December 2015 PLLIP E-News
Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Newsletter
In This Issue
Join Our Mailing List
Member News
Kudos to
Eve Ross, Assistant Librarian - Research Specialist with McNair Law Firm, PA who has been named President-Elect of the South Carolina Chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

Congratulations to
Laura La Rose, Senior Research Specialist with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C. for being named an Unsung Hero by the Wisconsin Law Journal.   

Way to go
Jean O'Grady! Her blog Dewey B Strategic was named one of the top 100 legal blogs of 2015 and has made it to the Blawg 100 for the 4th year in a row.

Applause for
Brendan Durrett, Reference Librarian with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP for stepping out of his role as a law librarian and chairing the campaign to get the South Pasadena Public Library (CA) parcel tax renewed at the November election.

Bev Butula
, Reference Librarian at Davis & Kuelthau, SC won the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin 2015 Distinguished Service Award.

Kudos to
Louis C. Abramovitz for his  
How Law Firm Librarians Can Contribute to the Client Service Experience blog post on the Legal Marketing Association blog.  

Farewell Dewey, hello books arranged a new way. In  Beneath New York Public Library, Shelving Its Past for High-Tech Research Stacks we find perhaps a first of its kind that details a new way of organizing a library's collection whereby "to fit all the books in the allotted space, the library will have to abandon its version of the Dewy Decimal System in which shelving is organized by subject, in favor of a new "high-density" protocol in which all that matters is size."

  The Future Of Libraries Is Collaborative, Robotic, And Participatory delves into what the future library may look like from employing "advanced machines, like robots, to collect books and other material from underground or off-site places, more space given over to communication rather than storing books, and more interactive, with visitors accessing knowledge using a variety of touch-screen surfaces, augmented reality, and smart devices".

It's the time of year for the annual Altman Weil review of law firms and the challenges they face. Law Firms [Slowly] in Transition provides a summary of the review. Sadly, the challenges they law firms face seem to have changed little over the years (i.e. price competition,
commoditization of legal work, outsourcing, etc). Most interesting are the results of the question asking "Can you envision a law-focused 'Watson' replacing any of the following timekeepers in your firm in the next 5 to 10 years?" and how this year's results compare to the same question in previous years. Perhaps it already has in the form of ROSS, the Siri like app for legal research that is designed to "help you power through legal research." Like Siri, but designed for lawyers, asking ROSS a legal question will get you an instant answer with citations and suggested readings from a variety of content sources.
Would your firm be able to pass a legal technology audit test? Kudos to the firm who was the first to do so, which was announced in A Firm Finally Passed The Legal Tech Audit  . Perhaps others will follow suit! Not surprising that training was the key to passing. On a related note, see   Highlights from the Just-Published ILTA 2015 Technology Survey.

Welcome New Members!

Diane Deng
Library Manager, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Sarah Morris
Research Education Coordinator, Greenberg Traurig

Jay Santiago
Research Librarian, Crowell & Moring LLP

Tamara Smith
Reference Librarian, Venable LLP

AALL Awards

Make sure to submit an application for an award!

Click Here.

Scott Bailey, Squire Patton Boggs LLP,
Washington, DC   
PLLIP: The Force Awakens 
Rebooting a Classic
OK, so I saw the movie last night. THE movie that all the fuss is about and that due to Disney's restrictions on participating theaters, the ONLY movie we are being actively encouraged to see for months... The rebranding (did he just say that again?!) of Star Wars. As I commented in the first chair column for this year, I was hoping for big things. Revolutionary and disruptive things from JJ Abrams of the Magic Box TedTalk. Those of you who may have tuned out after the second sentence won't be reading or maybe relating to this part, but allow me to get a little geeky. I was expecting the sprawling innovation of Lost (Abrams)and the neoclassic elements of Star Trek (Abrams, 2009) infused with something unexpected and otherworldly and disruptive similar to Battlestar Gallactica (2003, not Abrams).
I didn't get all that from the rebranding. So then the task was figuring out whether I was disappointed. It didn't blow me away to the point where I bought more tickets to turn right around and see it again. I am not planning to camp out for the next one, but maybe that sort of seismic reaction is not realistic. But this update did accomplish something different I think. The rebranding of Star Wars was not really a rebranding at all. It was a pastiche of the classic elements of plot and character and scene that the first trilogy presented along with a serious nod to marketing. This movie wanted to sell and to not offend. It was built for all audiences and to expand a commercial empire. Die hard fans of the classic characters would not be offended. People who had never seen any of the films and were being drug along by their significant others would not be lost or alienated. Criticism of puppetry goofy stereotype characters was avoided and the original most popular elements were completely included and arguably revered in this version. New technology was incorporated with old to deliver a fresh, spectacular and fast paced ride that would also endure and expand the audience for future installments.
That's how I hope that our change will take place. That we will find a note that brings us all along and includes the most classic elements of our profession but expands to include all audiences and stakeholders in a common language. The elements of librarianship that remain the same and make us who we are will continue to speak for themselves. We are a group that gives of ourselves to advance the knowledge and performance of others. We love matching up the book with its reader, the legal information with the professional. We value teaching and scholarship. We look to improve the world and each other though our professional contributions. United we are better than apart and we need to find common ground in what we seek to accomplish.
I would encourage all of our members to vote on this upcoming board proposal and to participate in the discussion. The last few months have been an exciting time to be a part of the creative process of changing our professional world, but how is that any different from what you do every day?   
All the Best to You for the H
olidays and Happy Ne w Year, fellow Librarians... and everyone else!
Member Spotlight
Interview of Pamela Lipscomb of Arent Fox by Mary Ann Wacker, Manager, Knowledge Resources, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
What was your path to law librarianship?
I joke that my path is much like the movie "Secret of My Success" without the shenanigans.  I worked in the main academic library in college and got a job there after college for about a year.  When I moved to DC, I interviewed several places before getting a job processing the mail and compiling DC legislative histories for Arent Fox.  As job opportunities came available in the library, I kept asking to try new things.  In January, I will be the Director of Library and Research Services.
Did you have a mentor or librarian who helped you and/or influenced your work style/ethic?
My current library director, Robert Dickey, has always been my mentor.  I have had other great librarians to help along the way, that I still know I can call on for help if I need it, but Bob has always been there for me.  He was the one who let me keep trying new things and learning all of the facets of the library. He encouraged (badgered) me to go back and get my master's until I finally did it and let me have an incredibly flexible schedule so that I could maximize classes while still working.  He is retiring at the end of the year and I am going to miss not working with him every day tremendously.
How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
As I mentioned in the first question, I started working at Arent Fox checking in and routing the mail, which was nearly a full-time job.  In the ensuing 20 years, I have worked my way through the department responsibilities starting with technical services then moving to reference, to managing the reference staff, and now working with vendors, negotiating contracts, and managing our budget.  The library has evolved so much in this time as well.  When I started, we had two floors with 60,000 volumes. Thousands of reporters and an entire floor were devoted to treatises.  Now that we have so much electronic access, our collection is a quarter of that (if even that large) and we get most of our patron traffic via email and telephone instead of walk-ins.  I still get a few walk-ins though, and I love that attorneys still come down to sit and talk to me about their projects.
What is your biggest challenge at work?
I, like most librarians, struggle with the budget.  Trying to balance the need for more content with shrinking budgets feels like walking a tight wire every day.  I have a wish list of items that I would love to get, if we can ever find the way to afford them.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most? What part drives you crazy?
I absolutely enjoy the attorneys and their projects the most.  They keep me hopping with challenging assignments.  I never know what the day will bring.  Of course, they are also what drives me crazy.  I need to hire Watson! 
How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?
I am a feedly and Twitter junkie.  I think the greatest source of news and trends in libraries is librarians, and I make it a point to stay connected with them so that I know how my firm library compares to others.  I have been lucky to be a part of LLSDC whose members are an incredible collection of librarians. Through them I have met librarians all over the country.  I am trying to make my network as large as I can because I have a lot to learn and librarians are a wealth of knowledge.
What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
I can't imagine not being a librarian!  However, when I was temping right after college, they tried to get me to become a copy editor.  I can spot a typo in a PowerPoint slide from 100 yards away.
How do you reach out to your attorneys to let them know how the library can help them?
At every orientation, we always end with our unofficial motto, "If you don't know who to ask, ask the library."  We want every attorney, paralegal, and staff member to know that our doors are always open to help, regardless of the question.  For the incoming first years and laterals, we do a "Practical Legal Research" session with one or two mid-level associates.  The focus is to approach research from their point of view; how do they approach the assigning attorney with questions, what pitfalls to avoid (don't copy and paste without reading the whole case), how to format your answers.  It was the brainchild of one of our partners several years ago who was frustrated with the quality of the work product he was getting from the younger associates.  It has been very successful and I spend a lot of time now working with new associates, helping them formulate search strategies and double-checking their research to make sure they didn't miss anything.  I think it has made all of us better researchers.
Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
Connect, connect, connect.  I finally went back to library school after working in libraries for 14 years.  While I learned a lot in my classes, the most valuable thing I got out of library school were the people I met there.  They are my friends, colleagues, and mentors and I wouldn't be where I am without them.
PLLIP Grant Allows Librarian to Attend Business Skills Clinic
Article by Diana Koppang, Library Manager, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, PLLIP recipient of the AALL Business Skills Clinic grant about her experience at the clinic.

Thanks to a generous grant from PLLIP, I was able to attend the AALL Business Skills Clinic this past fall in Chicago. The experience was well worth the time - and PLLIP's generosity! Over two days, experts in the field covered the topics of Managerial Finance (Angela M. Hickey, Executive Director at Sevenfold Pearlstein), Human Resources (Tina Bengs, attorney with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Steart), Marketing and Communications (Alycia Sutor, Managing Director of Akina Corporation), Performance Measures (Robert Oaks, Chief Library and Records Officer at Latham & Watkins), Negotiations (Karen Cates, Ph.D, Executive Coach, Management Consultant and Adjust Professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management), and Strategic Planning (Steve Wingert, CLM Principal at Nesso Strategies).

While I found all of the sessions valuable and the speakers excellent, there were those that stood out as particularly valuable - especially for myself as I develop as a Library Manager.

Managerial Finance was an eye-opening look into how a law firm's finances are structured - and how the library's budget may fit into that structure. Human Resources provided very useful - and at times startling - insight into what a manager or supervisor is responsible for noticing and documenting about those employees we are responsible for. And while I know we have all probably attended many presentations in marketing and communications, the presenter engaged our group in understanding how the different personality types we ourselves engage with should change our strategy for pitching new ideas, and, of course, requests for more funds!

Lastly, the negotiations session was probably the most fun, dynamic, and immediately useful part of the clinic for me. My firm is currently reviewing and renegotiating most of the library's vendor contracts. The key takeaway: everything is negotiable. I've immediately applied this lesson to great results - and not just in the workplace. A few weeks later I needed repairs on my aging 2003 Rav4. When I received the estimate and suffered the inevitable sticker shock, I politely stated what I wanted to pay (around $150 less off of a $650 bill). It took about 5 seconds for the shop to agree. Which makes me wonder how much money I've thrown away over the years.

I would remiss to not mention the value of the conversations with the other attendees who were from a wide range of law libraries from around the country. It was clear that we are all facing the same challenges - many made more difficult by sometimes being unprepared for navigating the business side of our jobs. Understanding our organizations and what motivates those we manage, those we serve, and those we report to is vitally necessary for the survival and development of our field. This clinic underscored that need and I hope inspires ideas for future programs by PLLIP and AALL as a larger organization.

Thank you, PLLIP, for your support and this wonderful and valuable opportunity!