Must-Have Programming

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The Annual Meeting Program Committee has compiled the following list of "must-have" program topics (see FAQ) for the 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference—timely topics that AALL members have identified as being vital to their professional education. 

Programs on the 30 topics below will be offered in Austin, and we welcome your proposals that address them. Any topics not sufficiently covered by the submitted proposals will be curated by the AMPC, often with assistance from interested members and SISs who may have expertise and/or speaker recommendations in a particular area.

Summary (see detailed view below for suggestions):

The Business of Law  Marketing, Communication, & Advocacy 
Supporting the organization's mission; the economics of law, key drivers, trends, profitability, value, funding Promoting library services and resources, needs assessment, and demonstrating value to the organization 
 • Legal project management (LPM)  • Marketing and communications strategies
 • Legal industry economics  • Engaging your patrons
 • Competitive intelligence  • Collaboration and outreach
 • Innovation and technology  • Diversity and inclusion
 • Disruption in the legal industry  • Access to justice
Data & Content Management  Research
Organizing, collecting, preserving, presenting information and resources Research tools, skills, efficiencies, methods, results
 • Metadata creation, manipulation, and use  • Data and empirical legal research
 • Data, statistics, and data analytics  • Evolving research technology
 • Digital and institutional repositories  • Subject-specific research skills
 • Knowledge management and workflows  • Foreign and international legal research
 • Technology and innovation  • Topical area of law updates
Leadership, Administration, & Career Development  Teaching & Training 
Leading and managing staff, services, and resources as part of the organization's business; defining and achieving career goals Providing, evaluating, and measuring learning; defining competencies
 • Library Management 101  • Experiential learning in legal research
 • Avant-garde librarians leading the way  • Teaching specialized topics
 • Developing a budget (Budgeting 101)  • Teaching legal technology for practice
 • Emotional intelligence, difficult conversations, and assertiveness  • Tools for learning and teaching
 • Outsourcing law libraries  • Using assessment to improve teaching and training

Suggested focus areas for each topic:

The Business of Law
  • Legal project management (LPM)
    • Legal project management (LPM) is the application of project management processes to legal work. Increasingly demanded by in-house counsel and clients with alternative fee arrangements, LPM helps law firms complete work more efficiently and cost effectively. Implementing LPM at a small law firm. Implementing LPM at a large (or global) law firm. Selecting the right PM methodology. Understanding LPM fundamentals. Teaching LPM at law schools. Lessons learned (case studies). Legal Lean Sigma. Agile LPM. Convincing firm leadership to implement LPM. Getting an LPM project off the ground/where to start. How to take your implemented LPM initiative to the next level. Using PM principles to streamline workflow (Lean process improvement). 
  • Legal industry economics
    • Law librarians must be aware of bottom-line economic pressures and operate in a more business-like fashion—whether they're in a stand-alone law library or one that is part of a larger entity. They must also become expert negotiators at acquiring only those resources and tools valuable to the organization's strategic mission. Optimizing budgets that continue to decline. Practical tips for running your law library like a business. Law firm economics. Legal publishing economics. Law library economics. Data-driven negotiation skills. Revenue generation ideas (e.g. billing for research, obtaining grants, developing membership).
  • Competitive intelligence
    • Librarians are on the front lines in competitive intelligence (CI), using it to help contribute to the bottom line in a meaningful way. Explore ways to take this newly-earned position and leverage it. CI 2.0: expanding/improving a CI program already in place. Innovation showcase: what new CI projects/products have you developed to help business development? Prospect research and competitive intelligence: what can academic institutions and law firms learn from each other in our bids to fundraise/earn new business? Marketing and CI: why can't we be friends? The drudgery of financial statements and SEC filings: how to find actionable intelligence in the line items. Visuals: how to improve CI output with better visual presentation. Speaking business development: improving writing skills for CI. Customizing CI reports for industry or practice.
  • Innovation and technology
    • Innovation involves matching problems with new solutions and being open to the unthinkable. This is an exciting time in the legal profession, with innovators across all types of libraries finding new solutions for old challenges. We have become a profession of innovators who lead and embrace change in our organizations and the institutions we support. Innovation tournament. IBM Watson (ROSS–Dentons). Lean six sigma teams. New roles for information professionals. Predictive analytics in the business and practice of law. Innovative academic courses with experiential learning. Privacy and security innovations. Outside counsel guidelines. Sustainable KM. Technological innovations in courtrooms and evidence production. Changing focus of artificial intelligence (neural networks). Publishing innovations.
  • Disruption in the legal industry
    • 'Market Disruption' is a situation where markets cease to function in a regular manner, typically characterized by rapid and large market declines. In the legal industry we have seen clients demanding alternative fee arrangements and working with less outside firms. Law firms have responded by downsizing, outsourcing, and offshoring staff. Law Schools are seeing smaller class sizes and a reduction of library staff and change in curricula to create practice ready graduates. Court and County law librarians are seeing a reduction in funding for their libraries and closures of state law libraries. In this climate, how do law librarians not only survive, but thrive? Workplace of the future. New law firm models. Bookless libraries. Hiring a consultant. Disruptions to legal research teaching and training. Legal industry disruption caused by innovation and data analytics tools. Virtual teams. Proactive reengineering. The collapse of Dewey LeBouf—how do you know when your firm is in trouble? Law firm mergers are on the rise—is there a mega-firm in your future? Management by analytics. Are predictive analytics in your future? Information as a legal service. The end of org charts—redefining workflows for the 21st century. Space planning as a knowledge management strategy. Communicating your strategic value to the C-Suite.
Marketing, Communication, & Advocacy
  • Marketing and communications strategies
    • Effective marketing and communication begin with an organization's mission, are integral to the development of services, and occur with each patron touch point. Brand management. Marketing and business development research. Strategic planning. Developing effective (internal and external) marketing and communications campaigns. Communicating value to stakeholders. Best practices. Measuring success and performance.
  • Engaging your patrons
    • Anticipating and understanding the needs and wants of your patrons to create effective programming and services. Effective social media usage in libraries. Telling your library’s story across multicultural and multigenerational communities. Developing a journey map to effectively engage your patrons. How to build patron loyalty.
  • Collaboration and outreach
    • Collaborating outside of the library opens up numerous possibilities, from improved customer service to making libraries and library staff indispensable members of the broader organization. How to identify opportunities for collaboration in different contexts and unique settings. The potential outcomes and benefits of interdepartmental and interorganizational collaboration. Identifying challenges to collaboration. Collaborating outside of the library with other units, departments, or organizations (including other libraries).
  • Diversity and inclusion
    • Diversity and inclusion are essential components to today’s learning, teaching, service, and business environments. At its most basic, diversity is all the ways we are different and inclusion is respecting, valuing, and engaging with those differences. Creating inclusive library environments for patrons and staff (e.g. safe spaces). Political speech and academic freedom. Developing diversity strategies for hiring and retention. Implicit bias and microaggressions. Universal design learning. Talking to stakeholders about diversity and inclusion initiatives. Understanding and working with different personality types. Being an ally. Fostering cultural competency among diverse employees. Hot-button issues and topics in diversity and inclusion. Community outreach to encourage library as a career.
  • Access to justice
    • Access to justice involves programs and strategies that make the rule of law available to everyone despite their economic and educational demographics or level of legal expertise. Research strategies for pro se and indigent parties. Free legal resources/databases and information about pro bono and legal aid programs. Availability or creation of A2J webinars and workshops. Collaboration between law libraries and the legal community. Collaborative services/resources provided by legal aid offices, local courts, law school clinics and law firm pro bono departments. Step-by-step instructions for common legal procedures, and available print materials, downloadable legal forms.
Data & Content Management
  • Metadata creation, manipulation, and use
    • Linked data. BIBFRAME. Authority control/identity management. MarcEdit. Taxonomies. Social tagging.  Basic cataloging training. Batchloading vendor records. Metadata standards for digital objects. Creating metadata for digital and institutional repositories.
  • Data, statistics, and data analytics
    • Databrarians. Creating, sharing, and using data from unique sources. Caselaw as data. Experience databases. Data analytics examples. Using and preserving data sets. Data preservation and curation. Collection development plans for data. Measuring faculty scholarship. Data or text mining algorithms. Gathering vendor usage statistics to evaluate electronic resources. Quality and relevance of vendor-supplied statistics. AmLaw 200 benchmark statistics. Quantitative vs. qualitative data. Big data. Data visualization. Web analytics.
  • Digital and institutional repositories
    • Best practices in managing DRs and IRs. Taxonomies and their relevance to DRs and IRs. Digital curation and preservation. Transitioning staff from traditional cataloging to metadata creation in IRs and DRs. XML standards for legal materials. Caselaw Access Project. SSRN.
  • Knowledge management and workflows
    • KM and information governance. Legal project management. Legal process improvement. SharePoint. E-resource evaluation. ERM. Usage monitors for collection development. PDAs (and the concept of Just-in-time vs. Just-in-case). Managing technical services functions and changing roles and workflows. Cataloging and ERM concepts for non-specialists. Federal information policy (OMB Circular A-130). Using Excel spreadsheets in dashboards or VBA programming. Collection/content balance. Collection management/planning. Assessment. Preservation. Combating loss of institutional knowledge/data. 
  • Technology and innovation
    • Emerging technologies impacting content management. Next Gen ILSs, discovery layers, and search algorithms. Information security. Data privacy. Teaching technology competency. Case studies of local use of linked data or BIBFRAME. Building web portals or hubs. Practical features and uses of big data. Artificial intelligence.
  • Data and empirical legal research
    • How to take empirical legal research to the next level and discover new ways to use data by exploring data methodologies, algorithms, and statistics. Statistics 101 (for humanities majors). Algorithms as a human artifact. Supporting empirical legal research—promises and pitfalls.
  • Evolving research technology
    • Exploring the opportunities and limitations of new research platforms. Case law research platforms—what's new, how to differentiate. Litigation analytics—latest trends and looking behind the hype. 
  • Subject-specific research skills
    • Techniques and databases for researching subjects such as social media, SEC filings, patents, legislative history, etc. Beyond the 10Q and 10K (learn what kind of events trigger a company to file with the SEC and what kind of forms are available). Social media research (investigative tricks and capturing info). Find that patent (tips and tricks for firm and academic librarians). Patent litigation 101 (gain an understanding of the patent litigation process).
  • Foreign and international legal research
    • Brexit (implications for EU law and beyond). Cross-border research (gain the skills to locate, digest, and deliver international and foreign law).
  • Topical area of law updates 
    • What's new in privacy law/civil rights/animal law/etc. Hidden secrets and where to find them (fifty years of FOIA, and how to find the documents the government is hiding). Where does privacy end and safety begin?/How much collected data of citizens is too much?
Leadership, Administration, & Career Development
  • Library Management 101
    • An overview for new library managers that includes: how to create and read a budget, how to do performance evaluations, how to manage personnel working remotely, and other human resource issues a manager may confront.
  • Avant-garde librarians leading the way
    • Forget about merely thinking outside the box. The trick to creating a future that is viable and vital is to cast that box aside and reinvent what it means to be information professionals.  Hear from the folks who are blazing the trails into new professional frontiers—they could include virtual researchers, embedded librarians, and titles that sound almost too good to be true. How did they get there? What are they doing now? How did it change their outlook on our profession? 
  • Developing a budget (Budgeting 101)
    • How do you read a budget, develop a budget, and then implement that budget?  A "hands-on" session covering basic financial planning and structure for your organization.
  • Emotional intelligence, difficult conversations, and assertiveness
    • Instruction, training, and exercises on these soft skills that are incredibly important in the modern workplace but are often misunderstood or under-applied at most organizations.
  • Outsourcing law libraries
    • Contracted library support services are in use in law firms. What are the implications for law librarianship as a career? What can law librarians working in this sector share about their experiences?
Teaching & Training
  • Experiential learning in legal research
    • Best practices for designing an experiential legal research curriculum to meet the ABA standards. Ideas on how to incorporate real case work to ensure graduates are practice ready and have a solid foundation for practice. Reaching out to and coordinating with other stakeholders to further experiential learning (e.g. law school clinics, pro bono and externship departments, instructors of skills courses, and law firm librarians).
  • Teaching specialized topics 
    • Competitive intelligence research. Administrative law research. Litigation research (including dockets, court rules, etc.). How to find and evaluate data. Skills discussed in the IAALS Foundations for Practice Report. Business research.
  • Teaching legal technology for practice
    • Explore the teaching and training for LMS, law firm workflow tools, and law office technology. Gain an understanding of what legal technology skills are needed and expected. Examine the technology skills that form a foundation for practice. Assess legal technology competencies.
  • Tools for learning and teaching
    • Coding to create apps. Video production. Alternatives to traditional print textbooks. Sharing training materials among different libraries/librarians. Basic presentation skills. Presenting for teaching vs. presenting to advocate. Best practices for online teaching. 
  • Using assessment to improve teaching and training
    • While assessment of formal law school classes is required as a means of evaluating and improving instruction, non-graded instruction or training—such as firm training or extra-curricular training at law schools—can also be improved using assessment. What types of data can be collected from both formal and informal instruction settings? Examples: deliverables collected from students or trainees, data collected through a Learning Management System (LMS). How can the data collected be applied to improve future iterations of the instruction or training?