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!

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


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.

Law Librarians Expand Into Tech and ILTA

Deborah Panella is Director of Library & Knowledge Services at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and Information Management Track Team Coordinator for ILTA 2013.

The ILTA annual conference is now underway with a record number of attendees, a growing number of whom are from the law library community (including representatives from AALL). The International Legal Technology Association brings together law firm and corporate law department professionals from a wide variety of career tracks and disciplines, and members come from around the globe. Continue reading

AALL Future Shock: Envisioning the Future of Law Librarianship

Jeff Buckley, Legal Research Analyst, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

I attended the AALL Futures Summit the other week. It was a two-day conference at the McDonald’s Campus Hyatt near Chicago. AALL footed the bill (including travel, lodging and dining expenses) and about forty law librarians were there. A special committee of AALL, the Futures Summit Planning Special Committee chaired by David Mao of the Library of Congress, planned the event. Overall, the Futures Summit was good. Will anything come of it? I hope so. Continue reading