Leader Profile of Andre Davison: Champion of Diversity and Innovation in Law Firm Libraries

Three Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals were honored this year as part of the 2020 Fastcase 50 —Cynthia Brown, Andre Davison, and Diana Koppang. Thanks to all of them for being such great representatives of law firm librarians. Over the next week, we will be publishing profiles on each of the honorees. The first profile is on Andre Davison, Research Technology Manager, Blank Rome LLP.

Fastcase 50 profile:

Andre Davison
Research Technology Manager, Blank Rome LLP

“If we have finally come to the realization that our colleagues with superior technical skills can also be colleagues with exceptional interpersonal qualities, it is in large part because of people like Andre Davison…In 2019 Andre was honored as the winner of the Third Annual American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Tournament for his project on “Seamless Access to Secondary Sources.” Beyond technology, Andre is active in the area of diversity and inclusion within Blank Rome, as evidenced by his selection for the firm’s prestigious Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones Diversity Award. He was recently elected Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of the newly constituted Black Law Librarians Special Interest Section of AALL. On a broader scale, Andre has generously served as President of the Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL) for the 2019-2020 year, and is a current member of the Executive Board of AALL’s Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) Special Interest Section. The legal information and wider world are both better off because of those who build, lead, and serve like Andre.”

Answers compiled by Kevin Miles, Manager of Library Services, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

What has been the biggest single change you have seen in the industry? And what changes do you see ahead? 

Technology is changing the legal industry at a rapid pace. The changes from 2010 to 2015 were eye opening. The pandemic has forced us to be collaborative.

What role will knowledge management professionals play going forward?

KM professionals are key to the firm as we move into new roles as facilitators of information, research and efficiencies.

Name one thing that you or your team is doing this year to meet the challenges ahead.

My team is involved in an initiative to help identify industry-specific information so we can address clients’ needs. We’re also working on ways to highlight the work our department does to keep leadership aware of our contributions.

What was your path to law librarianship?

My high school started a program in criminal justice. I worked with a law firm during the summer and in a co-op program in the law library. There I learned I like technology and research. Later, I continued to work in the law library through college and later my MLS.

How has your job evolved from the time you first began your career?

I started out as a paraprofessional, copying cases from books on a cart. That took about an hour. Now, I have a tool that will download the cases in 5 minutes. So, technology is making our lives easier, and more efficient.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the research, discovering new things, and providing new results.

How do you keep up with news and trends in law libraries?

 I am really involved in Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL), the local AALL chapter, and am also a board member of PLLIP, and Black Law Librarians SIS.   Also, I am a member of the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), read the blogs of Bob Ambrogi and Jean O’Grady. I am open to volunteering for certain things that improve the library profession. I have a hard time telling people “no.”

What job would you have if you had not become a law librarian?

I would probably be in information technology, in product management or development. . Previously I worked on the finance and risk side of a large company. Currently I am learning to program in the Python language.

Any advice for new librarians who are just starting out?

My advice would be to get to know people; volunteer. The library is really a people business. Get involved in your local, regional and national organizations.

What do you do to relax?

Running. I am training to run a Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.

What historical figure would you most like to meet?

Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was a great change leader.

What is something that people don’t know about you?

I am a huge Marvel Comics and Marvel Movie fan.

Any final thoughts?

It is a huge honor to be profiled; I want to inspire others, and build new leaders in the profession. Finally, I want to enhance our profession in the areas of technology and diversity.

Follow Andre on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/andreldavison. Andre Davison is an accomplished Knowledge and Information Services professional with 25+ years of experience in the legal and corporate sectors.

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