The Value of the
Corporate Law Librarian
THE VALUE OF THE CORPORATE LAW LIBRARIAN
by the PLL/SIS Corporate Law Librarians' Group
The Corporate Law Librarians have developed this document to present to
the AALL Task Force on the Value of Law Librarians in the Information
Age. As a group, we are threatened by the outsourcing trend and we
believe that the decision makers in our corporations do not have
accurate information when they evaluate outsourcing law libraries as a
We are very hopeful that the Task Force can work with us to provide
concrete guidelines on educating the decision makers about what we do
and how our expertise benefits the bottom line; to suggest avenues for
communicating appropriate functions to oursource; and to provide support
and leadership to AALL members on how to present the best case to
management. Perhaps the Task Force might consider distributing a
newsletter, establishing a listserv, or organizing a hotline or crisis
team to assist AALL members throughout the year.
We have developed the following list of assets to describe the corporate
WHO WE ARE
- Evaluators and purchasers of on-line, CD-ROM and
traditionally (printed) legal resources. SIGNIFICANCE: We are
the only professionals in our respective corporate departments with
the right training and skills to perform these functions
- Trainers of legal department attorneys and paralegals.
SIGNIFICANCE: We know how to bring other staff uo-to-speed quickly
and efficientlyin their usage of legal resources, regardless of the
medium in which the information is packaged. None of the other
professional staff in our departments has the time or skills to
- Researchers in legal and non-legal databases.
SIGNIFICANCE: We perform and coordinate legal and non-legal
research, keeping abreast of the latest technology and sources of
informationfor our company's needs. Working in-house enables us to
keep current with the ever money which would have been expended on
outside commercial information brokers or ourside counsel.
- Managers, in vendor contract negotiations, in budget
preparation and monitoring, and in supervision of library personnel.
SIGNIFICANCE: We are "one-of-a-kind" within our corporations;
normally, we do not have other colleagues within our companies who
could perform any of the above duties, nor do we report to staff who
could assume those duties in our absence.
- Information stars/czars. SIGNIFICANCE: Our training in
information management and retrieval enables us to help our clients
clearly define the information they need. Our understanding of, and
commitment to, our unique corporate culture promotes confidence in
our clients that we will deliver exactly what is needed to enable
business decisions. The value-added benefit of professionally
trained in-house law librarians is their expertise in obtaining
information efficiently and cost-effectively.
We believe that in the information age we truly are information
professionals and should never be viewed by management as simply
developers and custodians of large book collections. We are continually
frustrated that this same management can look at our operations and
categorically classify them with mail room and other clerical intensive
departments in the corporation.
We need to make sure that this one message gets through loud and clear
to our respective managements: Permitting other professionals in our
organizations means of access to information does not in any way
guarantee or secure retrieval of information.
Copyright � 1996-present Private Law Libraries SIS
April 12, 2007