AALL State of the Profession 2019: Data-Driven Exploration of Current Legal Information Professionals’ Contributions

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) recently released its AALL State of the Profession 2019, “a data-driven exploration of current legal information professionals’ contributions.”  Per the AALL press release, the report “provides quantitative insights on user services, technology services, operations, budgets, and partnerships” and covers the following areas:

  • research platform expertise,
  • contract and vendor negotiation,
  • AI development and implementation,
  • metadata management,
  • legal writing and research instruction,
  • competitive intelligence,
  • customer and client relations, and
  • leadership.

The report also “features an inventory of expertise – including current skills held by law librarians and competencies for library and law school graduates.”  A State of the Profession Advisory Group created surveys for each main law library type – academic, government, and firm/corporate – and  883 responses were received. The report highlights librarians’ assessments of their areas of expertise and how they contribute to their organizations.

Below are some outtakes with law firm librarians’ answers:

TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT:

“AALL members are technology experts, and take the lead with the purchase, implementation, operation, and overall management of research databases in their organizations. Their expertise extends to overseeing knowledge management systems, websites, intranet, and other digital services.”

PERCENTAGE OF LAW LIBRARIES MANAGING EACH PLATFORM, BY LIBRARY TYPEFirm

FIRM/CORPORATE LAW LIBRARIES: SKILLS SYNOPSIS

Snapshot of where firm/corporate law librarians stand on a selection of skills.

  • Customer/Client Services – 70.5% are experts
  • Resource Evaluation – 67.3% are experts
  • Communication/Presentation Skills – 64.1% are experts
  • Competitive Intelligence – 55.0% are experts
  • Vendor Management – 54.2% are experts
  • Leadership – 52.3% are experts

Looking Ahead: Skills 2021

“Plans for professional development during the next two years focus on AI/machine learning, blockchain, and data expertise.”

The complimentary AALL State of the Profession 2019 Snapshot provides an introduction to the full report. The AALL State of the Profession 2019 is available in print and digital formats and can be purchased via AALL’s website.

Media coverage of the report:

New Report Underscores the Evolving Role of Law Librarians, by Robert Ambrogi, Above the Law, April 22, 2019

“The survey on which the report is based polled librarians who work in each of three main library types — academic, government, and firm/corporate. Not surprisingly, in all three types of libraries, librarians’ most common technology role is overseeing research platforms. But they also have responsibility for knowledge management systems, intranets, websites, and blogging platforms.”

Law libraries chart a new direction for the future, new report shows, by Amanda Robert, ABA Journal, April 16, 2019

“The inaugural AALL State of the Profession 2019 report—which captures information from academic, government, law firm and corporate law libraries—shows that 27.4% of law firms or corporations have at least one active artificial intelligence initiative. Of those, 68.4% involve the library.”

The State of the Legal Profession, 2019, by Greg Lambert, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, April 16, 2019
“…I’m thrilled that the report showcases law librarians’ adaptability. Of the 27.4 percent whose law firm/corporation had an AI/machine learning initiative, 68.4 percent involve the library. Law librarians also regularly manage or contribute to: competitive intelligence, business development, marketing, professional development, management, and strategy in firms/corporations.”

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