of Jean O'Grady's Dewey B. Strategic blog. All content now on IntelliConnect will be available on Cheetah by the end of 2016.
What was missing from the market and how did you think Cheetah would meet this need?
There's certainly no shortage of information available in the market, but Cheetah helps legal researchers turn information into insight. For example, depending on the content in your subscription, Cheetah includes hundreds of interactive practice tools such as Smart Charts, which are up-to-date multijurisdictional surveys on state and federal securities, corporate governance, tax law, antitrust law, franchising, banking law, consumer finance, secured transactions, intellectual property, litigation, and many other rapidly changing areas of the law. Cheetah also provides a whole host of other useful practice tools including Quick Charts, Calculators, Forms, and Checklists. Additionally, Cheetah's news and current awareness offerings - written by attorneys - help practitioners keep up with new developments across many areas of the law and our liberal copyright and reprint policies make it easy to share news and insights with firm clients and prospects.
How do you think librarians can partner with you/your company and what would the benefits be?
We work closely with librarians to ensure they get the maximum benefit from their firms' subscriptions to our products; we currently offer the following options under our WK Access program in which we partner with librarians to add value:
- Wolters Kluwer now provides seamless access to our content directly from your firm portal. Widgets are available for hundreds of titles/content libraries and we also have a widget builder which allows a librarian to select any combination of titles for inclusion in a customized widget. These widgets can be embedded into practice area or library pages on firm portals and can also be added easily to an individual desktop to help users move more comfortably from print to online resources. Widgets are now available for Cheetah and are included free of charge with your subscription.
Browser Search Tool
- Wolters Kluwer is the first legal information vendor to seamlessly integrate our content into your users' Google search results via a browser add-in. This tool is the winner of the 2015 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Codie award for Best Solution for Integrating Content into the Workflow and is available using a quick desktop or network installation. More information and a link to download are available on our website at http://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/wkbrowsersearch.
MARC Records - We now provide free MARC records for more than 2,500 Cheetah and IntelliConnect titles at http://lrus.wolterskluwer.com/MR%20list/MR_master_list.html. Later this year a new, subscription-aware MARC Records Manager will provide librarians with a customized list of only those titles in your subscription.
Do you partner with information professionals/law librarians for special events? If so, what have some of them been?
We partner with information professionals and law librarians in several ways, largely focused on making sure their user community gets the most out of the products they purchase from us.
Virtual learning sessions
, conducted via webinar, are customized to the needs of your organization. These interactive sessions are perfect for all levels of expertise from first time users, needing a general understanding and overview, to experienced users wanting to focus on specific content. Sessions can be for individuals or groups, and are conducted by our Legal Training Consultants who work with you to create a hands-on session focusing on your needs and outcomes.
, or "What are the Experts Saying", are monthly, conversational style webinars featuring Wolters Kluwer editorial experts discussing the latest legal trends and analysis. These lively, 30-minute sessions focus on a single topic of importance to our customers. Attendee questions are encouraged and the monthly subjects always reflect what's happening in the legal field. Previous sessions have discussed timely topics such as The SMARTER Act, Blue Sky Law and Crowdfunding, Labor & Employment Law - 2015 in Review, Supreme Court Securities Decisions and more. Click here for more information on upcoming WATES events including registration details and links to recordings of previous sessions.
Expert Solution Series
features short, workflow-based courses, delivered by our professional legal training consultants to help your users find the right answers fast. Each course explores a single topic in just 15 minutes and is designed to improve research efficiency. We currently offer six courses geared to corporate and securities professionals subscribing to Cheetah, IntelliConnect, RBsource, or RBsourceFilings.
- "Going Private" Transactions and Rule 13e-3
- Regulation D and Limited Offering / Private Placement Exemptions
- The Revlon Doctrine and Triggering Duties
- Shareholder Proposals and Rule 14a-8
- S-8 Registration Statements and Required Exhibits
- State Crowdfunding Exemptions
Do you have a strategy that enhances workflow and supports enterprise search?
We believe strongly that everyone wins when we can make our content available to users wherever they are and to that end, we are currently piloting integration with two of the largest providers of legal enterprise search systems - Recommind's DecisivSearch and iManage's Insight - making Wolters Kluwer content available directly from within a firm's portal. We're also working on SharePoint integration and expect to be able to share more information about this later in 2016.
Additionally, several of our other products support legal workflow in specific practice areas including RBsourceFilings, which streamlines securities workflow, eliminating the need for separate applications to carry out the most common tasks in securities filings and corporate document research/drafting and Trademark Navigator which is a one stop shop with everything an attorney needs for the trademark application process and practice before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
How do you see your content/product supporting broader Knowledge programs in an organization?
In addition to the widgets, MARC records, enterprise search, and education programs described above, we recently launched SmartTask, providing step-by-step guidance to help get new associates practice-ready and support and enhance legal workflow throughout the firm. With a list of steps needed to complete a specific legal task, SmartTask offers direct access to legal know-how, pointed sections of Wolters Kluwer treatises, laws/regulations, and primary sources with practice notes and expert analysis for clear, concise practical guidance developed by experienced transactional attorneys. With the addition of SmartTask Pro, a firm can customize any SmartTask to reflect firm best practices or client/partner protocols. SmartTask Pro allows KM attorneys or practice group leaders to add, delete, or reorder steps and add custom links to Wolters Kluwer, firm, or other content. The customized version resides securely on the firm's portal.
From the Chair
On a recent vacation I learned to scuba dive. On one dive, my scuba instructor and I spotted the elusive Spotted Eagle Ray laying on the bottom of the ocean. This majestic creature is co
nsidered the "unicorn" of the water. It rose above the bottom and flapped its wings several times and then began swimming away. Those few moments of watching that beautiful creature were amazing. This experience is similar to finding that elusive case or article that we as librarians and information professionals are doing on a daily basis. We are always looking, digging, and uncovering that one piece of information that our customers are asking for.
Continuing our mission of professional development, our Education Committee is being co-chaired by Jennifer Berman and Jim Senter. If you have a great idea please contact them for help in planning an event! We can all learn from each other and it takes times and effort to do so. Stay engaged with PLLIP! It is up to you!
Now let's get to know our PLLIP Chai
Interview of Cameron Gowan by Jeffrey Nelson, Squire Patton Boggs, via text.
Around the Blogosphere
Libraries of the future are going to change in some unexpected ways
makes the case that libraries of the future will become "enormous banks of data will allow people to "check out" brand-new realities, whether that's scaling Mt. Everest or living out an afternoon as a dog." Although given these major predicted changes in services posits that what won't change much is the need for librarians as guides to help others make "a foreign landscape more familiar.'
What keeps law firm CIOs and CKOs from outsourcing the library / information center?
Deborah Schwarz CEO at LAC Group explores the pros and cons of law firms outsourcing their information center/law libraries. From cons such as fears of reduced quality of service from the outsourced department to potential ruptured employee relationships for those employees outsourced and a questionable pro: better chance of cost recovery for online research. Seems the jury is still out on the issue of outsourcing and as the post concludes "much depends on the firm itself" including it's culture and how, if undertaken, the outsourcing process is handled.
PLLIP Member Profile:
Member Interview - of Leanna Simon, Law Librarian
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
by Mary Ann Wacker
What was your path to law librarianship?
My path to law librarianship was circuitous. Going through library school I knew I wanted to be a law librarian; but a chance meeting with my first mentor, Cindy McGee, changed my trajectory in a way that was unexpected. Working at the Cranbrook Educational Community as a special librarian in an all girls school gave me plenty to put on my resume - collection development, research, evaluating resources, teaching, etc. - but the experience left me pigeonholed when it came to a full-time job search. Luckily, the professional development/recruiting manager at my firm saw something in my resume that warranted an interview. From there, the first and second meeting with the library staff secured my position and I am ecstatic at the way everything has played out.
Did you have a mentor or librarian who helped you and/or influenced your work style/ethic?
Working under Honigman's current Director of Library Services, Kineret Gable, has been boon both to my career and my personal life. Kineret's drive, passion, and constant advocacy of the library make her someone to look up to and emulate. She is always willing to stop whatever she is working on to assist with projects, or just to bounce ideas off of in research situations. Her willingness to listen to her staff and leadership style creates an environment of constant learning and support. If I ever decide to be a Director in the future, it would be in large part because of Kineret's guidance and encouragement.
How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
What I do on a day-to-day basis certainly has evolved since starting my career. A first, I was purely performing reference services but gradually started to include other tasks such as cataloging, user/technical training, orientations for new fall and summer associates, Sharepoint administration, etc.
What is your biggest challenge at work?
My biggest challenge at work are trying to communicate that the library can assist every department, not just our attorneys. Combined with the versatility of the work, I am regularly called upon to act as trainer, researcher, cataloger, project manager, and the list goes on. So although, variety may be the spice of life, at times I feel a bit over-seasoned.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most? What part drives you crazy?]
The part of my job I love the most is researching legislative history. Searching through our archives to find the needle in the haystack and then figuring out when a certain word or phrase came into being and why is satisfying. It sometimes feels like I am a magician
The part of my job that drives me crazy is trying to sell the library to our new associates and summers. What they do in law school is entirely different from what they are expected to accomplish in the firm, so making sure that they take advantage of our services has been a challenge. As law librarians we really need to figure out how to fill that gap and make sure our new attorneys are prepared for the years ahead.
How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?
As a millennial law librarian, social media plays a large part in how I consume my news. Twitter and Linkedin are tools that I use to keep up with what is going on in the law library world. In fact, I even have my own professional account, @LawbrarianFTW, solely for that reason. AALL Spectrum is also a helpful resource for those wanting to keep up with current discussions being had in our realm.
What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
A Forensic Anthropologist. Graduating with my Bachelor's in Biological Anthropology from the University of Michigan and dealing with subject matter that intrigues me was enjoyable, but a Ph.D. seemed daunting at the time. Think Bones, the Fox TV show, if you need a clearer picture.
How do you reach out to your attorneys to let them know how the library can help them?
Library orientations, delivering material in person, and just making sure that we are seen and provide valuable research helps us cultivate our relationships with the attorneys.
Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
If you have not worked in the law realm before, hold on tight, you are in for a steep learning curve. But once you learn (and you will always keep learning) the nuances of the firm culture, the job can be incredibly rewarding - so persevere. Always take risks - get out of your comfort zone and never say no to a project if you can help it. More likely than not, you will develop knowledge for future projects and that will make your expertise invaluable in a world where we have to constantly earn our keep. Lastly, if you have a good idea don't be afraid to speak up! We can all learn from one another, and the changes we want to see in our profession will not happen if things go unspoken. Good luck!
PLLIP Board Meeting Minutes
PLLIP-SIS Executive Board Meeting
August 10, 2016
The meeting began at 2:07 p.m. CST. The following were in attendance:
Cameron Gowan, Chair
Elaine Egan, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect
Scott Bailey, Past Chair
Laurel Evans, Treasurer
Liz Whittington, Board Member
Michelle Tolley, Board Member
Mary Ann Wacker, Secretary
Elaine moved to approve the minutes of the July 17, 2016 executive board meeting, Leanna seconded, and the minutes were approved by the Board attendees.
Treasurer's report - Laurel confirmed the fiscal health of the treasury. She also mentioned that she does not have an updated total after the AALL meeting, but hopes to have this shortly.
Scholarships and grants
: Leanna Simon reported that Abby Walters of Maslon LLP is the recipient of the ILTACON grant. Leanna also mentioned other grants that will be available in the coming year: two Business Skills Clinic grants; one Leadership Academy grant; four Summit grants (for registration fee); one CONELL grant; and two annual meeting registrations with travel. She estimates the Committee will spend $5100. The recipients for those grants will be announced later.
PLLIP Summit/AALL Track
: Discussion on the options of the Summit as it is now or changing it in the future. Tabled and will continue discussion.
: Cameron wants to focus on increasing the educational opportunities offered by PLLIP. There will be six of webinars over the next year organized by Jim Senter and Jennifer Berman, Chairs of the Education Committee. There are two separate education committees now, Education and Education - AMPC Proposals Committee (Chairs: Julie Pabarja and Lucy Curci-Gonzalez). Having the AMPC piece as separate will help guide the committees to propose meeting ideas by October 3rd. The Board has been assigned members to be liaisons for each Committee to encourage them in their work and AMPC proposals. Leanna is working on awarding Grants for the benefit of members.
: Cameron would like to reach out to local schools to increase membership. Alana Bevan is Chair of this committee. Discussion to create a membership survey and questions about the Summit would be included.
: Elaine said that she spoke to Andrea Guldalian, chair of the Communications Committee. Cameron suggested Andrea pick three top priorities and Elaine said she would pass this information along. Cameron mentioned we got 40 extra volunteers this year and so "engagement" would be a good overall theme. Possible themes/focus topics are Elevation Task Force and AI/Robots/Drones in private firms. Scott said he would like to encourage the Elevation Task Force to dovetail with the initiatives of all committees to be "outward facing." Cameron said that working with a PR firm to promote PLLIP would be possible, Scot to follow up with Board/Headquarters. Cameron mentioned that if the Board has any issues with the Committees to let her know - the committees should be engaged. Laurel thought that it would be a good idea to add the board liaisons to the Committee list on the PLLIP web site.
: Scott and Laurel will revamp and broaden the awards criteria by December, so people other than PLLIP members will be eligible. Also, they will create special awards for people outside of PLLIP. Scott gave a shout out to Cameron for coming up with the idea of adding the vendor profiles to the Newsletter.
The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m. CST.
Can Robots Be Lawyers? Meet ROSS, and Glimpse the Future of AI in Law
By Karen Oesterle, Research Librarian, New York Law Institute
This presentation was a fascinating, very well-attended explanation of ROSS, what it could eventually do for the legal industry, and what this might mean for all of us. Andrew Arruda and Brian Sheppard spoke at a session moderated by Jean O'Grady of DLA Piper. Andrew Arruda is formerly a practicing attorney, now CEO and cofounder of ROSS intelligence. Brian Sheppard is an associate professor at Seton Hall University School of Law whose research is interdisciplinary and often discusses how legal information affects decision-making. His recent work examines this relationship in the context of emerging legal technology such as ROSS and AI.
Andrew opened the session by giving the answer to whether robots can become lawyers - No. He discussed AI, ROSS, and the potential benefits of AI to law firms. AI a Web-based software, is an umbrella term capturing four categories: machine learning, natural language processing, vision, and speech. ROSS is an example of AI, answering attorneys' natural language questions through data retrieval, and improving its knowledge base with use and human feedback. As we have all seen in onscreen, closing questions at the end of a transaction such as "Was this useful?" and "Was this relevant?", when combined with responses, lead to better answers. The system can also apply filters and monitor topics in the law as requested. Combining AI with good design helps the attorney get answers more quickly, with less processing time. Numerous future enhancements were reviewed, with significant potential benefits accruing to the law firm.
Brian provided the counterpoint to Andrew by saying, yes, it is possible that robots can do the work of lawyers. He discussed disruption, what makes the legal profession different, and what makes AI different. He explained Disruptive Innovation and disruption's possible ramifications in the legal world. Disruption can be a social good, increasing innovation, efficiency, and satisfaction. However, this is not guaranteed, if disruption takes place before innovation is complete (premature disruption). ROSS is augmenting attorneys' work, but whether AI can replace a lawyer depends on your view of legal work. ROSS may disrupt Lexis and Westlaw, and AI can already do some portions of what a lawyer does. Brian sees the biggest risk as premature disruption, occurring before a new solution is possible, as we saw deep decreases in law firm hiring, law school enrollment, and law school faculty after 2008. But there is enormous potential benefit in improved access to legal representation for the people who cannot now afford it. Which outcome will we see? As in Brian's last slide, "Only time will tell".
For further reading, please see Artificial Intelligence Systems and the Law by Andrew Arruda in Summer 2016 Peer To Peer 36 and Incomplete Innovation and the Premature Disruption of Legal Services by Brian Sheppard at 2015 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1797.