Way to go Jean O'Grady, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, DLA Piper for being named an ABA Legal Rebel! Click here for the details and to listen to the podcast.
Kudos to Holly Riccio, Director of Knowledge Management, Nossaman LLP who has been selected to serve on ILTA's Information Management Content Coordinating Team for 2017. ILTA's Content Coordinating Teams review the specific areas of focus, target audiences, scope of deliverables and topics assigned to them by the Program Planning Council. The team develops a list of specific deliverables to be executed by Project Teams." The Information Management Content Coordinating Team includes Knowledge Management, which is one of Holly's areas of expertise.
Welcome to new PLLIP-SIS members Alyson Atkins, Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP and Marsha James, Librarian at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.
A First-Timer's View of ILTACON
by Abby Walters, Library Manager at Maslon LLP
Thank you to the PLLIP Grant Committee for selecting me as the recipient of the 2016 ILTA Grant. It was a great opportunity to learn about what is happening in law firms across the country outside of the traditional Library roles. ITLA brings together people from many roles: IT, KM, Training, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Marketing, Librarians, and more.
I would like to start with the first thing I noticed when selecting sessions to attend: this year ILTA and AALL are having similar conversations about change and the future of law. We are both looking at disruptive technology, security, analytics, AI, and big data. For many years there have been discussions among librarians that struggle with their relationship with IT. This is an opportunity to start a meaningful dialog with each other about the future of our organizations. It is not about what the library needs, but about supporting the needs of the firm, which is our role as leaders.
The keynote speaker, Mike Wash, started the conference by talking about disruption. He noted that there will be challenges as the next generation of workers join our organizations who have different experiences with technology and different ideas about work. We are not only facing huge technological disruptions, but social changes within our organizations. The call to action is to start the discussion: reach out and find out how these new workers expect to interact with peers, managers, and clients.
The themes of change and communication were key components in many of the sessions that I attended. The session on the Future of Legal KM was a great example. Attorneys often make the argument that clients are not requesting change, but one of the speakers noted that an increase in RFPs is actual evidence of clients pushing for change. More and more, the speakers have seen a shift in KM professionals assisting with these RFPs and other client-facing projects.
There was a session on Bridging the Gap: Your Guide to Getting Boomers, Gen X and Millennials to Work Together. It was a lively discussion on work-life balance and the expectations employers have of their employees. It may be a change to many of us to work with employees that prefer texting over phone or in-person conversations, but we need to think about where we can have flexibility with our teams and what are the essential requirements that we have for a position.
Another session I would recommend is A Field Guide for Agents of Change. If we want to be the drivers of change within our organizations, we need to understand why individuals may be resistant to change. One of the panelists iterated that resistance is not always about an actual change, that it is frequently about a perception of loss. When change happens, are you asking users to give up something that may be comfortable and understandable to them. How can we approach change in a way to lessen the impact? Think of a user's Head, Hands, and Heart: the understanding, skills, and emotions that will be affected.
I mentioned to a peer that I left the conference with many thoughts on new technologies, ideas of what I could implement in the future, and one thing I could try right away. ILTA has content to benefit librarians of any legal organization, and can be an additional resource for librarians to turn to when researching products or services. I would recommend checking if your firm has an ILTA membership and sign up! There is great content on the website, you can listen to recordings of past conferences, and attend webinars and local group meetings.
A Bit on Diversity
Librarian of the Month:
Alex X. Zhang
Alex X. Zhang is a Senior Associate Librarian (Reference and FCIL) and Adjunct Professor of Law of the University of Michigan Law Library. She has served on many AALL and FCIL committees since joining the Association in 2009. She is the Vice Chair/Chair Elect of the FCIL-SIS, Past Chair of the Asian American Law Librarians Caucus and Member at Large of Animal Law Caucus. She served on the AALL Emerging Leaders Award Jury (2015 -2016), AALL Price Index to Legal Publications Committee (2014-2015), and AALL Research and Publication Committee (2012-2014). She is active in the international law librarianship community as well. She is a member of IALL and ASIL. She is on the Executive Board of Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries and co-chairs its Translations and Publications Committee. Her works appeared in many national and international journals including Law Library Journal, International Journal of Legal Information, Legal Reference Services Quarterly and Chinese Journal of Comparative Law. She also contributes to Foreign Law Guide, Globalex, and FCIL's blog, DipLawMatic Dialogues. She has presented multiple times in international and national conferences on topics of Chinese legal research, open access, and law librarianship in general. Alex received her J.D. at the University of Kansas in 2006 and her M.S.I. at the University of Michigan in 2009.
What does diversity mean to you?
People from all walks of life have different understandings of what diversity is and how it impacts their lives. People's understanding and perception of diversity evolves as they enter into new environments, gain exposure to new experiences, and continue to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. To me, diversity is all about recognizing, understanding, appreciating, and respecting differences. The key to promote diversity is to create an environment that allows people to embrace, value, and more importantly, utilize individualized as well as group-based differences. As a manager, legal information professional, and a legal research instructor, I have strived to make a positive impact by helping create such an environment since I joined the law librarianship profession.
Why do you think diversity is important for law librarianship?
There are numerous benefits to creating and maintaining a diverse environment or profession. Three key things in my mind are: diversity opens people's minds, breeds innovation, and increases productivity. As a law librarian, we serve a diverse group of patrons with different needs, we work with information resources in many different languages, and we promote open access to wide variety of legal information to people across cultures and disciplines. It is a no brainer that we should value diversity as one of the most fundamental and guiding principles of our profession.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy traveling, reading (in preparation for writing), writing, and
trying diverse, delicious food. I also enjoy watching movies and TV soaps. I hope to get a Weimaraner in the not-too-distant future.
Celebration of Constitution Day
The DOJ Library celebrates Constitution Day with a talk by Roberta I Shaffer, Law Librarian of Congress, entitled "To Be or Not To Be: The Resources of Legal Research."
by Andrew Martin, Chief Librarian, National Labor Relations Board
On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia met to sign the document that forms the backbone of our democracy.
229 years and a couple days later, on September 20th of this year, an erudition [i]of Librarians assembled beneath the gloriously muraled ceiling of the Department of Justice Main Library in the Robert F Kennedy building on Constitution Avenue. We were there at the invitation of Dennis Feldt, the Director of the DOJ Library System, to observe and celebrate Constitution Day. He had brought the illustrious and revered Roberta I. Shaffer, newly re-installed as Law Librarian of Congress, to address us. She gave a pithy and fascinating talk entitled:
To B or Not to B: The Resources of "Legal" Research
Over her years of study and legal research, Ms. Shaffer observed that many of the foundations of our modern legal system begin, coincidentally enough, with the letter B. And the ones that didn't start with B, she unhesitatingly jammed into the taxonomy anyway.
The Bible, of course, is almost unequaled in its influence on our legal system. But the second source, the Bard, was surprising. Ms. Shaffer explained that early American and English case law referenced Shakespeare almost as much as the Bible.
formed the basis for generations of understanding of basic principles of English common law, and the inclusion of Black's Law Dictionary is as obvious as it is definitive. There seems to be an alliterative trend in law dictionaries, and she also mentioned
For the next B item, Ms. Shaffer cheerfully crammed a square peg into a round hole and referenced gloBalization. She spoke at length about the important work that the Library of Congress has done over the past decades, setting up offices in countries around the world to collect and enumerate the local systems of laws. In many cases, she said, the codifications produced by the Library of Congress became THE definitive prints, especially in countries without robust publishing industries.
BIG DATA is
a B that can be either a help or a hindrance. Ms. Shaffer discussed how the rise of the data industry and the shift to online distributed access to legal resources has changed the industry for better and for worse.
And because not all B's are good, Ms. Shaffer threw in BOSS and the difficulties of working with upper management that doesn't always understand the needs and resources necessary to maintain a functioning research service.
The Music Man taught us that Trouble Starts with a Capital T that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool. Using that logic, Ms. Shaffer declared that the next Not To Be was Ross, which rhymes with Boss. Ross Artificial Intelligence uses IBM's Watson technology to try to search all the legal resource tools to find the caselaw needed for a particular research request. There are rumbles of AI capable of writing basic pleadings and motions, as well. Such intelligence systems require FAR less care and feeding than the average first year associate or law librarian, so we are all John Henry facing the same steam drill of automated legal tools.
Ms. Shaffer's talk was compelling, amusing, and poignant. Her depth of knowledge and breadth of experience made her a fantastic speaker on Constitution Day. We owe great thanks to Dennis Feldt and the whole staff of the DOJ Library for putting together such an interesting event. And of course, we owe a debt of thanks to Ms. Shaffer herself, on whom we must bestow one last B sobriquet: BADASS[ii].
There is no generally accepted collective noun for Librarians, so I'm pushing "erudition" in hopes that it catches on.
This joke courtesy of Cameron Gowan.
From the Chair
Please click this link to watch and listen to this month's Chair Column!
Notice of PLLIP-SIS Bylaws Changes
The following changes to the PLLIP Bylaws are being proposed:
Article II: OBJECTIVES
Article VII: COMMITTEES AND GROUPS
There shall be such standing or special committees as the Executive Committee, or the membership, shall create. Other groups such as task forces and working committees may be established by the Executive Committee as necessary.
Unless otherwise provided, committee chairs shall be designated by the Chair of the Special Interest Section.
Around the Blogosphere
The Library And The Church succinctly puts forward the notion that maybe libraries should remain a place of contemplation rather than "just another social space."
Town Hall with PLLIP, Law Librarian Conversations
with Richard Leiter
Friday, December 16, 2016 1pm - 2pm (MST) Online
Details can be found
Reference Librarian at PerkinsCoie
What was your path to law librarianship?
I grew up going to my local public library often, but I never thought about being a librarian until I got a job in one. I worked at Brigham Young University's law library while earning my undergraduate degree in English there. It was a lot of shelf reading and cleaning out student carrels (yuck),but I really enjoyed the people I worked with. I do think it is a little funny because when I graduated high school, I thought that maybe I'd like to be a lawyer but after working at a law school library, I realized I'd rather be a librarian. I kind of fell into the "law" part of it. I got a job at a law firm in Lexington, Kentucky where I got my M.L.I.S. and just continued down that path.
Did you have a mentor or librarian who helped you and/or influenced your work style/ethic?
I learned a lot from Liz Polly. She was my boss at my first law firm job in Kentucky, where I worked as a library assistant. She taught me how to communicate quickly with attorneys so that I can figure out what they need, and meet their deadlines. She also has a really great sense of humor and always makes herself available to people at her firm, which is an example I try to follow. She coached me through my first attempt at Summer Associate orientation and for that I'll always be grateful! We are really close friends and it's great knowing I always have someone to turn to.
I also currently have Denise Pagh as a mentor as part of my experience in the AALL Leadership Academy in April 2016. I enjoy chatting with Denise once a month and learning more about leadership in libraries. The AALL Leadership Academy provided a good networking opportunity for me, and it was beneficial to have a chance to connect with academic law librarians.
How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?
Many days go by where I don't touch a book. Some of that, in my case, is that my career has led me more towards reference work and away from technical services work, which I did a lot of when I first started working in law firm libraries. I see physical collections and space shrinking everywhere.
What is your biggest challenge at work?
Communication. I think I'm lucky to work with a team that does communicate well, but it's the type of skill you have to keep improving, so I see it as a challenge. There always seems to be some kind of change or critical information that needs to be conveyed, and that can be a challenge even for the best communicators. I'll also admit that listening can be a challenge because it takes time (which I often don't have!), but it is important and critical if I want to identify other challenges and opportunities for myself and the rest of the library team.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most? [what part drives you crazy?]
I enjoy my co-workers the most. I think we all have a good sense of humor, and that's something I need in a work environment. I really enjoy how different each day is. I don't know what kind of questions I will get that day, or what I might discover about a resource. What drives me crazy is what my friends who aren't librarians think my job is.
How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?
I get e-mail newsletters and I will read up on some blogs or Twitter feeds from time to time, but my most valuable source is other law librarians. That's why I love being involved in professional associations. I get to meet other people, expand my network, and increase my potential sources of news. I am actively involved in SLA's Legal Division, and am currently serving as chair of the division.
I relied on my librarian colleagues the most when I was a solo law firm librarian. Working in a department of one forces you to reach out and make some connections. The ones I made then are still very valuable to me!
What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?
My backup plan was to become a college professor teaching Shakespeare so maybe that, if I could stand reading that many papers. In a fantasy world, where skills or qualifications don't apply, I'd eat at the best restaurants and give out Michelin stars for a living.
How do you reach out to your attorneys to let them know how the library can help them?
At Perkins Coie, we are working on this now. We restructured earlier this year, centralizing our reference team and moving away from silo'd libraries by offices. Communicating that to the firm was a great opportunity to let people know what we do and how we can help, and we have also been distributing some new marketing materials we created. I don't think librarians are great at marketing what we can do. We're just good at doing it. Providing a high level of customer service really spreads the word though. I see a lot of e-mails where further down the string there is a comment like, "the library is really good at that, ask them."
Our orientations for new attorneys and staff focus on how they can find librarians and get help from us, instead of focusing on how they can use the library resources. For summer associate training, we emphasize that their goal is to be an attorney at Perkins Coie, so we encourage them to act like they are working attorneys and to give research a go, but to turn to us before they get anxious or start spinning their wheels.
Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?
Take a solo librarian job if you get a chance. My work now is mostly centered around reference, but I can't tell you how many times my solo experience was helpful to me. I have cataloged, processed invoices, negotiated with vendors, filed, shelved, reviewed a budget, etc. in a smaller library than where I am now, but just understanding those processes and the nuances to each helps me as a reference librarian. It also gave me a great foundation in law library management and a lot of confidence, which you will need.
My other advice is to be as active as you can in associations and make some library friends! I think it's important to be active at the national and local levels because you derive different benefits from both types of involvement. You can get advice, encouragement, and a sense of belonging which I think is very important if you are going to enjoy your profession. Also, who else is going to get all our library jokes?
AALL Annual Meeting Program Reviews
The Power of Legal Analytics - Delivering Advantages in Marketing, Competitive Intelligence, and Successful Client Pitches
by Jennifer Smitherman, Director of Research and Information Services, Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, P.C.
This program, moderated by Sarah Maudlin, included panelists Stefanie Frame, Jeremy Gresham and Greg Leighton. The panelists first spent a few minutes defining analytics. They stressed that it was not statistics, graphs or pretty pictures, but was the use of data in the decision-making process, and could be broken down into three categories: (i) Representation (Area of law, Jurisdiction, Transactional Work, and Judicial); (ii) Outcomes (Litigation Success Rates, Prosecution Success Rates, Case Timelines, and Remedies); and (iii) Financial(Rates, ROI, and Profitability).
In discussing the financial application of legal analytics, the panelists commented on the trends affecting billable v. actualization rates, client budgets, alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and case outcomes for predicting expenses. Librarians have the ability to use analytics to assist the firm with many details that could be invaluable in designing AFAs and in predicting expenses.
Competitive intelligence (CI) was another topic that was discussed, in relation to how analytics could be of use. Aspects of CI included requests for proposals, firm marketing, benchmarking other firms and clients and recruitment. As many of us have found in recent years, CI is a rapidly growing area that we can dive into in efforts to show our worth to our firms
The panelists interestingly pointed out that librarians and information professionals are search experts, whereas attorneys are subject experts. We need to find a way to bring the two together to maximize the power of analytics.
Needs and challenges regarding analytics were also outlined. The aspect of functionality included the idea that analytics be interactive, deliverable, customizable and be interactive with internal data. Similarly, they should be accurate, current and provide the appropriate depth of coverage.
In addition, affordability is a challenge that is obviously of great importance. We need to be able to justify costs, prepare for cost increases, and provide usage details for the return on investment. The details and analytics we can provide the firm can help educate decision-makers about the reasons for costs and our recommendations for dealing with them.
Ultimately, the panel urged us to remember that while we can use eye-catching images and graphs, those should not be the focus when presenting analytics. Attorneys want a systemized, quick-to-analyze format that can enable to them to see the facts and make a decision based on the information presented.
Vetting People in the Digital Age
by Wendy Maines, Librarian Relations Manager, Thomson Reuters, Legal
Advertised as a session to "help you fine tune your due diligence digging," Vetting People in the Digital Age did not disappoint. Here are three big reasons why.
First, this kind of work has become more complex. Even with easier access to relevant "people" content on vendor platforms, librarians need to bring patrons more than just a report of their people search findings. Our value continues to grow when analysis is provided alongside the information we deliver. This analysis should also be shared with the underlying data organized and presented in a patron-preferred format. Get consumer buy-in on the format, and you'll set yourself up for more research requests in the future.
Presenters US DOJ librarians Jennifer McMahan and Michele Masias guided attendees through a comprehensive list of resources they consult for due diligence. They also provided examples of their report format, and the additional details they add for patrons' easier consumption. Newer law librarians attending left with a highly curated checklist of resources to start with when looking for person-related intel. Seasoned attendees walked away with confirmation that they've been including all the right resources in their people investigations, with perhaps a few new options to consult.
Next, a "real live" librarian was used as a demo for the types of detail one would find on the sites discussed. We witnessed true results of searches performed on a real person. Our speakers focused their examples on sites not well known, or where they used them creatively to obtain key ingredients for their deliverable.
Finally, and most importantly, this document of due diligence resources will be updated and crowd sourced! McMahan and Masias will revise the handout with additional resources and post updated versions here. Typical of our collaborative and service-oriented profession, this content is a gift that keeps on giving.
Crowd-sourcing was performed onsite as well. Note cards were passed out to attendees to write down our own resource suggestions. At the end, we were encouraged to share some our best resource tips not yet included.
Examples of these suggestions are:
- Use Google Chrome's right click Search by Image on a person's online picture to determine if anyone else is using that image, and if so, how?
- Muckety - provides interactive maps to help you explore relationships of the "rich, powerful and connected," including board members of Fortune 1000 companies
- When trying to find info on a person in a foreign location, it may be prudent to pay someone local to look up your individual in the phone book available in the foreign public library.
At the end of the day, it's not just mining the deep Web that shows our value. It's our relationships to people and patrons that will ultimately determine the unique additions and analysis we provide. Knowing what is important to the individual makes all the difference. This session gave a great blueprint for fine-tuning those items into valuable, actionable investigation.
PLLIP Member Profile
Introducing new Board Secretary Mary Ann Wacker
What made you decide to run for Board Secretary of PLLIP?
I was nominated by friends from HALL. After a few terms as HALL Secretary, I thought I could use these skills on the PLLIP Board. I wanted to be more involved.
What do you see as some on PLLIP's highest priorities?
Education and communication.
How do you see our members playing more of a significant role in their organization?
It's important to work well with other firm departments and make personal connections. We want to be the go-to people for all Marketing research, and we work closely with the IT Department to make our Knowledge Resources page the best/most useful site on our firm's intranet. We field questions from everyone, not only the attorneys - from the CEO to the firm's General Counsel.
What would you like to share with our membership re: hobbies, something unusual, or your favorite city to travel to?
My last vacation was a Rick Steves Ireland tour in May and I loved everything about it. The Irish people we met were very warm and funny, it really is green and so beautiful, and we had incredible food (and drink). My family heritage is half-Irish so I felt right at home - I'd go back tomorrow!
Anything else you wish to share?
Our theme this year is "Engage" and I'd love for more members to join a PLLIP Committee. You will meet the nicest people and feel more connected to the organization. We need your ideas!
PLLIP-SIS Executive Board Meeting, September 14, 2016 Minutes
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 August 10, 2016 executive board meeting, Michelle seconded, and the minutes were approved by the Board attendees.
Treasurer's report - Laurel said we have about $75,00 in the bank at the moment.
Reports from Committee Chairs:
Communications: Mary Ann reported on behalf of Andrea Guldalian: the web site and PLLIP e-newsletter are running smoothly. Kevin Miles has requested that one point person send in any updates. Andrea is working on getting On Firmer Ground more active and also wants to promote the PLLIP resource guides. Cameron suggested links to these guides be sent to all new members. Linda Jean is our point person for web site changes.
Education: Liz reported on behalf of Jim and Jennifer: There is a Competitive Intelligence webinar coming up.
AMPC: Julie and Lucy are sending out e-mails with calls for proposals. They want people to submit ideas - we are the largest SIS group in AALL and should have the most programs. The Ideascale site was a success with many ideas sent in. If people only send in their ideas, they can get help with speakers and other details later.
Nominations: Kim said they are progressing towards assembling the Committee. Someone recently dropped out so they are looking for a new member.
PLLIP Summit: Jeremy said that the program is in the works and they are looking for local (Austin) help with planning.
Small/Medium Law Libraries: Kathy and Sandra reported that they have sent in an idea for AALL; they also expressed some concern over the time slot they were given at last year's meeting. There was some discussion on how to get a different time slot. Kathy and Sandy would like more people to get involved.
Strategic Directions: Laurel reported that their committee has not met yet and are in the beginning stages.
Elevation Task Force: Scott said that he and Jean O'Grady are working on adding more relevant content to the types of surveys that vendors do such as the American Lawyer survey. They would like to include better ways of measuring our value. They are also accepting proposals from consultants. We also clarified that the Elevation Task Force is a PLLIP Committee while the Value Task Force is part of AALL.
Web site: Linda-Jean reported they are still working on some technical issues and limitations of the web site. They want to update the links and place them correctly.
Other New Business:
· AMPC proposals are due on October 3rd.
· Value Task Force: Scott reported that are are working with a consultant to come up with a designation for "Gold Level Service" and firms could apply for this. They are also working on countering certain messages that appear in the media/press regarding librarians - like a recent BNA article saying we are resistent to change.
· Continuation of PLLIP Subgroups: We discussed these various groups and if they are viable going forward. We are looking to change language of the bylaws to an AALL standard so we can be a bit more fluid with these groups and not have them specifically named in the bylaws. The Knowledge Management and Small/Medium Law Libraries groups look like they will go forward, but not the Corporate or Records groups at this point. Elaine made a motion to change the bylaws and Laurel seconded. Mary Ann will sumbit the proposed change to the AALL Bylaws Committee.
· Survey of Members: Elaine made a strong case for surveying our members. We can ask questions about the Summit, types of educational programming, and what the Board should plan. She wants smaller and solo librarians to feel like they have a say, and also how we can deliver a virtual conference experience to those who cannot attend in person. Laurel also likes the survey idea and believes in using open-ended questions so people can really share their thoughts.
The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m. CST.