Taking on Data Analytics

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 26, Number 2 (November/December 2021), pgs 46-48.

By Miram Childs, Director, Law Library of Louisiana Supreme Court; Andre Davison, Research & Information Operations Implementation Manager, Orrick LLP and Scott Vanderlin, Student Services Librarian, University of Chicago D’Angelo Law Library

Data is everywhere. Many law librarians’ job responsibilities increasingly require them to understand and handle data. What advice, recommendations, or tips do you have to help legal information professionals improve their data skills?

ANDRE: Fifteen-plus years ago, mathematician Clive Humby made headlines when he declared that “data is the new oil.” His metaphor explained that “just like oil, in its rawest form, data is almost useless. But when it is refined, it can be turned into something much more valuable.” Firm law librarians have the unique skills and tools to refine and transform data to perform analytics to support the practice and business of law. Data can seem intimidating, but I will offer recommendations that helped me become more acclimated to using and understanding data analytics. 

VOLUNTEER FOR PROJECTS

At my previous firm, our new CIO created a project to revise our budget reporting process. We were previously utilizing an Excel spreadsheet to track our annual budget. He asked me to lead a project where our goal was to transform the invoice data we were collecting into insights we could use in our budget report. In this project, I learned to utilize tools such as Microsoft SharePoint and Power BI to transform a considerable amount of data into a digestible format for our finance committee. I was able to take some courses to help familiarize myself with the products. My willingness to volunteer to lead that project helped me learn new methods and processes to transform large amounts of data into actionable insights.

Continue reading

Law Librarians are Data Specialists

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 26, Number 2 (November/December 2021), pgs 42-43.

By Diana Koppang, Director of Research & Competitive Intelligence, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

To continue to lead, librarians must build on their existing expertise by gaining data science fluency and proficiency with new data-driven tools.

In the 2021 AALL State of the Profession report, 52 percent of private law library respondents stated that they did not have an AI/Machine Learning Initiative and had no plans to start one. I may have been among those 52 percent (honestly, I can’t remember that far back). If so, then I too fell into the common habit of downplaying my technical expertise as a librarian. We must stop doing that. 

Law librarians have been among the lead users of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology in law firms since the advent of this technology in law ‑rms. Early machine learning in legal tech appeared in legal research platforms and e-discovery software. It’s only recently been expanding into the fields of process optimization, contract review clause analytics, and other knowledge management solutions. So, because librarians are often not part of those new initiatives (even though we likely should be) we think we are not promoting advanced technology within our organizations. But we have been promoting it—and at times necessarily pointing out the flaws in developing tech. 

Continue reading

Ask a Director: Implementing Data Analytics

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 26, Number 2 (November/December 2021), pgs 28-29.

By Patricia Barbone, Director of Library Services, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and John Digilio, Firmwide Director of Library Services, Sidley Austin LLP

Last week, we posted an article from AALL Spectrum on How Data Analytics Can Change the Way Law Firms Do Business, as well as an article highlighting how some law librarians have made use of internal and external data repositories to launch their own data projects, DIY Analytics:  Beyond Excel.   This week’s posts from AALL Spectrum complement those articles.  One illustrates how law library directors and their teams are currently implementing analytics solutions.  The others encourage law librarians to further embrace their data scientist skills and to look into the “black box” of technology, so they can understand and present data and analytics in ways that will best benefit their firms and organizations. 

PATRICIA BARBONE

For the past three to four years, as analytics research tools have proliferated, we have familiarized our lawyers and legal staff with the concept of legal analytics by introducing them to the data analytics features in our existing legal research products. We currently subscribe to many products for litigation and transactional research that contain analytics tools. Some of the most popular products include Bloomberg Law Litigation Analytics, Lexis Context, Lex Machina, and Westlaw Litigation Analytics. For transactional lawyers, we frequently instruct them to use Bloomberg Deal Analytics, Lexis’s Intelligize, and LexisNexis Market Standards.

Analytics training for lawyers has been gradually taking place over the past few years as these tools have increasingly become an integral part of the research platform. Originally, when a database had a data analytics component, it was highlighted in training if it illustrated a typical legal problem that our lawyers were trying to solve but was cumbersome to tackle using traditional research techniques. In our current general orientation, we let lawyers know that analytics research tools may help them get to a better understanding of the legal issue, a better assessment of the strategy, or a better way to retrieve relevant precedents. ­The results will be presented in a tabular or graphical format that provides a different perspective than a list of case citations. We highlight a couple of tools when they begin, but we don’t overstress them because we find a relevant use case is needed for lawyers to fully appreciate the power of analytics. ­Therefore, we showcase the data analytics tools all year round, not just as part of the onboarding process.

Continue reading

Register Now for the Jane Sánchez Memorial Lecture on the Future of Law Libraries and Law Librarianship Webinar

The late Law Librarian of Congress and Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services Jane Sánchez worked to advance the Law Library of Congress by advocating for new initiatives. These initiatives, such as the Law Library of Congress Legal Research Institute, helped enhance the Law Library of Congress’ products and services, and expand our ability to assist patrons across the world. This webinar, which is cosponsored with the American Association of Law Libraries, will honor Jane’s legacy by examining the future of law libraries and law librarianship with a panel of experts that draw on their experience as leaders in academic, government, and law firm libraries.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 03:00 PM EST.

The speakers are all members of the American Association of Law Libraries, and Emily Florio and Kim Nayyer and members of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section.

Speakers:

Law Librarian of Congress Aslihan Bulut will moderate the discussion. The panelists include:

– Kurt Carroll is the President of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) and the Chief of the Law Library of Congress Collections Services Division.

-Emily Florio is the Senior Research Services Manager at Hogan Lovells and the Immediate Past President of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

-David Mao is the Chief Operating Officer of the Georgetown University Law Center and the former Law Librarian of Congress, Deputy Librarian of Congress, and Acting Librarian of Congress.

-Jennifer McMahan is the Deputy Director of the United States Department of Justice Law Library.

-Kim Nayyer is the Edward Cornell Law Librarian, Associate Dean for Library Services, and Professor of the Practice at Cornell Law School and Cornell University Library. She is also the President of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL).

How to Register: Sign up to receive the Zoom link here. By registering, you are consenting to receiving follow-up emails about this event, such as a post-event survey and the webinar recording. Please request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or ada@loc.gov.

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.

Continue reading