PLLIP Resource Guides

These resource guides were created by committees of experienced and dedicated legal information professionals. The resource guides are being used by law firm management personnel, law librarians, legal researchers, knowledge managers, and records managers across the United States as best practice resources about theories, principles, and techniques of various aspects of law library management and legal information management.

Contact us to submit feedback on these guides or suggestions for new guides.

GUIDE 1:  How to Hire a Law Librarian (2011) by Lynn Merring

Whether you’re thinking of hiring your firm’s first librarian or replacing an already integral member of your staff, this guide will help you to assess your firm’s needs and the appropriate role for a law librarian, determine the qualifications and skills best suited for the position, create a suitable compensation package to attract the best candidates, identify and advertise for candidates, ask the right questions during the interview, and maximize your investment by using all of the skills a professional librarian offers.

GUIDE 2:  New Roles for Law Libraries (2011) by Kevin Miles

This guide will focus on how librarians are expanding their roles with wikis, records management, Legal Lean Sigma, marketing and competitive intelligence, and knowledge management to offer more value to their law firms with significant impact. Wikis are an excellent way to organize information in a dynamic, paperless environment. Records management is not new, but is becoming more integrated with the flow of information management. Legal Lean Sigma is becoming a standard that some law firms are following in achieving best practices. Marketing and CI are not new, but have more ownership and familiarity with private law librarians.

GUIDE 3:  Space Planning for Law Libraries (2011) by Joan Axelroth

Whether you are building new space or renovating existing space, this guide provides information on each phase of the project, from the initial planning process through the final move to new space. It also includes practical examples of how three law firms solved their library space and design challenges and the lessons they learned.

GUIDE 4:  Collection Rebalancing for Law Libraries (2011) by Kathie Sullivan

Legal resources are rapidly migrating from print to digital format – but is that always a good thing? Sometimes materials are more useful in electronic format, sometimes they are simply more expensive or less easy to use. Librarians must evaluate all options when it comes to the firm’s information needs so that the firm has the best resources for the best price. This guide discusses steps librarians can take to review the existing firm collection, create a collection development plan based on the firm’s current and future needs, and develop a process that will ensure access to the best materials in the formats best suited to the needs of the firm’s attorneys.

GUIDE 5:  The Internet as a Legal Research Tool (2015) by Andrea Guldalian

Since attorneys increasingly turn to the Internet for legal research, this guide explores how librarians and legal information professionals can help attorneys successfully utilize the web as a research tool.  The guide looks at issues specific to Internet research, such as authority and reliability of websites, their impermanence and fluidity, and resulting link rot issues.  Essential criteria for evaluating websites are highlighted, as are the active roles law librarians can play to enhance the legal research experience on the Internet for legal and support staff of law firms. A list of references in addition to helpful websites is included in an online Appendix section.

GUIDE 6:  Negotiations in Law Libraries (2011) by LaJean Humphries

This guide was created to help law firm decision makers and librarians navigate through the steps of negotiation to achieve mutually satisfying results. It will help you to prepare for the negotiation process by completing an eight-step checklist, keep the lines of communication open, work through difficulties to achieve the desired results, and strengthen your negotiation skills.

GUIDE 7:  The Library as a Business Development, Competitive Intelligence and Client Relations Asset for Law Firms (2011) by Camille Reynolds

This guide will help law firm management understand how professional librarians can assist in marketing and business development by joining a cross-functional team with legal staff, marketing and others. Librarians can play important roles in planning for marketing and business development initiatives, conducting the research necessary to support those initiatives, supporting the knowledge needed by the firm to compete effectively by developing proactive client information products (advisories, alerts, intranet content), monitoring and reporting on legal industry trends (new fee arrangements, flexible work schedules), and maximizing information resources and eliminating redundant work efforts.

GUIDE 8:  Strategic Planning for Law Firm Libraries (2015) by Anna Irvin and Natalie Lira

This guide will help law firm management understand how librarians and other information professionals can develop a strategic plan that outlines the library’s direction, goals, and objectives for aligning services with the overall strategic initiatives of the law firm, industry trends, and client expectations.  Strategic planning allows libraries to position themselves to help their firms adapt to changing business trends, mitigate risks, and realize opportunities for growth.  In addition, this guide also serves as a roadmap for librarians who seek to initiate the process of developing a strategic plan for their department.

GUIDE 9: Law Firm Library Intranets (2015) by Julia Berry

Well-designed law firm intranets are powerful tools for sharing knowledge within a firm.  They allow easy access to electronic research resources, documents, communication about best research practices, training materials, and much more.  They drive people to the most authoritative electronic research materials and knowledge repositories, thereby allowing librarians to spend their time on other strategic and value-added projects.  This guide focuses on the role librarians can play in the selection, design, content population, and maintenance of law firm intranets.