FROM THE CHAIR
Psarras, Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL
Stephanie�s First AALL
by Stephanie Towery, Haynes & Boone, LLP, Austin, TX
Hamilton, Faegre & Benson, Boulder, CO
San Antonio to
Saint Louis: AALL Review
by Donna L.
Fisher, Senniger Powers, ST. Louis, MO
Newbie�s View of The AALL Conference In San Antonio
By Kelly Louis,
Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP, Columbus, OH
is What Everyone�s Been Talking About...
Hamilton, Faegre & Benson, Boulder, CO
A Firm Librarian
Looks At Academia
by Randall J.
Thompson, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Thoughts on the AALL Conference
by David Bader,
Riva Laughlin, Jennifer Stephens,Haynes and Boone, LLP, Dallas, TX
Annual Meeting Recap
Systems Thinking: A New Way To Strategize
Kessler, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA
California Chaptered Laws Online, 1850 � Current
by Carolina Rose
and Lisa Hampton, Legislative Research, Inc. (LRI), Sacramento, CA
Executive Committee Meeting 2004 � 2005
by Kaye Waelde,
Faegre & Benson, LLP, Denver, CO
Pll/Sis Annual Business
by Kaye Waelde,
Faegre & Benson, LLP, Denver, CO
Executive Committee Meeting 2005 � 2006
by Kaye Waelde,
Faegre & Benson, LLP, Denver, CO
E. Barbone, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, LLP, New York, NY
Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL
Welcome to the first electronic
version of PLL Perspectives. What you see is just one of the many fruits
of labor PLL volunteers have been working on and will continue to work
on for this year.
Here are some items to be on the lookout for this year. This is by no
means a complete list. Projects will be added and dropped as the year
� The aforementioned PLL Perspectives format changes. They will allow us
faster distribution of the newsletter, while at the same time help us
� We are instituting a PLL Professional Achievement Award. Guidelines
are being developed and the first one will be awarded next summer.
� The PLL toolkit project is being revamped and is scheduled to be
finished by St. Louis. A lot of hard labor has gone into it over the
years and we hope fruition is in sight.
� We are revisiting the PLL Grants concept to simplify and streamline
the process. This should help increase participation, which has been
below what we would have expected.
� Our strategic plan will be simplified and streamlined. Following the
new AALL strategic plan which stresses leadership, education, and
advocacy; we will revisit our plan this year.
� We are working to bump up activities and membership in the
� We will participate in the Professional Legal Management Week
� The PLL-SIS will be represented by Chris Graesser at the September
23-24 AALL Education Summit on developing career development and
continuing education opportunities beyond the Annual Meeting. Contact
Chris if you have questions or comments.
� We are considering creating a relationship with major Legal Marketing
� There will be new discussion groups for more focused electronic
discussions, such as the Computer Assisted Legal Research listserv
instituted in mid August and the new Knowledge Management listserv.
� PLL is participating in the AALL centennial events. St. Louis will
also be PLL�s 30th anniversary.
� The AALL Annual Meeting programming changes are being discussed. Time
will be set aside for vendors and the AALL business meeting. Other than
that, we can schedule our programs and meetings at any time. This will
allow us more flexibility than before to organize our functions, and
possibly present some programs not accepted by the Annual Meeting
Program Committee, yet deemed interesting enough by our members.
� We are working toward closer ties with ALA, the association of Legal
Administrators. Our VIP this year was John Michalik, the executive
director of the ALA. We will have an administrative themed PLL
Perspectives issue later this year. We are also pursuing official
representation at the ALA Conference. We will also work toward getting
PLL articles in the online ALA Management Encyclopedia. Finally, we are
also looking at programs with some ALA officials for St. Louis. �
� The �From Ideas to Print� initiative is ramping up and we hope for
some excellent results this year.
� PLL's PR committee will work with a new AALL committee, once it is
appointed, to reach out externally -- to administrators, the legal
community, and the general public.
� The PR Committee also has in the cards consideration of publishing a
PR/marketing newsletter to PLL members, representing PLL at the CONELL
marketplace, and creating a PLL brochure on what we are and what we do.
� The Records/Conflicts Management Group is working to develop a PR
piece for legal administrators that is equivalent to PLL's brochures
entitled "Private Law Librarian Standards" and "The Competitive Edge."
In addition, the group is considering developing the 2005 AALL program
from San Antonio on outsourcing into an article, to be pitched to ALA's
Legal Management magazine.
� We hope to re-activate the Technical Services Group.
� We will continue working on a relationship with SLA.
� We will look to create guidelines for developing partnerships with the
library schools, in order to provide information on PLL related career
paths after graduation.
� We plan to beef up participation in our Mentoring program
� We will look to create guidelines for developing partnerships with the
law schools. The beneficiaries of such partnerships would be clerks that
will be better prepared to join firms like yours and mine.
� We hope to re-activate the Corporate Group
� We plan to increase development of PLL related program proposals
through the PLL Education Committee pipeline and the many members who
decided to propose programs for St. Louis.
� There will be more regularly scheduled and formalized communications
from me to you
The number and variety of projects listed above is, I believe, a tribute
to the women and men of the association who are dedicating their time
and effort to our cause.
The lifeblood of organizations such as PLL is volunteers. This year we
have been fortunate enough to fill all the Committee and Group Chair
positions and staff a few of them with more members, but that is never
enough. We can always use more volunteers. You all know how to get in
touch with me...-)
By Stephanie Towery, Haynes and Boone LLP, Austin, TX
I forgot to get some good
snapshots of my first steps into the AALL exhibit hall, but that was
because I tried to enter before it was open. Two security ladies at the
door pushed me back, telling me I�d have to wait the five minutes
outside. I guess I didn�t blend in with the huge crowd pushing their way
past me into the hall. Well, they were all wearing matching blue golf
shirts. What club are they in? I thought.
My first session was called something like �Publishing Outside of
the Law Library Community.� It was a 3-person panel with a moderator. I
got to the room early, so I got to watch the guys check the mikes. It
was very cool. I didn�t know what to expect, so I was glaring at the
moderator and panelists, trying to suss them out ahead of time. They
looked so relaxed.
A lot of people showed up right before it started. I guess they were all
mingling and trading war stories outside. A lot of people were taking
notes already, so I looked in my new AALL bag to see if I was supposed
to fill out any forms. I didn�t find anything pertinent, so I made a
pile of leaflets I could throw away to lighten my load. That bag was
heavy with my camera and mints in it, and I hadn�t purchased any
When the moderator started talking, I lost all track of time. I got
sucked in. The panelists took turns telling their stories, and then they
did the impossible: they opened the floor up to ANYONE to ask them
questions. This never happens to me. I don�t get to ask questions,
especially using a microphone. I racked my brain trying to think of a
good question. I found myself saddled with good, but inappropriate,
questions. I was self-censoring again. Where do you find the time to
write was the only question I could think of that wasn�t personal. Is it
an appropriate question, I thought, while another woman was hogging the
mike. Obviously they do find the time, because they are all successful
writers, I reasoned. I finally honed my question down to something that
sounded halfway acceptable: which project management software do you
use? I tried whispering it to myself. Yeh, it was so good, it didn�t
make any sense. And, hey, everyone was getting up! I missed my chance.
Volunteering at the registration desk
This was not really like a real job. First of all, I show up by
walking around the counter and announcing, �Hi, I�m Stephanie, I�m a
volunteer.� I couldn�t think of anything else to say. A couple of people
introduced themselves and showed me the basic set up. It was so easy; it
worked without you knowing how to use it. How can I steal this
technology for myself? I thought, furtively rubbing my palms together.
�Hey, is it okay if I put my stuff under here?� I shouted randomly.
Nobody shushed me.
I had purchased a toy gun for my husband at lunch, and it didn�t quite
fit all the way into my AALL bag. A nice lady told me to hide it under
the counter. Then she told me where they hid the lemonade for the
volunteers. I had never volunteered at such a swank place before.
Everything worked AND they had treats. By the time I was settled in with
my lemonade, it was time to go. �You�re done,� said the computer guy who
was obviously the one behind the magic that made the registration work.
�Thanks!� I said, picking up my gun and gear and heading on. �Y�all have
fun!� I breathed a small sigh of relief that I had made it through one
of my personal and professional goals for the year: volunteering at AALL,
without noticeably screwing anything up. I felt empowered.
I immediately run into Mr. Mersky. He�s at the counter. Hi, Mr. Mersky,
I say (when I was in library school I worked at Tarlton). He grins at
me. �You know my wife,� he says, �If you see her, will you tell her I�ve
gone back to the hotel.�
I�m standing in the middle of a convention of 2000 people, with a toy
gun slung across my shoulder, looking for a lady I haven�t seen in 4
years. I think, listen for the Australian accent. So I really do try for
a while, but then I realize I probably am violating the PATRIOT ACT. So,
of course, I curse myself for not knowing what�s in the PATRIOT ACT and
sidle on off to the escalators for a couple fun rides up and down. I go
up and down twice each, and then it�s time for the next show, er, I mean
GPO redux: Bruce James & Judy Russell
I make my way to �the big room.� It�s already filled with people.
Almost every other seat is completely taken! I panic momentarily. I know
no one. These are government librarians. They immediately smell that I
am not a government librarian. I feel like a penguin in the polar bear
pool. I try to slide into a row up front (the front seats were more
vacant than the back and middle seats). I put all my gear (which I�ve
been clutching tightly to my chest) under my chair. I try to make the
toy rifle/sub-machine gun look less like a weapon. I fiddle with this
until I feel sweat beading up on my upper lip. Okay, that�s enough. I
focus on the stage.
There�s a large stage with a podium, a large table, and several chairs
behind it. In two of these chairs sit Bruce James and Judy Russell in
the flesh. They look like movie stars. In fact, I have a weird feeling
I�ve seen them before late at night. CSPAN? I wonder.
I am filled with awe, and the program has yet to begin.
And what a program it was. Half way through I realize just how
remarkable a moment this particular session is in AALL and government
librarian history, and I just about stand up and shout. You really
needed to be there though.
Every time I try to summarize what happened, I sound like a conspiracy
theorist. Let�s just say, I didn�t get a feeling that �permanent public
access� (at least as a catch-phrase) was going to come out of this hour
All I�ve got to say is that there was some Oscar worthy speech giving
and question asking in that session that should have been captured on
film or high quality video. If it was, you should get you a copy,
because that�s what they mean by �edutainment.�
By now I am jaded and want to skip all the sessions and hang out
feeding the pigeons on the River Walk, but I run into my boss when I
first walk in. Dang, and I hugged him. Why am I always hugging people? I
think, I should have asked first. So I can�t slack off now. I�m wracked
with guilt for even considering it.
Basic IP research and reference
IP stands for Intellectual Property. If you didn�t know that, this
was the session for you. It was a very basic educational session. Pretty
much the kind of session you go to if you think you might someday need
to know something about what IP means. Every chair in the room is
occupied, and people are standing up along the walls and the back of the
room. There are not enough hand outs to go around, and there are two
assistants who have come all the way from a city many states away just
to hand out the hand outs. They are obviously bummed they did not bring
People are furiously taking notes on everything the panelist says. I am
so distracted by this; I try to read the notes of the two people beside
me. This, apparently, is inappropriate, as they immediately start
covering their work with their hands.
Either there are rooms full of engineer/attorneys someplace in our
national bunker cranking out new pieces of intellectual property 24/7 or
this is a cover for something else, I think. I take a long, slow gaze
out over the crowd, trying to assess their mettle. Maybe, just maybe, IP
is coming to the rest of America (not just the big cities). This is a
chilling thought, but eh whatever.
By the next session, which was a few minutes later, I am even more
cynical. I�ve been looking at my program, see. What are all these
committees? I ask my fellow librarian. She says, without hesitation,
�AALL is over a hundred years old after all.�
Panel electronic government documents
This appears to be the B-list version of the picture with Bruce
James and Judy Russell. I recognize a few of these people from
yesterday�s session, but where are the stars? I want to see the stars.
I�m quickly assured by the moderator that the panelists for the present
session are the real stars behind the search for permanence in the world
of electronically born government documents, but I�m still disappointed.
I don�t know what�s wrong with me. Why isn�t PowerPoint enough anymore?
I secretly vow to reassess my career. Why am I drawn to educational
sessions about government documents? Am I avoiding the real truth, the
real librarian inside of me?
I glance over and see a woman elaborately peeling the wrapper off a
PayDay bar. She silently strips the bar of its plastic clothing and then
quickly (impossibly quick) nips bits of it off into her chapped rosebud
of a mouth. She�s also furiously taking notes. SHE�S NOT PAYING
ATTENTION TO THE PROGRAM. She�s cribbing. After she finishes the bar,
she slides off the aisle and out into the great beyond, her notes fully
wedged under her arm.
I did make it to the Exhibit Hall, but it wasn�t nearly as vastly deep
as I was thinking it would be. I actually said to someone, �You shoulda
seen the Exhibit Hall for the National Clogging Convention. It was like
five times as big as this.� I guess I�m the only crossover clogger/librarian.
New Blue Book � 18th
My final session was in the Marriott across the street from the
Convention Center. My car was parked underneath the Marriott, so I felt
like I was inching out. I walked up the stairs towards the session room
and ran into two of my librarian friends from my very own city. I talked
to them for about ten minutes before I realized I was in line for a
Government Documents Librarian luncheon, which was by invitation only. I
freak out and try to find the right room. It was just around the corner.
It�s small, maybe 1/20th the size of the other rooms. And there is no
electronic set up in here. Is this an ambush? Are they going to sell me
a time-share? I take a seat and look around. There are already people in
the room, but it�s still 30 minutes until lift off. I notice at least
two of the three people in the room are reading the latest Harry Potter
book. The other guy might be reading it, but at least for now he�s
packed it away in his bag. These two just can�t stop themselves. And why
would they? What are they going to do otherwise? Talk to me? Yeh.
Another lady comes in. She�s on her cell phone talking to her loved one
about the conference. She is describing the intricate details of all the
free giveaways in the Exhibit Hall. Free giveaways? I missed a free
giveaway? Apparently, I missed all the free giveaways, being distracted
by all those educational sessions and volunteering and listening for
Nicole Kidman and all that. I�m shattered.
At some point in my depression I realize that the person who�s going to
be giving the session is already sitting at the front of the room. I
didn�t see her come in or anything. I didn�t notice her at all. And then
she started the session. It was like a bright light got turned on. Here
was a performer. And her jokes are funny! Oh, my! I�m laughing out loud.
I�m rolling on the floor � no, I�m not, someone�s knees are in the way!
And the Blue Book isn�t even changed enough for it to matter. The room
is packed not for the content, but for the woman. She has obviously
accumulated FANS in her short career (she�s very young). I secretly
promise myself to write her a fan letter when I get back home.
When I get back home and get settled back at work, I receive a package
in interoffice mail. It�s a stuffed armadillo in the shape of a purse.
It was one of the prizes you could win in the Exhibit Hall, and it�s
beautiful beyond description. It was a gift to me from the librarian who
won it, on the note she wrote:
�My name is Antonio. I�ve come to live with you as a symbol of your
first AALL Conference. Besides, I hear you will appreciate my
rodent-like qualities. Can I stay with you please?�
Tears in my eyes, I whisper into Antonio�s handy zip pocket, �Yes, yes.
Oh, yes. Oh, my, yes.�
By Andrea Hamilton, Faegre & Benson, Boulder, CO
�Resource Review� is a new, regular
column featuring the print and electronic tools PLL librarians find
essential to a reference job well done.
Almanac of the Federal Judiciary,
published by Aspen Law & Business
This two-volume set�updated twice a year�is the fastest, easiest
resource I�ve found to provide brief, biographical information about
federal judges. It is available in both print and electronic formats.
Volume 1 contains profiles and evaluations of all judges of the United
States district courts, as well as bankruptcy and magistrate judges.
Volume 2 contains profiles and evaluations of all judges of the United
States Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Volume 2
also contains an introduction to the Supreme Court as well as �Lawyers�
Comments� about each circuit.
The biographical information
provided for each federal judge contains some or all of the following:
General information including address, education, previous positions and
appointments, awards, and professional associations; Publications;
Judicial Committees & Activities, Noteworthy Rulings, Media Coverage,
and�unique to this resource��Lawyers' Evaluation[s],� comprised of
anonymous feedback provided by those with a professional relationship
with the named judge.
Do you have a resource you�d like
to feature in this column? Please send your submission (including the
name of the resource, the publisher� and a brief description of the
resource) to Andrea Hamilton at
email@example.com. Please use Resource Review in the Subject
field of your email.
SAN ANTONIO TO SAINT
LOUIS: AALL REVIEW
by Donna L. Fisher, Senniger Powers, Saint. Louis, MO
San Antonio in July is hot and humid, much like July weather in
Saint Louis, where I live. The weather and the wonderful hospitality of
Texans made me feel right at home as I attended my first AALL annual
conference, thanks to grants from LexisNexis and the PLL-SIS. The city�s
beautiful sights and sounds combined with unique and valuable conference
events to create a memorable and professionally enriching week.
I knew the conference would be worthwhile from the moment I entered the
lobby of the convention center. Everything needed to make the most of
the conference experience was right there, including registration and
San Antonio hospitality and restaurant reservation booths. The ability
to print handouts for educational sessions was especially helpful since
I had opted not to bring these from home to reduce the amount of paper I
My first order of business after registration was to scout out the
exhibit hall. I ended up spending several hours there. Most of my time
was spent at the larger vendors learning about new features and
products, but I tried at least to stop by every booth just to take a
look at their services (and of course, take any of their promotional
giveaways!). I was amazed at the variety and scope of vendor services,
and I came away with several pieces of product literature worth
reviewing for possible purchase.
Each educational session I attended at the conference was valuable. Two
sessions that were of particular help were �Publishing Outside the Law
Library Box� and �AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers.� As someone who is
interested in writing, I enjoyed hearing the presenters explain their
personal experiences in writing and publishing articles and explain how
they developed their ideas and where they received their inspiration. If
there is one thing I learned from these two sessions, it is that even
though there are certain guidelines that must be followed, the writing
process is very individual and reflects the personality and interests of
Since I work at a law firm that deals specifically in intellectual
property, I naturally took advantage of the chance to attend the
breakfast and business meeting of the IP librarian caucus and the
session presented by several of the caucus members, �So, Now You�ve Got
an IP Practice.� Most of the IP librarians are veterans with many years
of experience, and the group offered expert suggestions, comments, and
advice that I would have had a hard time obtaining outside of the
conference. The caucus also has an active listserv, and I am eager to
participate in this group�s future activities.
The conference provided countless opportunities for networking and
social gathering, and to me those events were equally as, if not more,
important that the training sessions and vendor exhibits. It�s so
important to have the chance to learn from and just have fun with my
professional colleagues. At the PLL Business Meeting and Breakfast I met
several law firm and academic librarians from all over the country. At a
West dessert gathering I visited with several West representatives with
whom I was already acquainted and met several new ones. The BNA cafe was
a good �rest stop� area to meet and greet other weary colleagues. At the
Lexis Dessert Gala I sat with a very fun group of librarians from the
University of Arizona, one of whom had the entire table in stitches with
his story of being stuck in the hotel elevator with an assorted mix of
characters. But for me the social climax of the conference was the
LexisNexis Grants and Scholarship reception and dinner, held at the
Institute of Texan Cultures. The elegant event was truly a gala, with an
excellent classical guitarist providing entertainment and fabulous food
that was presented like a work of art. The music, dinner, and the
wonderful company at my table created a not-to-be-forgotten evening.
At every session and event I gathered and gave out business cards by the
handfuls. I met so many new and wonderful people at the conference, all
of whom were, without exception, gracious, friendly, and enthusiastic. I
always enjoy mingling with other librarians. It�s doubly enjoyable to be
able to attend an entire conference of law librarians, whose concerns
and interests mirror my own.
I am very grateful to PLL and Lexis for their generosity in awarding me
2005 conference grants. Without their support I would not have been able
to travel to San Antonio. Next year AALL will hold its 2006 Centennial
conference in my hometown of Saint Louis. I look forward to being part
of the conference committee, and I hope to meet as many of you as
possible next year. If the Centennial Conference is even half as
wonderful as the 2005 San Antonio conference, it will be fabulous!
NEWBIE�S VIEW OF THE AALL CONFERENCE IN SAN ANTONIO
by Kelly Louis, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP, Columbus, OH
Being new to AALL and law
librarianship altogether, I wasn�t sure what to expect from my first
annual conference. I tend to be very practical and really enjoy classes
from which I can return to my law firm with some real knowledge and
skills that I can implement. I was lucky to find that many sessions gave
me exactly that. Two classes ranked as my favorites: �Finding Government
Documents Today� and �Marketing Schmarketing�.
�Finding Government Documents Today� by Peggy Roebuck Jarrett and Cheryl
Nyberg was not only full of useful links but also very entertaining. The
handouts from this class are very helpful and sit on my desk now to help
with Government Document questions that come up. I came away having many
more resources and a better understanding of the daunting search for
�Marketing Schmarketing� by Cynthia Carlson and Abigail Ellsworth Ross
gave me a lot to think about. I spend a fair amount of time at my law
firm planning events. I prefer to use these events to educate my patrons
about research techniques and services. This class gave me some insight
into what other librarians are doing to market their services. I feel
strongly about the need to market library services. Our patrons need to
see that the library is not just a place where the books are housed but
more of a one stop shop for information. I like to remind them that the
most important resources in the library are the reference librarians!
Carlson and Ross presented very unique and fun ways to involve the
patrons in library activities.
Another important part of AALL was the �Annual Legislative and
Regulatory Update� presented by A. Hays Butler, Mary Alice Baish, Robert
L. Oakley and Michael L. Walsh. I was interested to find out what AALL
is doing on a national level. AALL is actively involved in ensuring
continued access to all sorts of information. These activities certainly
were not the first thing I thought about when I joined AALL, but they
will be now. During the update session an in-depth discussion took place
about a �Broadcast Flag.� This is a little chip that would prevent
everyone from videotaping certain television programs or movies for any
reason. The AALL Legislative Committee successfully lobbied to prevent
the Broadcast Flag from being implemented in the United States. This
certainly was a big win, and I couldn�t believe that this was the first
I was hearing about AALL�s involvement with it! For more information
about it, you can see the brief that was filed on behalf of AALL at
I�d be remiss if I didn�t mention two events that were sheer fun! First
I�d like to mention the PLL Kinky Friedman luncheon. Kinky was funny,
insightful and, frankly, very heartfelt. I enjoyed the portion of his
book he read and found it surprisingly touching. Frankl, I think the
United States government could do with a lot more Kinky Friedmans.
Finally, I must mention the West Party on Monday night. I found it
refreshing that tickets were available for families who accompanied
librarians to the conference. I also thought the party was great fun. My
five year old summed it up best by saying, �This is the best party ever
and West Rocks!�
So what did I learn from attending my first AALL? A lot more goes on
with the AALL organization than first meets the eye. AALL is involved in
lobbying the federal government to protect our access to information,
works at charity events to better our country and also puts on a great
conference from which attendees can return to their jobs with a marked
improvement in their skills. So to add to my daughter�s thought�.AALL
SO THIS IS
WHAT EVERYONE�S BEEN TALKING ABOUT...
by Andrea Hamilton, Faegre & Benson, Boulder, CO
I thought about calling this
article something like �Ramblings from a Seasoned Conference Attendee.�
After all, my recent attendance at the American Association of Law
Libraries annual conference was my third trip to a major, professional
library conference and my second visit to AALL. It was only after
speaking with several of my fellow librarians whose attendance in San
Antonio marked their 10th, 15th, or even 20th visit to AALL that I
realized I hadn�t yet earned the title of �Seasoned.� In fact, I didn�t
even come close. I did, however, feel like �third time�s a charm� when
it comes to navigating a professional conference of national scale.
I recognized people this year. Whether they were my current
coworkers from other offices, past coworkers, fellow attendees from past
conferences, or colleagues with whom I work on a professional basis, I
actually recognized people! It was so nice to walk into a session, or
better yet, into one of the large luncheons or vendor-sponsored
shindigs, and see a familiar face or two. It was great to be able to
catch up with those I hadn�t seen in a while and, even better, put a
face I�d never seen with a name I recognized (�I�ve read your articles!�
�I responded to your posting on the listserv!� �I voted for you!�)
Sitting with someone you know inevitably leads to meeting someone new.
And as anyone who attends these library conferences already knows, you
can never befriend too many librarians. Networking is essential to this
profession. Whether you need them for helping you with a super-hard
Japanese patent question, or you like having someone with whom you can
tour around one of the great conference cities (was I the only one
pleasantly surprised by San Antonio?), it�s great to have colleagues
from around the nation.
It�s true what they say about the free meals. You can actually
make it through most of AALL without having to pay for a meal. This was
the first conference during which I felt I actually took full advantage
of all of the culinary offerings. I did, however, walk away from each of
these events with more than a full belly. I got to hear interesting
speakers! Regardless of what you thought of him or what he said, I think
anyone would be hard-pressed to disagree with labeling Kinky Friedman as
�interesting.� I networked! Taking advantage of the SIS events puts you
smack-dab in the middle of librarians with the same professional focus
as yourself. I even left one of the SIS luncheons as a new member of one
of their committees (the edible bribe worked.). And let�s face it, the
meal events are fun! It�s a great way to break up the non-stop onslaught
of great educational programs, and it�s nice to round out the evening
with a party and still feel like you are working (it was a Westlaw
margarita, after all�)
I better understand how to navigate the Exhibit Hall as well as the
vast number of educational programs. I have learned that it takes
great skill to balance all of the offerings at AALL. The �Meetings and
Events Index (in alphabetical order)� listings in the Final Program
covered nine pages all jam-packed into less than a week�s time! And so,
taking the time before the conference to prioritize the programs I
wanted to attend, the invitations I received, and the vendors I wanted
to visit really helped maximize my time there. I was an efficient
conference-attending machine! Although at times I felt a bit overwhelmed
by all that was going on, sticking to the carefully-crafted itinerary I
created in Outlook helped me cope and stay focused. But the fact that I
couldn�t possibly attend all that I wanted to see served as the perfect
conversation-starter when I was seated at one of those free-meal events
next to someone I didn�t know. I usually asked about the classes they
had attended; speaking with them was a great way to �attend� the
educational sessions I wasn�t able to fit into my schedule.
Quizzing someone I didn�t know was also a good way to prioritize the
limited time I was able to spend in the Exhibit Hall. For example, I
asked one of my fellow lunch-goers what the best exhibit she had visited
was, and she pointed me to the British Library booth. I have to admit, I
had already passed by this relatively nondescript booth once during a
quick tour around the Exhibit Hall (no mock cockpits here!); but based
on her recommendation, I stopped to take a look. Boy, was she right!
What a nice group to speak with and what an impressive physical
collection and document delivery service they had to offer. And so, even
though I didn�t win an iPod, I was quite impressed with my time spent in
the Exhibit Hall.
So I guess it�s all these things that contributed to me returning from
my trip to San Antonio with some sort of new-found confidence as an AALL
annual conference attendee. I spent far less of my time in panic mode
and much more of my time enjoying what I was learning and who I was
meeting. I know, however, that I haven�t mastered all there is to know
about being a law librarian and attending AALL and that only after
attending year after year after year after year will I gradually earn my
title of �Seasoned.�
A FIRM LIBRARIAN LOOKS AT
by Randall J. Thompson, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Harried and overworked firm
librarians may dream of a job free of the pressures of the billable hour
and the type-A senior partner. They may long for an existence in which
they are viewed as respected colleagues by their patrons, collaborating
with them to produce the finest research product possible. In their
fantasies, they see themselves in a world in which information is valued
in its own right and is to be protected and preserved and not discarded
with the closing of each successive case file. In short, they see
themselves retreating from the frantic and fast-paced world of the firm
to the staid and honorable environment of academia.
But what of the reality? Four years ago, I made the move from the firm
life to that of the law school. I had worked in firms for eleven years
but had also spent a couple of years teaching legal research as a
faculty adjunct. While I enjoyed the firms, I found myself, like many
firm librarians, distressed at the research skills of our new
associates. I found in teaching a means to directly address the problem,
at least in some small way. So when the opportunity arose to work in a
law school library, I packed up my wife and dog and moved half way
across the country to settle into a new life in which I would prepare
students to become the associates firm librarians desired.
Or so I hoped. What I found wasn�t exactly what I expected. Many myths
and realities surround life in academia. Here are a few of what I found.
Congeniality? Deep divisions can exist in law firms. Issues such
as partner compensation, priorities among practice groups, and strategic
decisions regarding expansion can split a firm. To those involved in
these conflicts, academia can be seen as a quiet refuge from the
battles. Alas, academia can be its own cauldron of discord. The one
unifying factor of firms is that ultimately the firm must make a profit.
The firm members know that and in the final analysis will usually work
together to make the firm a success. Law schools lack the profit motive
and the focus it brings. Each professor, concentrating on his or her own
area of research, can become an island awash in the sea and separate
from the work of colleagues. Pressure then falls to the Dean to convince
and cajole the faculty they need to swim together. Deans generally don�t
last very long.
US News and World Report is the New Religion. Corollary to the
lack of profit incentives in law schools is that schools now genuflect
to the annual US News and World Report law school rankings. Profits show
how well firms are doing and clients and new associates gravitate to
those high on the food chain. However, without profits as a guide, law
schools, and more importantly prospective law students and faculty, have
no way to compare the relative performance of one against another. Into
the void enters US News. With its annual rankings of law schools, US
News provides the yardstick with which future students and new faculty
can evaluate schools and presumably pick the best one in which they can
get admitted or hired. This is critical to schools since better students
and faculty bring increased prestige and recognition which often
translates to more grants and donations, the ultimate criteria of
success for any Dean. Unfortunately, the focus on the rankings means
that they may become the driving force for a school�s strategic
Tenure is a time honored academic tradition soundly rooted in the
concept of academic freedom. The idea is that an academician,
professor or librarian, with tenure can not be removed simply based upon
the content of what he or she is teaching. In reality it means that,
once granted, an academician basically has a job for life. As firm
librarians are only too aware, job security in the firms depends solely
upon how well you performed today. Tenure tends to remove the pressure
to perform today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.
Committees rule. Academic life means committees. Nearly every new
project, no matter how small, requires a committee. If every professor
is an island, then each desires a say in the ebb and flow of the
surrounding sea. Tasks that would be handled administratively in a firm
often in academia are referred to committees to consider. Many an issue
may die of old age in discussion rather than meet its demise in action.
Wexis wins. In our freshman orientation program this year, the
only persistent question from the one day old law students was when they
would get their Westlaw and Lexis passwords. How Wexis had managed to
reach out and capture their research hearts and minds before the
librarians even knew the battle was joined was beyond me; but one thing
was clear, the war was already lost. Students expecting Wexis before
classes even begin are unlikely to be enamored with the complexities of
a looseleaf treatise. The best academic librarians can do is teach
online research, but even here, the Wexis reps can gain student interest
by offering cars and trips; all librarians can do is say you may need to
know this someday.
Students make it all worthwhile. However, for all the pitfalls of
academia, the joy of the place is the students. Most firm librarians I
know enjoy working with new associates. Working with students is even
better. Students arrive receptive, energetic and ready to learn. It is a
pleasure to guide them through their first steps down the path to
becoming lawyers. Working with them makes the switch from the firm all
THOUGHTS ON THE AALL CONFERENCE
by David Bader, Riva Laughlin, Jennifer Stephens,
Haynes and Boone, LLP, Dallas, TX
� The weather during the
conference was the perfect example of the old saying, �if you don�t like
the weather [in Texas], just wait a few minutes and it will change.� I
saw sun to clouds to pouring rain to sun in less than a half hour
several days in a row.
� Because of the rain and humidity, it would have been nice to have been
issued a set of gills with the welcome packet.
� It is a rather rude awakening to be greeted in the elevator at 6:00
a.m. by a Doberman pinscher (nice dog, but BIG!) [AALL shared the
conference hall with a dog show!
� It�s so good to be able to catch up with folks you haven�t seen in a
while. It�s one of my favorite parts of conventions.
� I�m always amazed at the products displayed in the exhibit hall. How
do people come up with these ideas, and why can�t I think of them?
� The convention center did a wonderful job. The signage was so great; I
never got lost. And, I only froze in one meeting the entire time I was
at the conference. I usually wear a light jacket in the convention
� Biggest change I noticed since the 2003 conference in Seattle: shorter
lines at the free email stations due to free high speed Internet access
in so many hotels.
� It was really nice that Internet access was provided in the back of
the exhibit hall (for those who didn�t bring a laptop for access from
their room. Judging from the long line of people (OK, I was among them)
waiting to log in to check email, I wonder if it�s time for AALL to
start a 12 Step IA program for the email addicted
� I�ve seen the Alamo many times, and it always looks smaller than the
image you see in the movies. Alamo addendum: I know it�s a free market,
but the shops opposite Alamo Plaza give the place a kind of crass
tourist trap look.
� The Riverwalk is nice; but you walk two blocks away from it, and the
downtown gets shabby looking�real fast. It also can be confusing, and it
seems to be longer every time we visit San Antonio.
� Not being able to sleep well, not being on my waterbed, I got to see a
lot of overnight TV programming. The wee hours of the morning are really
� Walking across downtown Dallas for meetings, lunch, etc. is a good way
to prepare for the Hein Fun Walk/Run. After round trips of 1-2 miles in
90+ heat in work clothes, walking one mile in shorts early in the cool
of the morning is a breeze.
C-2: Finding Government
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I attended this session because I�m being asked to retrieve many more
government documents these days and they aren�t always easy to find. I
loaded up on coffee, expecting to be fighting off nap attacks. Boy, was
Peggy Jarrett and Cheryl Nyberg started their presentation with a silent
movie depicting the perils of finding government documents just a short
time ago, before the Internet. Now, many of these documents are
available on the Web if you just know where to look.
Jarrett and Nyberg gave general strategies on finding government
documents, then moved to discussing lesser known avenues for finding
these. They even included a few hints on where to look if the document
just ISN�T to be found in electronic format. Each section of their
presentation was given a theme, and introduced with music. We were even
asked to sing a time or two.
This presentation was extremely helpful and anything but boring. Both
the printed materials and the PowerPoint presentations are available at:
http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/docstoday.html. Unfortunately, the
audio files are not duplicated there, but the PowerPoint presentation
concludes with the song list used.
I-3: Recover 100% of Online Research Costs
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
This was a very lively panel discussion which was well attended and
generated quite a lot of interest from the audience. The speakers,
including Ann Walsh Long and LaJean Humphries, has obviously touched a
bit of a raw nerve among the law librarian community as evidenced by the
continued debate which has spawned a new forum in the PLL list-serv on
The main point that struck me was the declaration that recovery is a
management decision. As the administrators of the online services we do
our best to recoup as much as we can, but ultimately, unless there is
corporate will to enforce recovery, we are pretty much like the little
Dutch boy sticking his finger in one hole of a leaking dike, while other
leaks are continuously breaking out.
Strategies were outlined for increased cost recovery such as using
client validation software, monitoring bills for non-billable charges
and calling users to see if they have billable numbers, consideration of
the �Jiffy Lube� model where all accounts have a built in CALR
surcharge. Client education and communication to show that online use in
research is cost effective to them as well as the firm is necessary, and
cost recovery classes for attorneys should be held to show them how to
do cost effective searches.
Overall, a very thought provoking session. I give it four gavels.
D-4: Copyrights, Copywrongs,
and Gray Areas In-between
Monday, July 18, 2005
The panel for this discussion consisted of Carrie Russell from the
American Library Association, Paul Callister from the University of
Missouri - Kansas City, and Samuel Troscow, from the University of
Western Ontario. Russell led off the discussion, giving a brief overview
of the current status of copyright law as it applies to libraries and
librarians. Russell is the Copyright Specialist for the ALA in its
Washington Office and has a hand in helping write policy on copyright
issues. Her speech was peppered with real life examples of how business
lobbying has led to the current convoluted status of copyright law.
Callister and Troscow each gave some examples of copyright issues from
the university perspective. One of the biggest emerging issues is
e-reserves, where libraries either point to URL's for electronic
services or have scanned articles for class reserves. Is this fair use
or not? Answer: It depends on the risk management factors in your
institution policies AND the license you have with the publishers.
Overall, a lively, informative discussion of copyright law and copyright
policies. Two thumbs up.
ANNUAL MEETING RECAP
W-2 SYSTEMS THINKING: A
NEW WAY TO STRATEGIZE
by Jennifer Kessler, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, MA
Saturday, July 16, 2005, marked the
occasion of an informative, half-day workshop designed to introduce
annual meeting participants to the process of systems thinking and
illustrate how its philosophies, tools and practice can benefit
librarians and information professionals. Rebecca Corliss (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Lorri Zipperer (email@example.com) and
Sara Tompson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
co-instructed this pre-conference workshop, which was sponsored by the
Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section.
As librarians and information professionals, we daily confront the
challenges of providing appropriate resources and services to meet the
specific needs of our clients, be they students, professors, paralegals,
attorneys, judges, the general public, etc. When affiliated with larger
organizations, however, information centers must also carefully consider
the business, work, culture and interaction among individuals,
departments and various business units in order to �see the big picture�
and position themselves as �proactive� rather than �reactive.�
Understanding the core concepts of systems thinking, for example the
principle of �interconnectedness� (i.e., �everything is connected to
everything else� and �whatever we do has a rippling effect�) can provide
new, different perspectives from which to view the organizations where
we work, redefine our roles within them and when and where possible, use
the tools of systems thinking to help affect change.
Corliss, Zipperer and Tompson apply the models and principles introduced
in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a
Learning Organization to demonstrate the relevance and importance of
systems thinking for library and information professionals1.
Accordingly, they recognize and recommend the following five phases of a
systems thinking approach:
1. Structure problems so they are �expressed in terms that are
understandable and usable.�
2. Utilize �causal loops� and �feedback modeling� to determine how
different issues affect the relationships within organizations.
3. Perform �dynamic modeling� by examining situations and creating maps
to plan for future change.
4. Practice and review various scenarios providing the opportunity for
people to see issues from different points of view.
5. Apply and share information learned throughout the process.
Moreover, they point out a few documented �behavioral barriers� that may
interfere with the adoption of a systems thinking approach, namely
knowledge, organizational leadership, cultural and value-based beliefs
and assumptions and personal time constraints.
To learn more about systems thinking and how it can further benefit
librarians and information professionals, please contact the workshop
instructors and visit The Systems Thinking Perspective Project at
1 See Peter M. Senge, et al., The
Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning
Organization (New York: Doubleday, 1994).
CHAPTERED LAWS ONLINE, 1850 � CURRENT
by Carolina Rose and Lisa Hampton, Legislative Research, Inc. (LRI),
In the interpretation of
statutes, the courts will resort to the use of extrinsic aids to shed
light on the Legislature�s intent. One such extrinsic aid of little
known value is the multi-volume California Statutes and Amendments to
the Codes (hereafter Statutes). Every bill passed since 1850 has been
assigned a chapter number within a designated legislative session and is
published in the Statutes. However, the four 1872 Code Enactments were
published separately (Civil, Civil Procedure, Penal and Political).
Analyzing the evolution of a California code section from its earliest
inception can yield valuable information regarding legislative intent.
Regarding Internet access to the Statutes, there is good news and bad
news. The good news is that, with the exception of the 1872 Code
Enactments, the California Legislature has provided Internet access to
all of the chaptered laws. The bad news is that one of the databases has
its �challenges,� and has been known to test one�s sanity.
Tips On How To Use The Statutes
Here is an example of how to use the Statutes based on an actual project
that our office worked on: Opposing counsel is asserting that a statute
imposes a mandatory duty on your client. You disagree because a plain
reading of the statute � �may do X� � reveals a discretionary intent.
However, there is no case law to support your common sense analysis of
the statute, so you turn to the West�s and Deering�s legislative history
code annotations for the necessary Statutes citations that allow you to
assemble every incarnation of the statute from day one. (West and
Deering�s occasionally miss one or more citations so it is in your best
interest to check both publications. Between the two of them, you can
catch most of the omissions.) After analyzing the evolution of the
statute, you discover that it was originally written to say �shall do X�
before it was amended to say �may do X� � supporting your conclusion
that the Legislature did not intend to create a mandatory duty on your
Why can�t you just rely on the descriptions of the amendments in the
annotated codes? There are several reasons. For example, many times the
annotated codes do not provide the actual descriptions of the
amendments, and sometimes their descriptions do not do justice to the
actual amendments. Also, rarely do the annotations describe the first
incarnation of a statute. They mainly focus on subsequent amendments;
and they never describe the derivations, which are the prior law
versions of the statute (i.e., when it existed under one or more
different code sections or in uncodified general law). Lastly, it is
difficult to keep track of statutory changes when there have been many
amendments or re-letterings of subdivisions. You can avoid these
problems by having the actual language in front of you.
Internet Access Tips
(1) 1850 -1993. This database contains Adobe PDF versions of all of
the chaptered laws from 1850 through 1993, excluding the 1872 Code
Enactments. This is the most challenging database, and can be found on
the Assembly�s web page:
http://184.108.40.206/clerkarchive/. The third drop down menu on the
left says �Statutes.� Click on the drag-down menu and scroll to the year
you need. After selecting the year, a table of contents will open. Find
the bank of chaptered laws that has your chaptered law number in it and
click on it. This will open up the appropriate volume from the Statutes.
Finding the chapter you need. Once you open the appropriate file,
look for bookmarks on the left side of the screen. The word �Statutes�
will be in the bookmarks column with a �+� sign next to it. Click on the
symbol to expand the bookmarks which will allow you to see increment of
chapter numbers. Click on the chapter number that is numerically closest
to the one you are interested in. After that, it is simply a matter of
scrolling through until you reach the specific chapter that you are
Using large Adobe files. The best tip we can give is this: remain
patient. Most of the files contained in this database are gigantic, some
even exceeding 100MB. Files this large take a painfully long time to
upload completely. Even with a high speed connection the average wait
time is thirty or forty minutes. Because of these large sizes, we
recommend closing all other applications before beginning the uploading
process because you won�t want to overwhelm your computer. Your computer
may appear to �freeze� while the huge records are uploading, but try to
resist the temptation to reboot. You may be able to scroll through the
file a couple of times, or even print once. But, risk too much activity
before the file is completely uploaded, and your computer will get angry
with you. One way around this, besides waiting for the upload to
complete, is to exit and reenter after each activity. It �cleans the
(2) 1993 - Current, without a bill number. Go to
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/statute.html and enter the chapter number
and year number and, in return, you will receive a word searchable HTML
version of the chaptered law.
(3) 1993 � Current, with a bill number. Go to
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html and select the appropriate
year from the first drop-down menu. The second drop-down menu allows you
to select the bill type, either Senate or Assembly. In the text box,
type in the bill number and hit �search.� The first entry under �Bill
Text� will say �Chaptered.� You can view the chaptered law in either the
HTML or PDF, depending on personal preference. Please note that the
1993-94 session only has the HTML version.