AALL Virtual Conference Recap: Speakers, Panelists Highlight Inclusion and Diversity Efforts

See the link below for a wrap up of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) 2021 virtual conference, titled “Leading with Wisdom & Insight”.  Authored by Thomas Lang, Senior Legal Analyst at Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, U.S., the wrap up highlights some of the educational sessions and key trends you might have missed at this year’s AALL annual meeting.  Thomas hones in on some of the diversity and inclusion themes in particular, and provides a great summary of Tina Tchen’s keynote address.  Tina Tchen currently “serves as president and CEO of TIME’S UP Now and the TIME’S UP Foundation, overseeing the organizations’ strategic plans to change culture, companies, and laws in order to make work safe, fair, and dignified for women of all kinds”, according to the TIME’S UP staff page.  Prior to joining TIME’S UP, she worked in the White House under the Obama administration and worked as a lawyer specializing in workplace culture.  

Read Thomas Lang’s article–Strategic Perspectives:  AALL Virtual Conference Speakers, Panelists Outline Inclusion and Diversity Efforts in Workplace, Legal Profession (Wolters Kluwer, July 2021)

Announcing the 2021 PLLIP Summit–Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will be holding its annual meeting virtually this year (July 19-23, 2021), and the Private Law Librarians and Information Professional section will once again offer a pre-conference Summit (Friday, July 16).  This year’s Summit, Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change, will explore change, our response to change, change management, and finding opportunities and happiness in change.

The Summit Planning Committee has gathered an excellent lineup of speakers.  You can read more about each speaker below.  To register for the 2021 Summit, please visit the AALL registration page here.

April Rinne- Keynote Address

April Rinne has been weaving her own story about how to thrive amid flux, personally and professionally, for as long as she can remember.

Today April is an acclaimed speaker, thinker, advisor and writer. She is known for her many keynotes each year to business, industry, investment, policy and educational audiences around the world, and for her role as a bridge: between startups and governments, between developed and developing countries, between those excited about change and those resistant to it. She is also an impact investor, mental health advocate, yoga teacher and insatiable handstander. April’s handstands underscore her upside-down perspective on the world: they help her see differently, stay flexible, and bring joy (and occasionally amazement) to others. Earlier in her career she served as a global development executive, microfinance lawyer, and hiking and biking guide.

April holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.A. in International Business and Finance from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.A. in International Studies and Italian (summa cum laude) from Emory University. She is a Fulbright Scholar and studied at Oxford (University College; one full academic year), the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the European University Institute.  April was a practicing attorney at Allen & Overy in London, UK and at O’Melveny & Myers in San Francisco.  Her practice focused in corporate, banking, international capital markets, development finance. Like many of our members, April has had an atypical legal career, harnessing legal skills in unconventional yet future-forward ways.

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Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Group Releases New Resource Guides

Below is a re-post with permission of the same article by Jean O’Grady on her Dewey Be Strategic blog.

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals – Special Interest Section (PLLIP) of AALL released two new resource guides on strategic planning and intranets. They also re-issued a major revision of a previously published guide on internet research.The Guides are free and available to law librarians and legal information professionals as well as law firm administrators who are interested in learning about best practices for managing information services. These guides are “slick” professional publications which combine high quality content with a visually polished presentation. Steve Lastres, Chair of the PLLIP Communications Committee, Natalie Lira, Communications Committee Member and Chair of the Resource Guides subcommittee and Cheryl Niemeier, Chair of PLLIP deserve special credit for shepherding these guides from concept through publication.

Strategic Planning for Law Firm Libraries.” was written by PLLIP members Anna Irvin, Natalie M. Lira, Saskia Mehlhorn and Lindsay Carpino. Since 2007 the law firm market has been in a continuous state of reinvention. Firms are facing competition from alternative service provides, increased pressure from clients to control costs and offer alternative billing arrangements. Firms are exploring off-shoring, on-shoring, outsourcing and new types of partnership structures. It is more important than ever for information professionals to reassess their mission, goals, structure, and services to maintain alignment with the strategic goals of their organization. The resource guide highlights some of the non-traditional initiatives which information professionals are undertaking to improve strategic alignment including centralization, collaboration with other departments, embedding practice specialists, competitive intelligence, knowledge management, practice portal development, risk management and non-traditional outreach.

The strategic planning guide provides a step-by-step outline for the strategic planning process which can be used as a tutorial for newer managers and a checklist for more experienced professionals.

Law Firm Library Intranets was written by PLLIP members Julia Berry, Emily R. Florio, Catherine Monte and Nola M. Vanhoy. Law firm intranets have become important knowledge sharing platforms which provide access to key firm, client, administrative and staff data. As law libraries are going digital, intranets provide links to full-text treatise libraries, online databases, knowledge repositories, and educational platforms. The resource guide addresses key issues facing information professionals who want to develop the firm’s first intranet or enhance an existing intranet, Topics include: selection and design, collaboration, project justification, content creation, Sharepoint tools, alternatives to intranets, extranets and suggestions for continuous improvement.

The Internet as  a Legal Research Tool was revised by PLLIP members Andrea Guldalian and Cheryl Niemeier. According to an ABA study 50.8% of lawyers begin their legal research using free internet resources. Information professionals are uniquely qualified to assess the risks of free legal research resources. They are often the only professionals at the firm engaged in training lawyers on internet “hygiene” and creating resources and intranets which direct lawyers to the most cost-effective and reliable internet resources. The guide includes an important discussion on authority and guidelines for assessing reliability of resources. There is guidance on best practices for legal research on the internet as well as using mobile apps for legal research.

Earlier guides cover how to hire a law librarian, new roles for law librarians, competitive intelligence, collection re-balancing, negotiations and space planning.

Our Future is Bright!

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Time to celebrate!
In fact, it’s a double celebration. The Private Law Libraries-Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS) of AALL is now officially Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals-Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS); we also have a newly redesigned website for our SIS!
Our new name aptly merges our legacy of the past with our hopes and goals for the future, positioning us to forge ahead and continue to further define and promote our value as information professionals far into the future.
Also, today is the official launch of our redesigned website and logo! A great big and special thank-you to our dedicated Webmaster team – Linda-Jean Schneider, Kevin Miles, and Heather Williams! They rock!
Our future is bright, however, in the words of Bob Marley “in this bright future, you can’t forget your past”, for it is what brought us to where we are today and has equipped us to mold and embrace our future.

Reviving On Firmer Ground

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On Firmer Ground was founded in 2011 by a group of law librarians from national and international professional library associations.  The idea behind the blog was to provide law librarians and legal information professionals with a space to discuss challenges and opportunities in the law library sphere, explore new approaches to the delivery of library and information services, and promote the value that law librarians bring to their firms.  However, due to busy schedules, the blog has gone through a period of inactivity.  The Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries wants to make an effort to revive the blog because we still see a need for collaboration among law librarians and information professionals.  We believe our profession, and our firms, benefit from the exchange of ideas and from sharing best practices and innovative approaches to the provision of library and information services.   We welcome your participation and invite you to submit a post.