Annual Report

PLLIP-SIS Annual Report 2019-2020

Board Members

Saskia Mehlhorn, Chair
Chris Laut, Vice Chair, Chair-Elect
Cynthia Brown, Secretary
Leanna Simmons, Treasurer
Caren Luckie, Member-at-Large
Jeremy Sullivan, Member-at-Large
Diana Koppang, Immediate Past Chair

Committee Chairs

Awards: Karen Oesterle and Carla Evans
Annual Meeting Planning Committee: Alina Kelly and Shari Berkowitz Duff
Bylaws: Johanna Bizub and Janice Henderson
Communications: Andrea Guldalian, Robyn McAllen, and Julie Jones
Education and Professional Development: Lindsey Carpino and Denise Pagh
Grants: Elaine Knecht
Membership: Marie Calvaruso
Nominations: Susana Camargo-Pohl and Julie Pabarja
Summit: Christine Sellers Sullivan and Cynthia Brown

Strategic Accomplishments

The Board made a formal proposal to the AALL Board recommending AALL investigate the lack of incoming qualified candidates in the profession.  The AALL Board approved the creation of the Law Librarianship as a Career Guidance Review Special Committee.  The Committee spent 2020 on the following topics:

  • Gathering information on job postings
  • Gathering information on library schools
  • Understanding curriculum design
  • Evaluating the materials that AALL currently utilizes to describe legal librarianship

A “My Communities” board was suggested for directors of libraries. This page would help to facilitate communication between library directors for issues such as the salary survey, or serving as a listserv to assist with management issues, that directors may not want to broadcast widely. This group would be limited to appropriate PLLIP members.  The Board made progress on this project, and will pass on all notes to the incoming Board to finalize the new “My Communities” on the AALL website.

The Board was approached by ALM again in 2020 and asked to recommend programs for the LegalTech conference.  PLLIP provided three programs for LegalTech in New York in early February 2020.

The Board discussed how we could better onboard new committee chairs and Board officers in future years.  The Board is working with the incoming members of the 2020-2021 Board to train them utilizing the PLLIP procedures guide.  Any new committee chairs will be likewise trained.

2020 presented unique challenges in planning the Annual Business Meeting and the Summit.  The Board and several committees made quick changes to facilitate the needs presented by COVID-19.

Committee Reports

Awards Committee

Co-Chairs: Carla Evans, Karen Oesterle

Members: Ronda Fisch, Caren Luckie, MaryAnn Wacker, Leanna Simon

Awards were given to:

  • Distinguished Librarian – Jean O’Grady, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, DLA Piper US
  • Best Blogger/Writer of the Year – Cynthia Brown, Sr. Director, Research Services, Littler
  • Hall of Fame – James (Jim) Senter, Library Services Manager, Jones Day
  • Service to PLLIP Award – Juli Stahl, Research Services Manager, Ackerman
  • Vendor/Outside Champion Award – Gayle Lynn-Nelson, Senior Librarian Relations Consultant, LexisNexis

Annual Meeting Planning Committee

Co-Chairs: Shari Berkowitz Duff, Alina Kelly

Members: Kevin Miles, Sarah Morris, Kris Niedringhaus, Megan Scanlon

  • Acted as mentors/procured mentors to provide feedback for PLLIP members proposing Annual Meeting programs.
  • Solicited programs from PLLIP members/advertised the opportunity for PLLIP program sponsorship at the AALL Annual Meeting.
  • Hosted a PLLIP Webinar, “Want to propose a program for AALL 2020?” on September 16, 2019, on the Ideascale website and program proposals.
  • Highlighted PLLIP members’ Annual Virtual Meeting programs by weeding through accepted programs and comparing to list of PLLIP members, and advertising the programs to the listserv.

Bylaws Committee

Co-Chairs: Johanna Bizub, Janice Henderson

Members: Mary Jenkins, Patricia Barbone

The Committee reviewed the bylaws and decided to propose several changes.  The following will be included on the 2021 ballot during the Spring election.

  • Renumbering two of the Articles to mirror the AALL Model SIS Bylaws. We also removed the current Article IV. Officers, Section 4. Nominating Committee and created a new article: X. Nominations & Elections for the section. The suggested renumbering is as follows:
    • Article I. Name
    • Article II. Objectives
    • Article III. Membership
    • Article IV. Antidiscrimination (change from Art. X.)
    • Article V. Meetings
    • Article VI. Officers (change from Art. IV.)
    • Article VII. Executive Committee (change from Art. VI)
    • Article VIII. Committees and Groups (change from Art. VII)
    • Article IX. Parliamentary Authority (change from Art. VIII)
    • Article X. Nominations & Elections (new)
    • Article XI. Amendments (change from Art. X.)
  • Removing under III. Membership the following sections from the bylaws to the PLLIP Procedures Manual:
    • Section 2. Dues will be established, collected and disbursed by the Treasurer of AALL in accordance with AALL Bylaws.
    • Section 3. The fiscal year will be the same as that of AALL, October 1st through September 30th.
  • Changes for Article V. Meetings:
    • There is a new “Section 3. Special Meeting” that states special meetings can be called by the Executive Committee for both physical or virtual meetings. The quorum would remain the same as with the annual business meeting. This ability to call special meetings is not in the current bylaws. The Committee thought this ability may be important for certain situations and should be stated in the bylaws.
  • Changes for Article VI. Officers (new numbering):
    • The Immediate Past-Chair officer was not included in the bylaws. The Committee rectified that by adding this role in Sections 1, 2 & 3.
    • Section 3. Terms of Office – Added text not in the current bylaws:
      • The three-year term that the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect serves; and
      • the third year for the Immediate Past-Chair role.
    • There are also other minor changes that the Committee is suggesting:
      • Inconsistency in the naming of the Immediate Past-Chair. Under the current bylaws the role is entitled Immediate Past-Chair. But on the website, the title is Past-Chair ( The website needs to be changed to Immediate Past-Chair to reflect the title role in the bylaws.
      • PLLIP will be called ‘Section’ throughout the bylaws.
      • The word “business” will be added to any reference to the annual meeting.
      • The AALL Bylaws Committee is renamed to its official name: AALL Bylaws & Resolutions Committee under Article XI. Amendments. Also the clarification for amending the bylaws by first sending any amendments to the AALL Bylaws & Resolutions Committee for review before being sent to the members for a vote. There will be text added to the PLLIP Procedures Manual to incorporate the steps needed to be taken for any bylaw amendments.

Communications Committee

Co-Chairs: Andrea Guldalian, Julie Jones, Robyn McAllen

Members: Patricia Barbone, Shari Berkowitz Duff, Katie Brown, Sabrina Davis, Cara Henley Johnson, Kevin Miles, Megan Moltrup, Allison Reeve-Davis, Linda-Jean Schneider

The Communications Committee had an influx of new members at the beginning of the year, and it was great to have some new participants. We continue to send Member News updates on a monthly basis to highlight PLLIP members’ activities and PLLIP events.  The Committee has also been working to keep the PLLIP website current with past newsletters and with other Committees’ activities.  Resource Guide author teams were formed to produce three new PLLIP Resource Guides; topics were based on the results of last spring’s State of the SIS survey and we hope to publish them within the next 3-6 months.  We continue to work on keeping On Firmer Ground active with member interviews, PLLIP webinar recaps, and articles by, or about, PLLIP members.

Education and Professional Development Committee

Co-Chairs: Lindsey Carpino, Denise Pagh

Members: Deanne Fix, Robyn McAllen, Kris Niedringhaus, Kevin Miles, Barbara  Fullerton, Eugene Giudice, Maria Burris, Mark Gediman, Julie Pabarja, Patrick Butler

We held four teleconference committee meetings on:

  • August 14, 2019
  • January 15, 2020
  • March 3, 2020
  • May 5, 2020

Our goal for the year was to conduct eight webinars and we completed eight webinars.

Date & Time of Webinar: September 4, 2019 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Title: Cannabis Law: Practical Information for the Legal Researcher

Description: This webinar provided an overview of the legal landscape related to the legalization of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use. Emphasis was given to the role that legal researchers can play in assisting the legal community as these issues are being brought to the fore. Topics covered included the science of cannabis, historical stereotypes that hamper the advancement of legalization of cannabis, the current state of legalization in both the state and federal arenas and equity issues for marginalized groups.

Moderator: Eugene Guidice, Research Services Training Specialist,  Dentons US LLP
Speakers: Joanne Caceres, Managing Associate,  Dentons US, LLP and Amanda Ostrowitz, Founder and CEO,  CannaRegs

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 102 attendees/156 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: September 16, 2019 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Title: PLLIP: Want to Propose a Program for AALL 2020?

Description: This webinar gave an inside look at the Annual Meeting Program Committee’s (AMPC) program proposal process.   We’ll walk you through the whole process.  From tips on writing your proposals, to how the AMPC reviews and selects the proposals that eventually become the programs you will see at the annual meeting.  After the webinar, you will also have the opportunity to be paired with a mentor who you can brainstorm with and guide you as you write your proposal.

Speakers: Shari Berkowitz Duff, Research Librarian, Jones Day and Alina Kelly, Head Librarian, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 15 attendees/29 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: December 3, 2019 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST
Title: 2020 Census Challenges

Description: Why is this census different than our other census? What are the benefits and disadvantages of the 2020 census? These 2020 numbers will shape how political power and our federal tax dollars will be shared in the next 10 years. Join PLLIP and our speaker, Terri Ann Lowenthal, census consultant, as she explains, explores and addresses the potential impacts to our country in terms of legislature, legal issues, financing, etc.

Moderator: Mark Gediman, Reference Librarian, Alston & Bird
Speaker: Terri Ann Lowenthal

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 38 attendees/63 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: January 29, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST
Title: Information Management: BoK Skills in Law Firm Practice

Description: On the job is where you put your skills and competencies to the test. Do you know what you need to know or can you up-skill quickly to meet the demands within your organization? Join four leaders within the law firm library sector as they highlight how competencies and skills within the information management domain are utilized in practice to manage and execute departmental responsibilities within law firms.

Speakers: Greg Lambert, Chief Knowledge Services Officer, Jackson Walker LLP; June Liebert, Director of Information Services, O’Melveny & Myers LLP; and Andre Davison, Research Technology Manager, BlankRome

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 115 attendees/154 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: February 12, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST
Title: How to Write a Useful CI Report

Description: Do you struggle trying to use a one-size-fits-all approach for your CI reports?  Do you wonder what should go into a report…and what you can leave out?  What even makes a report a “good” report? This program will have leading CI experts sharing their best practices when it comes to preparing CI reports and will answer these questions and others.  They will share their answers to the question, “What makes a successful CI report?” and walk you through their preparation process.
Moderators: Mark Gediman, Reference Librarian, Alston & Bird and Kevin Miles, Manager of Library Services, Norton Rose Fulbright

Speakers: Juli Stahl, Research Services Manager, Akerman; Jim Currie, Competitive Intelligence Manager, Norton Rose Fulbright; Liz Whittington, BD Competitive & Strategic Intelligence Specialist, K&L Gates

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 130 attendees/197 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: May 6, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Title: How to Write a Useful CI Report

Description: The demands for CI reports are constantly changing. Which resources should you use for your professional CI reports? Learn  the strong points of two powerful resources on the market from two CI professionals.

Moderators: Mark Gediman, Reference Librarian, Alston & Bird and Kevin Miles, Manager of Library Services, Norton Rose Fulbright
Speakers: Barbara Fullerton, Research Specialist, Dentons US LLP and Jim Currie, Competitive Intelligence Manager, Norton Rose Fulbright

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 100 attendees/144 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: June 25, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Title: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Beyond Litigation – Perspectives and Process

Description: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is becoming more prevalent as a way to resolve disputes that alleviates the need for court and takes advantage of a more collaborative process. As librarians and information professionals, it is up to us to learn the vocabulary around ADR, grasp its underpinnings, and understand how it differs from traditional litigation in order to be of maximum help to the ADR practitioner as he or she frames research questions. This webinar will also cover the print and online resources  with which the librarian or information professional should be familiar .

Moderator: Eugene Giudice, Research Services Training Specialist,  Dentons US LLP
Speaker: Mary Lee Brock, Assistant Professor, Creighton University

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 30 attendees/57 registrants

Date & Time of Webinar: July 9, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Title: Caught! Ransomware: How It Works, and How to Avoid Attacks

Description: Debbie Ginsberg will talk about ransomware, showcasing several recent cases in law and government.  She will examine how ransomware occurs and who is most vulnerable. Additionally, she will provide tips for avoiding attacks as well as how to respond when an attack occurs.

Moderator: Kris Niedringhaus, Associate Dean, Georgia State University College of Law
Speaker: Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian, Chicago-Kent College of Law

Number of attendees registered and number that attended: 52 attendees/93 registrants

Grants Committee

Chair: Elaine Knecht

Members: Lee Carnes, Jessica Fields, Meg Kribble, Trish Petitt

Competitive Intelligence Foundations – four $1000 grants for attendance, travel, and accommodations – selection process begun and awards made in Sept 2019 to: Stephen LaFalce (Baker Hostetler), Nicholas Lamb (Cleary Gottlieb), Kamie Oehrle (Dentons), and Sara Sprague (Sprague & Hixson)

Leadership Academy Registration – four $699 grants for registration only – selection process began in November 2019 and awarded in December 2019 to: Whitney Brionez (Holland & Knight), Andre Davison (Blank Rome), Carolyn Ford (Littler), and Karlee VanLaanen (Reinhart Boerner)

AALL Annual Meeting/CONELL/PLLIP-SIS Summit – six Annual Meeting registration and travel grants (max $750 for travel); two CONELL registration grants; ten Summit registration grants – selection process began in March 2020. Awards made (before changes to the Annual Meeting due to COVID) to:

  • Katie Barrett Fuller – previously at McNees Wallace & Nurick in Harrisburg PA
  • Autumn Collier – currently at Littler Mendelson in Kansas City
  • Eugene Giudice – currently at Dentons in Chicago
  • Ronit Barenboim – currently at Borden Ladner Gervais in Vancouver BC
  • Nicole Guerrero – currently  at Holland & Knight in Brandon, FL
  • Megan Moltrup – currently at Baker McKenzie in Washington, DC

The Committee and the Board offered the awardees the opportunity to put the award toward the 2020 virtual meeting or to utilize the grant for the 2021  conference.  Every recipient asked to use  his or her grant at the 2021 Annual Meeting. The Board may decide to make additional grants available next year in addition to those already awarded.

Virtual Annual Meeting and Summit – announcements were made in June 2020 regarding the availability of $99 registration grants for the Annual Meeting, and complimentary Summit registrations for unemployed members. Annual Meeting grants were made to Shivani Naicker (Jackson Walker), Katrina Perez (Faegre Drinker), Amanda Steinbacher (Phillips Lytle), and Mary Catherine Matta (Duane Morris). Summit waivers were also granted to unemployed members.

Membership Committee

Chair: Marie Calvaruso

Members: Blythe McCoy, Katherine Taggart

Membership increased by 80 new members since the 2019 AALL conference.  The committee sent recruitment emails to 54 prospective members and promoted PLLIP during local chapter meetings.

Nominations Committee

Co-Chairs Susana Camargo-Pohl, Julie Pabarja

Members: Blythe McCoy, Marie Calvaruso

The Nominations Committee began their work by identifying active PLLIP-SIS members who should be considered as potential candidates for the PLLIP-SIS Executive Board.  The committee also asked PLLIP-SIS members for their nominations.  We received a good response and the following slate was submitted to the Board:

Vice-Chair/Chair-elect – Marcia Burris and Mark Gediman

Secretary – Allison Reeve Davis and Tanya Livshits

Member-at-Large – Andre Davison and Michelle Trovillo

The committee would like to thank these candidates for their participation in the election.  They all hold strong leadership qualities and would serve well leading PLLIP-SIS.

The candidates were featured on the PLLIP-SIS listserv along with their bio, personal statement, and their thoughts on why being a PLLIP-SIS member was important to them and what challenges in our profession should PLLIP-SIS address today.  This gave the membership the opportunity to learn more about these candidates prior to the election.

The committee coordinated with Cynthia Brown, PLLIP-SIS Secretary, and Chris Siwa at AALL to hold the election.  The election was held on April 1 – April 17.

The election results were:

Vice-Chair/Chair-elect – Marcia Burris
Secretary – Allison Reeve Davis
Member-at-Large – Andre Davison

Summit Committee

Co-Chairs: Christine Sellers Sullivan, Cynthia Brown

Members: Marcia Burris; Abby Dos Santos; Anna Forsher; Lisa Fricker; Janice Henderson; Chris Lange; Alexandra Olson; Christina McKennerney; Janet McKinney; Kevin Miles; Alicia Pappas; Holly Riccio; Jeremy Sullivan; Kathy Taggert; Elizabeth Whitaker

2020 PLLIP Virtual Summit – Transformation 2020: Instrumental Tools for the Future

The 2020 PLLIP Summit moved to a virtual format because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to survey results, the Summit changed formats slightly and moved to Friday, July 10, 2020. Following welcome remarks, Ari Kaplan presented the keynote program. The keynote provided a framework of how law firms are approaching innovation and creative ways that knowledge leaders are redefining their heightened roles to support this transformation. We thank Thomson Reuters for their generous support of this year’s keynote address.

Following a short break, there was a panel of law librarians from various-sized law firms who discussed the ways they have kept their departments moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adaptations they have made along the way. The panel described how outside forces, both anticipated and unforeseen, challenged them to change their thinking, embrace new tools, and come out the other side with newer and better ways of doing things.

Following a second break, there was a program featuring a communication style assessment led by Alycia Sutor, followed by an overview of four unique and colorful styles people display in their work attitudes and behaviors. By learning about the four styles and how to adopt communication approaches to each, participants gained a deeper understanding of their colleagues and co-workers and how to create the conditions to bring the best out of one another. We thank LexisNexis for their generous support of the communications program.

Incoming Board 2020-2021

Chris Laut, Chair
Marcia Burris, Chair-Elect
Allison Reeve Davis, Secretary
Leanna Simon, Treasurer
Caren Luckie, Member-at-Large
Andre Davison, Member-at-Large
Saskia Mehlhorn, Immediate Past Chair