PLLIP Summit 2021 Recap: Think Positively About Change and Embrace Flux!

By Theresa Greco, Library Services Manager, HBR Consulting

There’s no denying that the pandemic spurred quite a bit of change and uncertainty for everyone in 2020; what we knew about our work life, home life and our social engagements changed overnight. People needed to quickly adapt to what was being termed the “new normal”.  Fast forward to 2021 and although the stay-at-home orders and most mask mandates have been lifted, the world is still in complete chaos. Change and how we handle it will continue in the now “never normal” world. 

This year’s PLLIP Summit, “Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change offered attendees the opportunity to hear from experts about how to perceive change differently, and about the skills needed to survive and thrive in this new chaotic world.   The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) hosts the Summit prior to the start of the AALL Annual Meeting each year to give legal information professionals at law firms and other organizations a chance to engage with their colleagues on new developments and on challenges they’re tackling in the legal information world.

Keynote speaker, April Rinne, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Flux”, kicked-off the day-long symposium by leading attendees through an exercise exploring their current relationships to change and offering alternative ways to consider change. Not all change is negative, Rinne assured us. As professionals we need to rethink and reconsider what really matters when things change. Rinne suggests that as information professionals we need to take advantage of the “flux” we’re experiencing and use it to reshape our future. Everything we do is rooted in mindset. If we can think positively about change, it will become a positive in our life.

Another interesting conversation occurred during the PLLIP Fireside Chat with David Lat. Lat shared his unique perspective on change as he took us through an intimate discussion around his three weeks on a ventilator after contracting COVID in early 2020. This and other life experiences have helped Lat realize that he needed to make personal and professional changes happen at different points in his life.  He recognizes change as an opportunity to enrich his life and make it more fulfilling.

The summit ended on a high note with an energetic workshop led by Brie Leung, a seasoned facilitator and change agent.  Brie offered attendees what she called her “4 Truths to Change”, basically four new ways to think about change. 

Leung’s 4 Truths to Change are:

  1. Change is a process.
  2. People have an emotional, human reaction to change.
  3. Successful change creates great leaders.
  4. Change is constant and it isn’t going away.

While 2020 was a year of “reacting” to change; 2021 needs to be a year of “rethinking” change.  As knowledge professionals we are positioned within our firms to provide information, offer solutions, and assist in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the legal community. As Rinne pointed out: this time of flux has given us an opportunity to embrace the new “never normal” and to rethink and reinvent everything we’ve known up until this point.

Are you up for tackling the new “never normal”?

Looking Forward to the PLLIP Summit: Full Agenda Now Available

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section has prepared a timely and thoughtful program for Friday, July 16th, open to both members and non-members.  The theme of the program is Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change, and the Committee has secured engaging and dynamic presenters to share their insights with attendees.  Breakout sessions will allow for attendee participation and interaction with colleagues.  Please see below for more details on the Summit agenda.

To register for the 2021 Summit, please visit the AALL registration page here. Please note Registration deadline is July 2, 2021, **with zero exceptions**

Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change

 8:30 am Pacific / 9:30 am Mountain / 10:30 am Central / 11:30 am Eastern
Keynote Address – April Rinne

2020 saw more change and uncertainty than most people were ready for. The world was in flux: changes at work and at home, schedule changes and school changes, ever-changing plans and expectations. It was a lot! And yet, one year later in July 2021, the world is in just as much flux — it simply looks different, and it’s here to stay. What does “hybrid work” really mean? What new skills will be required? And of course, how can law librarians harness this uncertainty to their own and their organizations’ advantage? 

We’ll kick off this year’s summit by zooming out — beyond any one change management strategy, tool, or technique — to explore our relationships to change, period. When everything is in flux, what does it mean to have a “Flux Mindset?” You’ll learn practices to boost your self-awareness and see change differently. April Rinne is both a lawyer and a futurist. She’ll help us look back and look forward. This isn’t about any one change or any one year, but rather preparing for a future in flux — and thriving in it!

9:45 am P / 10:45 am M / 11:45 am C / 12:45 pm E
Facilitated Discussion Groups in Breakout Rooms

Join one of the topics below and discuss these current issues with your colleagues. Multiple rooms will be available per topic, and participants will be able to move between rooms.

The future of print. What is your organization doing with print?  Share your successes and failures with removing print from your collection.  How to deal with training attorneys, working with vendors, and utilizing creative solutions.

Training, marketing, and engaging attorneys. How to reach out to attorneys in an online or hybrid environment.  What tools have you used to facilitate adoption of online tools?  Share your tips, tricks, successes and failures – and learn from your colleagues. 

Technology tips. Applying Online Tools in the Library – ex: Gannt Charts and Project Management; Excel Pivot Tables; SharePoint for statistics, FAQs, request tracking; Winning internet designs and strategies. Share your best kept secrets and learn from the group.

New employees. Can new hires be remote or hybrid?  How to onboard new library employees in a remote or hybrid environment.

Team members, training and building relationships. How can you participate in team training or social opportunities while working from home.  Do you want to be in the office for evaluations? Share your tips and learn from others about how to build relationships in the evolving new environment.

Preparing to go back. Is your firm considering hybrid schedules?  How can we help employees that won’t be allowed to work from home?  Will there be new safety measures?  Will the library be providing new hours for your patrons? Are we ready for the next pandemic? 

Continue reading

Announcing the 2021 PLLIP Summit–Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will be holding its annual meeting virtually this year (July 19-23, 2021), and the Private Law Librarians and Information Professional section will once again offer a pre-conference Summit (Friday, July 16).  This year’s Summit, Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change, will explore change, our response to change, change management, and finding opportunities and happiness in change.

The Summit Planning Committee has gathered an excellent lineup of speakers.  You can read more about each speaker below.  To register for the 2021 Summit, please visit the AALL registration page here.

April Rinne- Keynote Address

April Rinne has been weaving her own story about how to thrive amid flux, personally and professionally, for as long as she can remember.

Today April is an acclaimed speaker, thinker, advisor and writer. She is known for her many keynotes each year to business, industry, investment, policy and educational audiences around the world, and for her role as a bridge: between startups and governments, between developed and developing countries, between those excited about change and those resistant to it. She is also an impact investor, mental health advocate, yoga teacher and insatiable handstander. April’s handstands underscore her upside-down perspective on the world: they help her see differently, stay flexible, and bring joy (and occasionally amazement) to others. Earlier in her career she served as a global development executive, microfinance lawyer, and hiking and biking guide.

April holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in International Business and Finance from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.A. in International Studies and Italian (summa cum laude) from Emory University. She is a Fulbright Scholar and studied at Oxford (University College; one full academic year), the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the European University Institute.  April was a practicing attorney at Allen & Overy in London, UK and at O’Melveny & Myers in San Francisco.  Her practice focused in corporate, banking, international capital markets, development finance. Like many of our members, April has had an atypical legal career, harnessing legal skills in unconventional yet future-forward ways.

Continue reading

10 Ways Data Science Can Help Law Librarians

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 25, Number 5 (May/June 2021), pgs. 16-19.

By Sarah Lin, Information Architect & Digital Librarian at RStudio, PBC

As law librarians, many of us scrutinize the data we have access to with Excel and out-of-the-box visualization tools. Whether that data is from docket activity, research databases, websites, or online catalogs, what we have can generally be described as “usage data.” But what one skill set would allow us to do so much more with that data, to better understand and communicate what our users are doing and what they need? Enter, data science.

Broadly speaking, data science brings opportunities to work more quickly and easily with data. It provides better reporting formats by incorporating outside data from various sources, and can even turn text into data that can be displayed visually. Even though legal information isn’t always associated with data, science, or data science, data science skills enable law librarians to do their jobs with greater efficiency. With data science skills, we are able to show new value for our teams and organizations, so it is definitely worth the time invested.

Even in a year when time has been both condensed and stretched (when many of us picked up new hobbies, such as baking), learning to code for just one use case, such as replacing Excel as a data analysis tool, doesn’t make sense. Luckily, data science skills are useful for more than just data manipulation, and learning to code allows you to provide many more use cases than just creating better data visualizations for management. Cooking is a useful metaphor for data science: while it’s completely possible to eat take-out, frozen food, box mixes, and cereal for dinner, you can actually create healthier meals with the right tools, enhanced cooking skills, and a better understanding of ingredients. For example, pre-cut vegetables are available in grocery stores, but a chef ’s knife and some practice allow you to customize any meal you make as well as lower costs. Similarly, while you can do your job with Excel and a commercial tool such as Tableau or PowerBI, learning to do data science opens a window of opportunities to new and improved skills that do more than just create improved graphics for reports or budget projections.

The following 10 data science skills and techniques, along with descriptions of the amazing deliverables that are associated with them, are listed in a progressive skill-building sequence, and they will provide you with a fully stocked data science kitchen. Keep in mind that the examples in this article focus on the R programming language, even though data science can also be done in Python (which has similar and sometimes compatible resources for you to use). The power of data science using R or Python comes from the powerful skills and techniques they enable you to use to transform how you work with data in your day to-day job. It’s time to graduate from Excel and start cooking with gas!

Continue reading