The developing skill-employment disconnect in law libraries and what to do about it

By Sarah Sutherland, McMillan LLP, Vancouver, Canada

The press has been reporting skills shortages coupled with growth in unemployment. This situation comes from a transition toward new highly skilled jobs and away from legacy lower skilled jobs (you can read about this further here, here, and here). This is already happening in the greater library industry with a shift from some traditional roles, which are often very repetitive, towards roles that require more management and technological skills. Continue reading

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Not lesser. Just different.

Working within a law firm, there is a very clear division in staff: there are lawyers, and there are non-lawyers. Lawyers believe that they are important, intelligent, innovative, indispensable, and all sorts of other “i” words.  In the eyes of the lawyers, us non-lawyers are often seen to be none of those “i” words…we are other i’s – irritating, in-the-way, inconvenient. Which can create quite a number of problems for those of us who make up that generic mass of non-lawyer staff, particularly librarians. Continue reading

Demonstrating the value of your legal research programme

by Pamela Stephens, National Training Librarian, Ashurst Australia.

Our articled clerks (graduates) participate in an intense programme aimed at building their legal research skills in the first three months of joining us. They attend a one hour workshop every two weeks on legal research method (that is, how to find judicial consideration, NOT how to use LexisNexis). Our passionate and creative training librarians try to make these workshops as engaging as possible, with games, competitions, video and lots of hands on participation. The feedback is always great! Continue reading

For each library, a librarian. Preferably in it.

There has been a lot of comment in the blogosphere recently about embedding librarians into legal teams, whilst this might work well in bigger firms for the solo librarian in a smaller firm it’s not always practical or desirable.  This post by a member of the Scottish Law Librarians Group discusses this in the context of a library relocation. Continue reading

TRAINING AS A LIBRARY FUNCTION: SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM THE OUTSIDE

Posted by Chuck Lowry. Chuck is an enterprise sales representative for Fastcase.  He can be reached at (703) 740-5941 or clowry@fastcase.com.

Over the past many years, I have been in and out of law firm libraries pretty regularly.  I have observed a few things about how librarians train themselves, train their staffs and train the attorneys.  I offer a few thoughts on the subject, not from the heights of expertise, but from the trenches of experience.  A few areas of concern present themselves, and we shall take them up as they occur.  I am neither so credulous nor so arrogant as to think that I am offering more answers than questions.  Indeed, I think it is likely that different libraries and different librarians will not necessarily have the same answers to these questions.  As resources and situations differ, solutions will necessarily be tailored to individual firms.  There is no group better able to make the adjustments and alterations, I suspect, than law firm librarians. Continue reading