by James Mullan, KM Systems Manager at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP and BIALL President-Elect.
I know this is the case following my attendance at the Australian Law Librarians Association (ALLA) in Canberra at the end of September where I attended as the official British & Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) delegate. Called ACTioning the Law the conference provided a number of opportunties for Law Librarians to hear about how law was created in Australia, to hear about developments in making legislation and other resources available online and to understand how technolgical advances were impacting on the work of Law Librarians.
There I saw the true value Law Firm Librarians bring to their organisations by listening to what some of the “external” speakers had to say about Law Firm Librarians they’d worked with.
From the Director-General at the National Library of Australia, the Freedom of Information Comissioner the Editor-at-Large of the Canberra Times and a recently qualified Associate at a large Australian Law Firm each was effusive and generous with their comments both about the work Law Firm Librarians do and how Law Firm Librarians had and continue to assist them throughout their working careers. For me this was a welcome reminder that we continue to influence the work of individuals not just in the firms we work in but across many different organisations and in the case of the Associate not just when they were a trainee but post qualification and as their career develops.
However now is not the time to rest on our laurels. The market and climate we work in has never been more competitive. The recent mergers in Australia have shown that law firms are keener then ever to consolidate and develop their services and although these mergers provide opportunties for Law Firm Librarians we need to be constantly evaluating the services we provide and work we do to ensure we’re influencing the right people!