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

Fastcase 50 Honorees Include Marlene Gebauer, Global Director of Strategic Legal Insights, Greenberg Traurig LLP

Marlene Gebauer, Global Director of Strategic Legal Insights at Greenberg Traurig LLP, has been named one of the Fastcase 50 honorees for 2019. Fastcase 50 recognizes lawyers, judges, legal technologists, librarians and others for their contributions to the legal field. Marlene is a PLLIP member and a co-host with Greg Lambert on the The Geek in Review podcast, which covers “the Legal Information profession with a slant toward technology and management, along with interviews of key players in legal information and technology.”

From the Fastcase 50:

Marlene is a visionary in the application of legal technology, and was one of the first to bring data analytics into the day-do-day functions of law firms. She applied analytics across the entire firm, not just in one practice group or the other. Through her work at Greenberg Traurig she has boldly reinvented the way her firm approaches practice by creating the firm’s Innovation Lab, which implements processes through gamification techniques. Marlene routinely shares her knowledge on the popular podcast “The Geek in Review”, which she hosts with fellow librarian and Fastcase 50 honoree Greg Lambert.

LawNext Episode 43: The AALL’s Femi Cadmus on the Changing Face of Law Librarians

Reposted with permission from Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites

By Robert Ambrogi

“We are not your grandfather’s law librarian.” As president of the American Association of Law Libraries, Femi Cadmus makes that point emphatically. Her organization recently completed it first-ever AALL State of the Profession report, an in-depth look at what information professionals do and how they do it. The report’s bottom line is that technology is making the role of the law librarian more diverse and more essential than ever before.

As the AALL prepares to convene in Washington, D.C., in July for its annual meeting, Cadmus shows LawNext host Bob Ambrogi to discuss the state of the law librarian profession and the evolving role of information professionals in law firms, corporations, law schools and government.

Born in New York and raised in Nigeria, Cadmus is currently at Duke University School of Law, where she is the Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty research professor of law, associate dean of information services and technology, and director of the Michael J. Goodson Library. With almost three decades in law libraries, she was formerly at Cornell University, where she was Edward Cornell law librarian, associate dean for library services and professor of the practice. Her earlier experience includes positions at the law schools at Yale, George Mason University and the University of Oklahoma.

Cadmus’ educational background includes an LL.B. from the University of Jos, Nigeria, B.L Nigerian Law School; an LL.M. (Law in Development) from the University of Warwick, England; and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Oklahoma. She is admitted to practice in New York.

Visit Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites to listen to the podcast episode with Femi. 

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.

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.”