PLLIP Summit 2021 Recap: Think Positively About Change and Embrace Flux!

By Theresa Greco, Library Services Manager, HBR Consulting

There’s no denying that the pandemic spurred quite a bit of change and uncertainty for everyone in 2020; what we knew about our work life, home life and our social engagements changed overnight. People needed to quickly adapt to what was being termed the “new normal”.  Fast forward to 2021 and although the stay-at-home orders and most mask mandates have been lifted, the world is still in complete chaos. Change and how we handle it will continue in the now “never normal” world. 

This year’s PLLIP Summit, “Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change offered attendees the opportunity to hear from experts about how to perceive change differently, and about the skills needed to survive and thrive in this new chaotic world.   The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) hosts the Summit prior to the start of the AALL Annual Meeting each year to give legal information professionals at law firms and other organizations a chance to engage with their colleagues on new developments and on challenges they’re tackling in the legal information world.

Keynote speaker, April Rinne, author of the soon-to-be-released book “Flux”, kicked-off the day-long symposium by leading attendees through an exercise exploring their current relationships to change and offering alternative ways to consider change. Not all change is negative, Rinne assured us. As professionals we need to rethink and reconsider what really matters when things change. Rinne suggests that as information professionals we need to take advantage of the “flux” we’re experiencing and use it to reshape our future. Everything we do is rooted in mindset. If we can think positively about change, it will become a positive in our life.

Another interesting conversation occurred during the PLLIP Fireside Chat with David Lat. Lat shared his unique perspective on change as he took us through an intimate discussion around his three weeks on a ventilator after contracting COVID in early 2020. This and other life experiences have helped Lat realize that he needed to make personal and professional changes happen at different points in his life.  He recognizes change as an opportunity to enrich his life and make it more fulfilling.

The summit ended on a high note with an energetic workshop led by Brie Leung, a seasoned facilitator and change agent.  Brie offered attendees what she called her “4 Truths to Change”, basically four new ways to think about change. 

Leung’s 4 Truths to Change are:

  1. Change is a process.
  2. People have an emotional, human reaction to change.
  3. Successful change creates great leaders.
  4. Change is constant and it isn’t going away.

While 2020 was a year of “reacting” to change; 2021 needs to be a year of “rethinking” change.  As knowledge professionals we are positioned within our firms to provide information, offer solutions, and assist in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the legal community. As Rinne pointed out: this time of flux has given us an opportunity to embrace the new “never normal” and to rethink and reinvent everything we’ve known up until this point.

Are you up for tackling the new “never normal”?

Looking Forward to the PLLIP Summit: Full Agenda Now Available

The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals Special Interest Section has prepared a timely and thoughtful program for Friday, July 16th, open to both members and non-members.  The theme of the program is Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change, and the Committee has secured engaging and dynamic presenters to share their insights with attendees.  Breakout sessions will allow for attendee participation and interaction with colleagues.  Please see below for more details on the Summit agenda.

To register for the 2021 Summit, please visit the AALL registration page here. Please note Registration deadline is July 2, 2021, **with zero exceptions**

Hindsight is 2021: Responding to Chaos and Change

 8:30 am Pacific / 9:30 am Mountain / 10:30 am Central / 11:30 am Eastern
Keynote Address – April Rinne

2020 saw more change and uncertainty than most people were ready for. The world was in flux: changes at work and at home, schedule changes and school changes, ever-changing plans and expectations. It was a lot! And yet, one year later in July 2021, the world is in just as much flux — it simply looks different, and it’s here to stay. What does “hybrid work” really mean? What new skills will be required? And of course, how can law librarians harness this uncertainty to their own and their organizations’ advantage? 

We’ll kick off this year’s summit by zooming out — beyond any one change management strategy, tool, or technique — to explore our relationships to change, period. When everything is in flux, what does it mean to have a “Flux Mindset?” You’ll learn practices to boost your self-awareness and see change differently. April Rinne is both a lawyer and a futurist. She’ll help us look back and look forward. This isn’t about any one change or any one year, but rather preparing for a future in flux — and thriving in it!

9:45 am P / 10:45 am M / 11:45 am C / 12:45 pm E
Facilitated Discussion Groups in Breakout Rooms

Join one of the topics below and discuss these current issues with your colleagues. Multiple rooms will be available per topic, and participants will be able to move between rooms.

The future of print. What is your organization doing with print?  Share your successes and failures with removing print from your collection.  How to deal with training attorneys, working with vendors, and utilizing creative solutions.

Training, marketing, and engaging attorneys. How to reach out to attorneys in an online or hybrid environment.  What tools have you used to facilitate adoption of online tools?  Share your tips, tricks, successes and failures – and learn from your colleagues. 

Technology tips. Applying Online Tools in the Library – ex: Gannt Charts and Project Management; Excel Pivot Tables; SharePoint for statistics, FAQs, request tracking; Winning internet designs and strategies. Share your best kept secrets and learn from the group.

New employees. Can new hires be remote or hybrid?  How to onboard new library employees in a remote or hybrid environment.

Team members, training and building relationships. How can you participate in team training or social opportunities while working from home.  Do you want to be in the office for evaluations? Share your tips and learn from others about how to build relationships in the evolving new environment.

Preparing to go back. Is your firm considering hybrid schedules?  How can we help employees that won’t be allowed to work from home?  Will there be new safety measures?  Will the library be providing new hours for your patrons? Are we ready for the next pandemic? 

Continue reading

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

PLLIP Diversity Summit 2021: Using Personalized Experiences to Apply DE&I Initiatives in Your Library

By: Ana Ramirez Toft-Nielsen, Research Attorney; Jill L. Kilgore, Research Librarian; and Autumn Collier, Assistant Librarian II, at Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Our experience attending the virtual 2021 Diversity Summit was unexpected and invaluable. Each of us left with surprise takeaways, including some that hit close to home. In particular, the panel and breakout sessions provided us with more than one perspective or dialogue on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We agreed that these personalized sessions made this a reflective experience. The personal stories were affecting—whether allowing us to relate to someone else’s experience, or by showing us a glimpse of what marginalized groups experience regularly. Being aware is a priority, but what’s next? As individuals, we should evaluate how to apply our experiences from the 2021 PLLIP Diversity Summit. What actionable steps is your workplace taking? What actionable steps are you taking? Let this be one phase in your progress toward change.

Leading where you are

We can lead in this work from where we are by identifying the initiatives and commitments made to DE&I at our institutions. We all work at Littler, where leadership supports Diversity, Inclusion and Equity opportunities for our library department. Examples of opportunities include attending conferences such as this Diversity Summit, internal initiatives, and organizational involvement. For this Summit, our director provided the team with the program’s information, supported the registration costs, and provided us with coverage for our daily work, enabling us to focus solely on the conference. When a call to write was sent out, we were urged to write about our experience. With other conferences, such as the AALL Leadership Management Institute, we were encouraged to attend, and offered guidance and assistance with alternative ways to reimburse our costs or help in applying for grants. This encouragement and financial support made us feel empowered to learn and grow. We have the latitude to reflect on these experiences and bring back what we learn to our team.

Within the “walls” of our library, opportunities for open dialogue and professional development abound. We can subscribe to newsletters, including a Littler library-curated weekly newsletter with a DE&I section. We have round-table discussions on a rotation of topics in our book club; this month we are taking time to discuss our experience at the Summit and share with our colleagues.

Our leadership wants us to take an active role to further Littler’s overall Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. Many of our team members are involved in special interest or other professional organizations. Given the uniqueness of our library department, we have the option to attend development opportunities offered not only by AALL, but also by the American Library Association, local chapters, the International Legal Technology Association, and many other professional organizations. These experiences allow us to bring back new knowledge to team members who might not make that step. We can increase awareness and open discussions in our team meetings, book clubs, and newsletters. The work is ongoing. We will continue to explore DE&I initiatives and continue the conversation that brought us to the Diversity Summit.

Additionally, firm initiatives such as Littler’s Volunteerism Program provide a means for employees to voluntarily participate in social justice opportunities. Employees donate their time, and in exchange, Littler will make a monetary donation to an organization of the employee’s choice. Messages of support flow from the Managing Director and are always accompanied with personal growth and learning opportunities.

Continue reading

Leader Profile of Kim Nayyer: Building Bridges and Amplifying Voices

We are continuing our coverage of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) inaugural Diversity Summit, hosted in conjunction with the Black Law Librarians (BLL) Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). The Summit’s theme was “From Difficult Conversations to Collaborative Action”, and the session, “Diversity Shares: Listen to Learn”, featured three members of the law library community as panellists, Ramon Barajas, Catherine Deane and Kim Nayyer.

This profile is on Kim Nayyer, Edward Cornell Law Librarian, Associate Dean for Library Services, and Professor of the Practice at Cornell Law School. Previously, she was Associate University Librarian, Director of the Law Library, and Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Victoria in Canada. Before joining academia, Kim worked for many years as a research lawyer and information specialist at an appellate court and in small and large private law firms in Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto, Canada.

Answers compiled by Megan Moltrup, Librarian at Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington, DC.

What is your role at your institution?

I oversee the Cornell Law School library and serve on the administration team of the Law School. My law library is one of few in the US law school landscape to be administered by a university library system in conjunction with its law school. I see my role as a bridge-builder and an advocate, ensuring responsible administration of law library spaces, resources, services, and staff, and upholding of my ABA accountabilities in our legal education program. As a Professor of the Practice, I also teach credit-bearing courses in the Cornell Law School JD, LLM, and MSLS programs.

What has been the biggest single change you have seen in the industry? And what changes do you see ahead?

Since I began either legal practice or legal information practice, I’ve seen many changes, several of them pretty big and influential. The single biggest one I can identify, though, is one that we’re in the midst of right now. This is the immense amount of data—legal data, practice and operational data, user-generated data. Information professionals have understood for some time that we can extract value from data to make better operational decisions, to support our colleagues and organizations, and to make better predictive legal analyses in support of our clients. The significant influence of data we’re still wrestling with, is the impact of the vast amounts of real-world data and how they influence the innumerable machine-manipulated tools and resources we use daily. The influences are difficult for our users and communities to see, for information professionals to discern, and—increasingly—for even developers to know and address.

Continue reading