AALL Annual Meeting 2019 Recap: Summit X: The Path to 2030

Kristen Perez and Janet McKinney received grants from the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section to attend the PLLIP Summit occurring on Saturday, July 13, before the AALL Annual Meeting. Below are their conference recaps.


By Kristen Perez, Research Specialist at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough in Charlotte, NC

Jordan Furlong of Law 21 started off the day by delivering the keynote address, “How Law Librarians and Legal Information Professionals Can Redefine Law Firms in the 21st Century.”  Mr. Furlong took us on a tour of the climate change that has occurred in the legal industry in recent years and provided a map to the future and our changing roles.

Mr. Furlong outlined the factors at play in the legal industry that can provide opportunities for legal information professionals as we navigate these changes:

  • Law firms have traditionally operated under the billable hour model, letting young associates ‘train on the job’ at the expense of clients.  This business model is being called into question by big law firm clients, many of whom have negotiated alternative fee arrangements.   Clients are increasingly unwilling to pay for research expenses and the training of new lawyers.
  • Legal work is becoming divided into commodity-level versus complex tasks.  Alternative legal service providers have begun to assume work previously done by junior-level associates, leaving firms to handle tasks that involve more expertise.
  • The technology of legal work has evolved, as artificial intelligence and analytics providers have emerged.
  • Overall, client expectations are changing and are forcing law firms to adapt.  Alternative legal service providers are creating competition for law firms.  Clients demand value and want law firms to ‘know’ them and their industries, and to anticipate their needs.

This invites opportunity for we, as legal information professionals, to redefine our roles.  Our profession has not only embraced and promoted the use of technology in legal research, but has also kept pace with the various incarnations of legal research platforms.  We are neither unfamiliar with, nor adverse to, change.  As a service department, we are also accustomed to working with other departments within our organizations to achieve institutional goals. Continue reading

AALL Annual Meeting 2019 Recap: AALL 2019 Tackles the Firm Librarian’s Role in Legal Research Competency

By Allison Reeve Davis, Library Manager, Littler Mendelson

Allison Reeve Davis received a Speaking Engagement Grant from the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section to attend the AALL Annual Meeting.  Allison also participated in the AALL Innovation Tournament while at the conference and was the Judges’ Choice winner for her Tentative Rulings Database.

 I wrote up this report three weeks after AALL wrapped up in DC, and my mind was still swirling with the engaging programming and thought-provoking conversations I shared with colleagues.

The buzz surrounding the future of legal research training and the gaps in attorney research and technology skills caught my attention. At Littler Mendelson, we’re always trying to gain deeper insight into what the attorneys need to know, identify practice pain-points, determine how to best deliver training, and explore forthcoming technologies to ensure we’re ready when they’re rolled out.

Jordan Furlong, a global legal market analyst, gave a fantastic keynote during PLLIP Summit X addressing the changing legal landscape and future of law firm librarianship.  [Ed. Note:  The PLLIP Summit precedes the main conference and provides an opportunity for private law librarians and information professionals to focus on current issues and opportunities common to their firms and organizations.]  A key takeaway I got from the keynote was that legal information professionals can act as a backbone for the firm’s “advisory knowledge” demands, in areas such as client intelligence, analytics, and knowledge management. Furlong advised that librarians will evolve from traditional data mining to data refining. This means librarians should hone skills in delivering information with actionable insight and position themselves as a competitive edge within the firm.  Robert Ambrogi delved into the session in more detail in his post on Above the Law.  What I explore here is the thought provoking question asked by an audience member: as law schools start to teach students the practice of law and commoditized tasks are replaced with complex work, where will legal research training take place?  It became clear throughout the Annual Meeting that librarians from all institutional types have a role to play in attorney preparedness.

Related to this central question was the AALL session, “Assessing Legal Research Competency: Bridging the Gap between Law School and Practice,” presented by Nicole Downing, Jennifer Davitt, Taryn Rucinski, and Kelly A. McGlynn, and moderated by Theresa Tarves.  These information professionals work in a variety of institutions including law firms, government agencies, and law schools. Their diverse observations and viewpoints provided rich insight into attorney competency gaps and offered solutions for information professionals who assess and teach research aptitude. Areas for skill improvement ranged from research project intake and output to knowledge of administrative law and legislative history. The librarians provided methods of skill assessment, both formal, such as quizzes in the law school legal research classroom, and informal, like observations from reference interviews with legal clerks. Kelly, from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP, discussed her library’s involvement in the firm’s attorney development program. The firm’s librarians teach an array of topics including cost effective research strategy, licensing, and client confidentiality. They gain insight on what to teach based on answers to reference interview questions such as “What are you working on? “What have you done already?” and “What practice group are you researching for?”

Let’s not forget to keep it fun, though! The librarians presenting on competency gaps reminded the audience that creativity and flexibility are essential to meeting the attorneys at a place for learning. As a PLLIP-SIS Speaking Engagement Grant recipient, I attended the conference and participated as a panelist for “Wanna Play? Leveraging Gamification to Increase Interest, Adoption, Technology and Research Skills” with Bradelynn Boyce-Dendy, Lisa Njoku, and coordinator Sarah Morris. Our group shared experiences harnessing the competitive streak in attorneys and turning resource training and adoption into enjoyable, engaged gamification.

AALL also accepted my application to participate in this year’s Innovation Tournament. My library’s project is a database of Santa Clara, California, Superior Court tentative rulings.  In building the tool, we have responded to the evolving client demands that our attorneys gain a competitive edge in judicial insight. This also required us to think through how to empower our attorneys to leverage the tool, understand its results, and apply them to their litigation strategy or business development. I thank PLLIP-SIS for the ability to attend, and the Innovation Tournament judges’ panel for their vote of confidence in Littler’s new cool tool.

Many of the sessions at AALL this year included calls to consider the law librarian’s role in preparing lawyers for the legal market and evolving information landscape. A combined effort of practice-focused classroom instruction at law schools, new attorney orientations in firms, and continuing research and technology competency training will prove the most beneficial to the attorneys we serve. The integral role of law firm information professionals’ involvement in knowledge competency development cannot be understated. As the practice of new attorneys moves from the commoditized to the complex, law schools will expand their teaching of evolving technologies, and clients will demand data-based practice insight.  Firm librarians will be required to bridge any gaps in understanding the complex web of information. After witnessing presenters’ proactive instructional design and learning about and sharing information on innovative tools and programs, l came away inspired and confident that librarians are positioned to partner with firm management and to offer attorneys the competitive edge.

As previously mentioned, I owe gratitude to the PLLIP Grants Committee for supporting my attendance. The ability to share my experience and hear new ideas is rewarding for myself, Littler’s library, and other legal information professionals. I encourage others to apply for the available grants as an opportunity to challenge your perspective and advance your department through professional development.

AALL Annual Meeting 2019 Recap: Grant Recipient Conference Report

As we reach the end of summer, we wanted to share some highlights of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting that took place this year in Washington, DC.  Over the next week or so, we will be posting recaps from this always productive and inspirational conference.  As our fellow law librarians and information professionals prepare for fall, we’re sure they will be applying the insights and ideas they took away from this year’s annual meeting to move their libraries and research centers forward.

By Sabrina A. Davis, Research Librarian, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section of AALL offers grants so members can attend the AALL annual meeting, as well as conferences hosted by other associations.  Sabrina received a AALL Conference Registration and Travel Grant, and below is her conference report.

This was my first AALL Conference since 2016 and my first time going as a firm librarian – the previous three times, I was in academia. I would like to thank the PLLIP-SIS Grants Committee for giving me this opportunity to learn, network, and have a little bit of fun in D.C.

Learning:  Using Web Archives in Legal Research

By far, the most valuable program I attended was “I Know It Used to Be There: Using Web Archives in Legal Research.” The session focused on three products: Wayback Machine (from Internet Archive), the Library of Congress Web Archives, and perma.cc (from Harvard University).  I’ve used the Wayback Machine multiple times, but this session highlighted useful features, such as a new checkbox to “Save Outlinks” (i.e., pages internally linked on URL); browser extensions that intercept 404 errors and redirect, and iOS and Android apps. Also highlighted were other Internet Archive resources such as the TV News Archive with closed captioning and OCR, and the not yet publicly available Voice of America (VOA) radio recordings.

The Library of Congress Web Archives content focuses on Library of Congress collections, such as the US Congressional Web Archive (collected monthly).  Other content includes Blawgs (monthly, 228 followed); Federal Courts; International Tribunals; Foreign Law; State Government websites (targeted for state-published documents), and Indigenous Law (being released in 2020).  Browsing and faceted searching of records is available at the collection level, but full-text searching is not available, and even though they use the Wayback Machine for web crawling, the Library of Congress Web Archives are not part of Wayback Machine results.

The third resource covered was perma.cc, created by Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab to address legal link rot. Per their website, perma.cc “helps scholars, journals, courts, and others create permanent records of the web sources they cite.”  Based on user-driven captures (not web crawlers), perma.cc allows users to copy and paste a URL to perma.cc to create a permalink. Potential law firm uses include citation in briefs, internal born-digital documents, and blawgs. One cool feature of perma.cc is it includes hi-fi captures and playbacks (Webrecorder), as well as captures of carousels of images.

Networking

Davis_JusticeOne of the best things about the AALL Annual Meeting is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. There were plenty of opportunities for networking throughout the conference, even for those (like me) who didn’t have the stamina to make it to the many evening receptions. The Opening Reception Saturday evening and the Exhibit Hall breaks offered time for casual conversations and introductions to new people, while the PLLIP-SIS Annual Business Meeting & Lunch provided a more formal time to conduct section business. Aside from being a typical business meeting though, we got to meet Justice, our new gender-neutral dinosaur mascot. Justice will be passed from the outgoing to the incoming PLLIP-SIS chair annually, to remind us to not get stuck in the past and to learn lessons for the future.

I also attended the PEGA-SIS (Professional Engagement, Growth & Advancement-Special Interest Section) Beer and Edits Scholarly Networking event and the introductory meeting for the proposed Critical Legal Research Caucus, to try to make additional contacts with similar interests in writing and empirical research.

Fun and Swag!

The best swag award goes to Thomson Reuters for their awesome, sturdy laptop backpack and the fun “Trust me, I’m a Librarian” t-shirt. The therapy dogs that made appearances on Saturday and Sunday were the highlight of the exhibit hall for me though.

Davis_therapy dog

Mapping a Path to 2030: Private Law Librarians to Meet for 10th Annual Summit

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will hold their tenth annual Summit in conjunction with the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting in July.  Per the Summit website, the annual event began as a two-year project for private law librarians “to explore ways to embrace change, demonstrate value, and learn about leading-edge trends.”  Due to the success of the first two years, the Summit continues to be held, giving firm and corporate law librarians a forum for discussing trends and pressures affecting their firms and legal departments, and an opportunity to develop best practices and models to thrive within their current environments.  One of the Summit’s professed goals is to allow legal information professionals to “cast the debate” for how they “should operate and meet new challenges” and how to chart a path forward.

Summit X: The Path to 2030 will offer attendees a chance to reflect on what has changed (and what remains constant) in the provision of legal research and information services and to participate in designing a path forward. Jordan Furlong, keynote speaker at the 2012 Summit, is returning to deliver the keynote, focusing on how the growing power and sophistication of legal intelligence can dovetail with and help accelerate the transformation of law firms’ client services and business models. Jordan’s keynote will describe the key roles law librarians, knowledge managers, and data analysts will play “as law firms become manufacturers, refineries, and exporters of actionable legal intelligence.”

Following the keynote, a set of panel discussions will allow legal information professionals to engage with and learn from customers and stakeholders. The first panel, Law Firm Leadership: Managing the Change, will focus on how law firms have responded to changes in the legal industry over the last decade. Panelists will also reflect on the keynote speaker’s vision of how the delivery of legal services may change in the years ahead. Marcia Burris, Director of Research and Knowledge Management at Nexsen Pruet, will lead a conversation with Sonia Menon, Chief Operating Officer at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP; Mark Langdon, Executive Director at Ballard Spahr LLP; and Howard Janis, Chief Financial Officer at Nexsen Pruet.

The second panel, Our Customers: The Evolving Use of Information Professionals, “will discuss how broader legal industry trends play out in day-to-day interactions between information professionals and customers, and will share ideas on how we [information professionals] can help them push boundaries and position themselves successfully with their clients and in the legal marketplace in the coming decade.”  The participants in this panel are: Toby Brown, Chief Practice Management Officer, Perkins Coie; Peter Alfano, Senior Associate at Squire Patton Boggs; and Julie Bozzell, Public Law and Policy Practice Manager at Akin Gump. Scott Bailey, Director of Research Services at Eversheds Sutherland, will moderate.

An afternoon interactive session focused on Design Thinking methodology will help attendees develop skills to use in the workplace when creating services and products or when solving day-to-day problems. “Attendees will work individually and together to try and identify some of the biggest challenges faced in law libraries today and then, as a group, will attempt to begin solving those challenges.”  The law librarians and information professionals will then do what they do best–share their knowledge and will report to the group on proposed solutions and ideas to chart a path forward.

Summit X: The Path to 2030 is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.  See the PLLIP Summit website for more information.

ARK Group Conference to Highlight Role of the Modern Law Firm Librarian: Knowledge Management, Big data and Analytics, and Client-facing Solutions

The modern law firm librarian and legal information professional’s role continues to evolve along with the changing legal industry, and knowledge management, analytics, and client-facing solutions now occupy more and more of legal information professionals’ time.

The ARK Group’s 13th annual Law Firm Library, Research & Information Services conference brings together a group of legal information professionals to illuminate their changing roles, and to share their strategies and best practices for dealing with current challenges and opportunities.  Several members of the American Association of Law Libraries’ Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals’ section (PLLIP) will be among the speakers at the event, which will be held Thursday, February 21, at the SUNY Global Center in New York.

Below is a snapshot of the presentations. View the full agenda on the ARK Group site.

Opening Remarks – Conference Co-Chairs
Kris Martin, Senior Director, HBR Consulting, and Holly M. Riccio, Senior Manager, HBR Consulting 

Putting Intelligence in BP Decision Makers’ Hands 
Angela McKane, Lead, Technology Intelligence, BP 

Keeping Up With the Quants: Leveraging Data in Managing Departments
Kathryne L. Valentine, Director of Knowledge & Practice Innovation, Dentons US LLP

Partnering with Clients to Drive Practical Innovation
Toby Brown, Chief Practice Management Officer, Perkins Coie LLP, and Gwyneth McAlpine, Director of Knowledge Management Services, Perkins Coie LLP

There Are Always Two Sides to Every (KM) Story
Kathy Skinner, Director of Research & Information Services, White & Case LLP; Gina Lynch, Director of Knowledge Services, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; and Holly Riccio, Senior Manager, HBR Consulting 

Buyer Beware: Evaluating Analytics Products – How to Select an Analytics Product
Jean O’Grady, JD, MLS, Sr. Dir of Information, Research & Knowledge Management, DLA Piper LLP (US); Diana J. Koppang, Director of Research & Competitive Intelligence, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP; and June H. Liebert, Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services, Sidley Austin LLP

Time for a Little Library R&R (Recovery & Revenue) 
Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer, Jackson Walker LLP, and Lee Bernstein, Library Manager, Haynes & Boone, LLP 

Who moved my cheese? How firm libraries create new top-line (and bottom-line) value
Ron Friedmann, Chief Knowledge & Information Officer, LAC

Kill the Library, Elevate the Service…
Huu Nguyen, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP; Scott D. Bailey, Global Director of Research Services, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP;  Nancy Rine, Director of Research Services and Conflicts, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver &  Jacobson LLP; and Thao Tran, KM Manager, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver &  Jacobson LLP