Taking every last minute of Leap Day to bring you this month's terrific PLLIP newsletter!
Congratulations to Erenia Dominguez on her new position as Manager of Research Services with Blank Rome LLP in New York City.
Katherine Coolidge on her new position with AccuFile as Senior Legal Research Specialist. Beyond supporting attorneys and other legal professionals in delivering superior client service, she will be working to create career opportunities for law librarians and information professionals in Western Massachusetts and the surrounding states. Click here for the complete press release.
Nominate yourself or a deserving colleague: PLLIP-SIS Seeks Nominees for 2016 Awards
With the beginning of the New Year comes a new award season! The PLLIP Awards committee invites you to nominate any of the unsung heroes among our ranks for the awards below. Awards will be given in the following nine categories:
- Distinguished Librarian
- Hall of Fame
- Advocate of the Year
- Innovative Professional of the Year
- Best Blogger/Writer of the Year
- Rookie of the Year
- Emerging Leader of the Year
- Service to PLLIP Award
- Vendor/Outside Champion Award
Nominations will be accepted until
March 24, 2016. Self-nomination is acceptable and encouraged.
Scholarship Opportunities from AALL
On behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries and its Scholarships Jury, we would like to inform you of the available scholarships.
AALL offers the Marcia J. Koslov Scholarship, which provides funding for state, court, and county law librarians to attend conferences, seminars, and other live continuing education opportunities, for professional development, networking, and increased leadership roles beyond the usual law library-related conferences.
AALL also offers a Scholarship for Continuing Education Classes, available for all law librarians (not limited to state, court, and county law librarians) who wish to register for continuing education courses related to their fields.
Additionally, the George A. Strait Minority Scholarship is for degree candidates in law school or library school who belong to minority groups and who intend to have a career in law librarianship. If any of you know any students who would qualify for those scholarship opportunities, please feel free to let them know how and where to apply.
In the past, not many librarians have applied for these scholarships. AALL hopes that through publicizing them more, we will encourage more applicants.
As with all AALL scholarships, the Koslov, Strait, and Continuing Education Scholarship applications are due on April 1st. If you know colleagues who should apply, please help us spread the word. Thank you, and good luck!
for additional information on the Koslov scholarship, as well as the application and click here
for the applications for the AALL Educational Scholarships, the George A. Strait Scholarship, and the Continuing Professional Education Classes Scholarship.
Interview of Jourdan Corbitt, Research Analyst, LAC Group and 2015 PLLIP "Rookie of the Year" award winn
What was your path to law
My mom was a community college librarian, so growing up I was citing Gale databases in school reports in a rural area during a time when many of my peers didn't have computer or Internet access outside of the classroom. I interned in the main library at the University of Pittsburgh while earning my MLIS and I felt destined for academics. Right before I graduated, I received an offer to work in Bricker & Eckler's library department. I've been in the field ever since.
Did you have a mentor or librarian who helped you and/or influenced your work style/ethic?
Susan Lowe, Director of Library Services at Bricker & Eckler; Michelle Wollmann, Information Resource Specialist at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; Jeremy Sullivan, Research Services Manager at DLA Piper; and my mom, Janet L. Corbitt, retired librarian formerly at West Virginia Northern Community College.
How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
Well, my career in law librarianship only began in 2011, but in that time my association with and reliance on the physical library has diminished considerably.
What is your biggest challenge at work?
Proving a negative.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most? [What part drives you crazy?]
I love being a hero who can find things thought unfindable and delivering work products that far exceed expectations. Determining that something can't be done after considering all of the factors involved and having to tell people "no" drives me crazy.
How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?
Dewey B Strategic and 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, as well as AALL and NOCALL media and conferences.
What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
I enjoy practicing medicine without a license, though on a strictly nonprofit basis.
How do you reach out to your attorneys to let them know how the library can help them?
It's all about forming relationships. As soon as one attorney is really impressed and satisfied with the research department's work product, word gets around. I try to do the best work I can every time no matter what. People aren't going to forget someone who can make their lives easier and their arguments stronger.
Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
Joseph Campbell said, "You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you." Try not to get hung up on preconceived notions about what your job is actually going to look like because we're living in a period of unprecedented change. Take every opportunity you can to learn and stay hip.
Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Newsletter
From the Chair
Scott D. Bailey
Global Director of Research Services
Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
RAISING THE BAR IN A COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY
February 29 feels like a gift -- an "extra" day to do things like write a chair column so that it technically still counts for the February new
sletter. How will you use this extra day? It seems like a good time to take stock of strategic priorities and talk about the future. Later this week I am traveling to SCALL, the Southern California Association of Law Libraries, to deliver their keynote address. I am honored to be chosen to talk about raising the bar and that is very much on my mind, not just for the speech, but for improving our own service at my firm. SCALL has chosen an energetic, engaging theme and I look forward to the opportunity to meet with new colleagues and discuss our fascinating, ever-changing field.
Raising the bar is a continuous theme for any industry, but this is a particularly important time for examination of our professional world and our place in it. The AALL Rebranding Initiative is an ongoing platform for this discussion and has brought focus and attention to who we are and what we do. As we articulate our mission as an Association, it naturally seems to follow that we set standards for our current level of professional service and examine what it means to improve that service. What does it mean to raise the bar for you and your company?
Most PLLIP members are engaged in competitive firms that are looking to raise the bar every year or continuously. Immediate metrics that come to mind for the overall industry are major figures like revenue and profits per partner. These benchmarks are all around us and during this time of year we are hearing news about individual firms in the ALM publications as they prepare to release the 2016 AmLaw100 in the spring. Profits are up at some firms and down in others. Industrial news suggests that overall our industry has flattened out and become more competitive. New sources of revenue require innovation in a stagnant market. Many firms, like mine, have adopted a tactic of growth by strategic combination during these competitive times. What do these signals mean for you? As businesses within a business, how does Research Services adapt to these changes and raise the bar?
Putting our ear to the ground before we do the heavy lifting involved in instituting changes that raise the bar is a good idea. What are our firms doing to change and adapt in this environment? Are we going to l
ead by example or follow some of the overall initiatives at our firms? Hopefully we act on a judicious mix of both. Whether you are combining with another firm or taking a close look at your internal processes, it is time to show what we can do on an entirely different level. Setting goals for your service, following through and taking your challenges head-on will ensure that you remain a valuable and visible asset to your company. Let's work together to make 2016 a year that really raises the bar for PLLIP.
Around the Blogosphere
The blog post
How young librarians are figuring out the field's future
poses the following question: "
You say, I'm going to library school, and everybody is like, 'Well, aren't libraries kind of over? What are you going to be doing?"
How many of you heard a similar line of questioning upon telling friends and family your plans to get an MLS degree? I certainly remember being asked something similar in the mid 1980's when telling friends I was going back to school to get an MLS. Yet here I am 30 years on and still going strong in the profession. Are libraries different than they were then? Of course they are, and they will be different 30 years from now. The same is true of many professions and it is up to the professionals in any given field to innovate and stay current in order to remain relevant.
How young librarians are figuring out the field's future
also thankfully proposes several great ideas of what libraries could and indeed should do in the future.
Tribute to Newly Retired Member Bess Reynolds
by Linda-Jean Schneider, Electronic Resources Manag
er, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Bess may be best known to many of you as the PLLIP "photographer-in-residence" for many our SIS's special events at AALL Annual meetings over the years. To her colleagues at her most recent firm, she is best known as Bess Reynolds, Electronic Resources Manager in the Knowledge Services Department of Debevoise & Plimpton law firm in New York City where she has spent the last 10+ years.
When she announced several months ago her plan to 'retire' from this position as of the end of February 2016, those of us who know her had no doubt that this is only a transition phase to yet another productive, interesting and fulfilling stage in her multi-faceted and accomplished professional life. And as per her customary pattern, whatever direction that transition took, it would be with much foresight and thoughtfulness, and would deliver significant contributions from a forward-looking and consummate information professional. In many ways, Bess' career itself reflects the evolution from the so-called 'back office' library operations of Technical Services to the more broadly-reaching legal information systems operations of Electronic Resources Management.
As is true of many of our colleagues, the field of law librarianship was a second career for Bess. After working in the field of banking and corporate finance with her MBA degree, Bess spent several years raising her daughters, and volunteered in the Library at her daughters' school. Her experiences as a volunteer led to successive positions as a Technical Services Consultant to perform retrospective conversions of card catalogs to more sophisticated integrated online systems, and as a Library Technology Specialist in a school in San Rafael, CA. In the latter position Bess was responsible for the enhancement and integration of library systems, as well as for the evaluation, selection, installation and maintenance of library software and hardware, and she continued to train students and teachers in the use of the online systems.
The summer before her next position as an Assistant Librarian at a San Francisco Bay area high school library, Bess was awarded a Fellowship to work at The Exploratorium, in the Learning Studio (library) during the summer Teacher's Institute for teachers in Math and Science. As a Fellow, she "assisted Staff and teachers with research projects using DIALOG and other online resources." Bess was encouraged by Rose Falanga Director of the Learning Studio, who she met through a US Berkeley Extension course on online searching. Rose was an early mentor who taught Bess about special libraries that led her to the position of Technical Services & Reference Librarian at Bingham McCutchen in San Francisco.
In addition, Bess coauthored a website
The Panama Pacific International Exposition in 3D, which was selected "Web Site of the Week" by
The San Francisco Chronicle in April, 2001. Later at the high school, in the Assistant Librarian position, Bess performed most of the technical support responsibilities for the library's web pages, worked with students and faculty on using a variety of formats for their research, and administered the library computer server.
A return to the East Coast gave Bess the opportunity to pursue librarianship in law firms while pursuing her graduate degree in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute. While at Pratt, Bess received the Certificate of Excellence award for Outstanding Merit in Law Librarianship-only the first of many recognition acknowledgements she has seen throughout her career. Bess moved on to an Internship at Fried Frank, and then to be the Technical Services Librarian at Cadwalader for three years. Bess credits the internship at Fried to attending a LLAGNY luncheon and meeting Nancy Rine, who served as one of her numerous mentors in law librarianship. Other mentors included Jo Caporaso at Bingham who taught her much about legal research, and Steve Lastres at Debevoise.
Their support and the substantial benefits of networking with New York colleagues gave Bess incentive to participate in and contribute to professional presentations and activities. Steve Lastres, the Director at Debevoise, believes strongly in professional development and encouraged Bess (and all staff) to take advantage of those opportunities. Bess made her first of many AALL presentations in 2009, and has presented at numerous professional meetings,
addressing organizations such as the Special Libraries Association, the Toronto KM Law Group, various AALL Chapters including CALL, LLNE, and LLAGNY, and at the St. John's University DLIS Symposium in 2012. She has written articles and professional documentation for the PLLIP, the Computing Services, and the Technical Services Special Interest Sections of AALL, for an ILTA publication on behalf of AALL, and for the AALL Spectrum. She is a co-author of the
PLL Resource Guide #3: Space Planning for Law Libraries, and authored the PLL
Resource Guide #4: Collection Rebalancing for Law Libraries. She served as the Leader of the Technical Services Group of the PLL SIS for several years, and continues to post thoughtful and knowledgeable messages to those Groups with which she is most closely affiliated. On the national level, Bess has served as the Vice Chair and Chair of the AALLNET Committee
Among her many awards are being selected as one of the
2013 Fastcase 50 and winning the
PLL-SIS 2014 Advocate of the Year Award. For the former, she was recognized as a smart, courageous leader in her field: "
Technical services librarians are the unsung heroes of the new era of legal research, and Bess Reynolds stands at the forefront of this group as an advocate for her firm's research needs. She has pushed for attorney-friendly solutions to knotty problems with new forms of legal content, such as eBooks, and has the ear of her colleagues on this and other pressing issues."
In particular, Bess expressed finding enjoyment in the implementation and testing road shows with Practice Groups at Debevoise. Her focus on consolidating where info is found (true KM), such as including memberships in cataloging records, highlight her attention to detail while at the same time understanding the global vision of KM delivery throughout the firm. Her varied background has provided the required skills to integrate backstage technical operations with the on-stage tasks working with users, to "ensure they can locate necessary research needs," especially remotely. Bess points out that if a lawyer cannot access what s/he needs to maintain their workflow, firms are wasting prodigious amounts of money.
Bess notes that the challenges for all information professionals now include struggling to find sufficient time to pursue the thorough investigation of alternative resources; the increasing demands on attorney and information professional's time which translates into less time for adequate training and familiarity with resources; the complications inherent with licensing and digital contracts; and the basic reluctance of users to adopt new technologies. Bess will continue as a member of the NYLI Board of Directors and will undoubtedly pursue a number of activities on the professional level. We wish her all the best in her future pursuits!
2016 PLLIP Summit Keynote Announced
The PLLIP Summit planning committee is pleased to announce our 2016 Keynote speaker, Eric Seeger. Eric is a principal of Altman Weil and co-author of the highly-regarded annual report Law Firms in Transition. Eric will provide an update on the current state of the legal industry, laying the groundwork for a full day of exploring how law librarians and information professionals can contribute to the success of their organizations. For more information on the 2016 PLLIP Summit: Strategic Impact, visit our website here.