Reposted with permission from Jean O’Grady at Dewey B Strategic. Jean is a member of the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section.
Please take the 2019-2020 Dewey B Strategic Survey here. Review the 2019 highlights below and tell your colleagues about the best and the worst of 2019 in legal publishing and legal tech.
The Highlights 2019 was a relatively quiet launch year in legal technology and publishing. The year opened with speculation about the impact of layoffs at Thomson Reuters. Mid-year Wolters Kluwer suffered a significant malware attack on May 7 but was fully back online within a week.
LexisNexis announced the full integration of one of its oldest acquisitions. Courtlink which was acquired in 2001 was finally integrated into their flagship product Lexis Advance. The market responded with mixed reviews.
Bloomberg re-branded itself as Bloomberg Information Group (BIG.) Sadly this signified the retirement of BNA ( Bureau of National Affairs) as a brand. Bloomberg had acquired BNA in 2011 add a significant library of secondary sources including newsletters and books. The full integration of BNA into the Bloomberg platform allowed the company to revert to the simplified pricing model they had pioneered during their launch into the online legal information market.
Fastcase continued an aggressive spree of acquisitions and alliances covering public records (TransUnion), bankruptcy forms, Expert witness information (Juris and Courtroom Insight) and legal news (Law Street Media) clearly positioning product to move into the large firm market.
The Year of the Brief Analyser. Casetext CARA which launched the first brief analysis tool in 2016 now has a competitor in the Westlaw Edge “Quick Cite tool.” At the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries AALL Annual Conference both Bloomberg and LexisNexis previewed their brief citiator tools which are expected to launch in 2020.
Please respond to the survey here. The Survey will close on “leap day” February 29th.
The 2017 AALL Biennial Salary Survey & Organizational Characteristics Survey shows that budgets and staffing for law libraries are on the rise, according to an article in the January/February issue of AALL Spectrum.
Some key figures/takeaways from the survey results include:
- More than half, 270, of the 502 responses were from law firm/corporate libraries.
- Budget information was provided by 366 law firm/corporate, government, and law school libraries. When compared with law school and government law libraries, law firm/corporate law libraries had larger budgets on average ($1,577,734). But law firm/corporate libraries “allocated only 25 percent of their information budget in 2017 to hard copy information” (p. 39).
- Law firm/corporate library budgets were 10 percent higher than in the 2015 survey.
- Staffing totals for all libraries show that the “the average number of total staff for all libraries increased from 9.23 in 2015 to 10.32 in 2017” (p. 40).
- On average, firms had a ratio of 1 professional for every 42.99 attorneys.
- For billable hours in 2016, the ranges were from “a low of 300 hours for law firm/corporate law libraries with 41-90 attorneys to a high of 4,206 hours for those with 451 or more attorneys” (p. 40).
More statistics are available in the AALL Spectrum article Budgets & Staffing for Law Libraries are on the Rise, starting on page 40 of the magazine. The complete Salary Survey is available here to AALL members only.
Submitted by Jean O’Grady, Library Director at DLA Piper
The Poll: Please take the brief (10 question) Start/Stop 2013/2014 Poll
I am a big believer in new beginnings. The dawn of a New Year always provides a good excuse to hit the “pause button” and reassess my trajectory both personally and professionally. I started 2014 with a good omen – being bumped up to first class on my first flight of the year. I will add it to my “good luck” inventory of the year – a list which I consult in those inevitable moments of psychic whiplash. Continue reading
By Laura K. Justiss, SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas
 A clumsy paraphrase of a quote from one of my favorite movies, “If you build it, he will come.” by The Voice, to protagonist Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), A Field of Dreams (Universal Pictures 1989).
As a former law firm librarian, and now academic law librarian, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your new Blog, On Firmer Ground. Your fresh insights and terrific ideas, while particularly applicable to law firm librarianship, are easily transferrable to law school libraries. We, just like you, are always seeking to identify the most effective ways to reach our primary patrons, leverage our budgets and demonstrate our value to our institutions. Thus reading about the issues and solutions that are uppermost in your minds helps us to better tailor our teaching opportunities with law students.