Annual Report

PLLIP-SIS Annual Report 2017-2018

Board Members

Members of the 2017-2018 Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals – Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS) Board were:

  • Elaine Egan, Chair
  • Diana Koppang, Chair-Elect
  • Mary Ann Wacker, Secretary
  • Julie Pabarja, Treasurer
  • Janet Peros, Member-at-Large
  • Michelle Tolley, Member-at-Large
  • Cameron Gowan, Immediate Past Chair

Committee Chairs

  • Awards: Saskia Mehlhorn and Karen Oesterle
  • Bylaws: Caren Luckie
  • Communications: Andrea Guldalian and Robyn McAllen
  • Education: Jennifer Berman and Jim Senter
  • Annual Meeting Planning Committee: Ronda Fisch and Lucy Curci-Gonzalez
  • Grants: Leanna Simon
  • IP: Sarah Mauldin
  • Membership: John Davey and Magalie Desince
  • Nominations: Susana Camargo-Pohl and JoAnn Hounshell
  • PLLIP Summit: Alicia Pappas and Christina Mckennerney
  • Small and Medium Law Libraries: Sandra Dunbar and Kathy Coon
  • Web Site: Linda-Jean Schneider and Kevin Miles

Strategic Accomplishments

PLLIP-SIS reached out this year to increase our membership. We also focused on outreach to members, with two Town Hall meetings. Quarterly meetings were also held for all Committee Chairs and the Board.

PLLIP Committees and Groups Reports

Grants Committee

Members: Leanna Simon, Chair; Corrine Latham, Emily Gellings, Eugene Guidice

AALL registration/travel

  • Jill Kilgore – Littler Mendelson
  • Morgan Stillo – Holland and Knight

PLLIP Summit

  • Cameron Gowan – Jones Day
  • Liz Whittington – K&L Gates
  • Jill Kilgore – Littler Mendelson
  • Karen Oesterle – NYLI
  • Katie Brown – Charleston


  • Morgan Stillo – Holland and Knight

Legal Marketing Association

  • Kathy Agno – Greenberg Traurig

Leadership Academy

  • Jennifer Baker – Dinsmore & Shohl
  • Laurel Evans – Lane Powell
  • Tatyana Livshits – Irell & Manella
  • Allison Reeve – Littler Mendelson

Competitive Intelligence Foundations

  • Christine Sellers – Nelson Mullins
  • Nuchine Nobari – Nutter McClennen & Fish

Awards Committee

Members: Saskia Mehlhorn and Karen Osterle, Co-Chairs; Leanna Simon, Carla Evans, JoAnn Hounshell


  • Distinguished Librarian – Steve Lastres
  • Innovative Professional of the Year – Katherine Lowry
  • Best Blogger/Writer of the Year – Harris County Law Library
  • Hall of Fame – Martha Goldman and Cindy Spohr
  • Advocate of the Year –June Liebert
  • Emerging Leader – Leanna Simon
  • Service to PLLIP – Kevin Miles
  • Vendor/Outside Champion – Chuck Lowry

Annual Meeting Planning Committee

Members: Ronda Fisch, Lucy Curci-Gonzalez, Co-Chairs

No report.

Bylaws Committee

Members: Caren Luckie, Chair; Carla Evans, Johanna Bizub, Jennifer Dollar

The Bylaws Committee had a quiet year with no changes to the PLLIP bylaws.

Communications Committee

Members: Andrea Guldalian, Co-Chair, Robyn McAllen-Co-Chair; Julie Jones, Shari Berkowitz Duff, Kristin Hallows, Linda-Jean Schneider, Kevin Miles

The PLLIP Communications Committee worked in conjunction with the PLLIP Board and the Elevation Task Force to rebrand the On Firmer Ground blog, and to generate more posts specifically aimed at the C-suite and an external audience. Submitted posts were vetted to make sure they were on message and conveyed the value of law firm librarians and information professionals. The Committee also did some housekeeping on the site, such as cleaning up outdated information, resetting logins, and removing advertisements. For internal news, we have been working on gathering PLLIP member news and articles on a regular basis, and compiling a monthly newsletter for posting on My Communities. We are standardizing our procedures so we can get this out on a timely basis, and are trying to cast as wide a net as possible to capture any news, announcements, and events of interest to our members. We have also been exploring other options as to how we can keep our members informed, and how we can illustrate our members’ value to the broader legal community.

Education and Professional Development Committee

Co-Chairs: Jennifer Berman and Jim Senter. Members: Marcia Burris, Lucy Curci-Gonzalez, Dina Dreifuerst, Ronda Fisch, Eugene Guidice, Kumar Jayasuriya, Zachary Kerns, Sarah Mauldin, Saskia Mehlhorn, Abigail Ross, Bryan Troyan. Board Liaison: Michelle Tolley

The PLLIP Education and Professional Development Committee reports another productive year. We hosted four webinars and have two more confirmed for late summer/early fall, with several potential webinars in the works for next year. Thanks to AALL for making it possible for us to switch from our own webinar service to the AALL master account, and to committee members Sarah Mauldin and Brian Troyan for their savvy technological skills in making it all happen. The committee will meet on Monday, July 16th in Baltimore.

Attendance at 2017-2018 webinars:

Kicking the Tires; AI Tools You Can Try, October 24, 2017

Moderated by Eugene Giudice (Dentons). Panelists were Ed Walters (Fastcase) and Brian Kuhn (IBM Watson)

Registered: 134
Attended: 97

Membership Has Its Privileges – Is it Time to Join a Membership Law Library?, November 2, 2017

Moderated by Lucy Curci-Gonzalez (New York Law Institute). Panelists were Monice Kaczorowski (FEIT Consulting), John Adkins (San Diego County Public Law Library), and Sarah Mauldin (Smith, Gambrell & Russell).

Registered: 40
Attended: 27

Transitions: A Life’s Journey, April 24, 2018

Moderated by Eugene Giudice. Panelists were Ruth Bridges (Avivia Travel Group), Gitelle Seer (HBR Consulting), Jocelyn Sagherian (Fordham University School of Law), and Joanne C. Kiley (HBR Consulting)

Registered: 115
Attended: 88

Deep Web, Dark Web, Dark Net? What does it all mean? May 15, 2018

Speaker was Michael McAndrews (WGM Associates)

Registered: 182
Attended: 125

IP Committee

No report.

Membership Committee

Members: John Davey and Magalie Desince, Co-Chairs


  • Sent welcome emails to new members (29)
  • Sent recruitment emails to new AALL members who fit our profile (22)
  • Utilize AALL “Member-Get-A-Member” program to incentivize new membership
  • Created and purchased PLLIP buttons for the AALL Conference in Baltimore to promote new members

Nominations Committee

Members: JoAnn Hounshell and Sue Camargo-Pohl, Co-Chairs; Margaret Bartlett, Jean O’Grady, and John Klasey

August: Co-chairs JoAnn and Sue emailed with each other, the PLLIP chair, former Committee Chair, and Board Liaison in mid-August to make sure we were clear on our responsibilities and timelines. Co-chairs had a call with each other on August 23rd to do the same and to get a loose plan for the year. A committee meeting was planned for September 7th for the full committee where we reviewed the committee’s charge and discussed the positions available in the upcoming election.

September: Co-chairs discussed the responsibilities and timelines with the full committee on a conference call on September 7th.

September – December: members emailed co-chairs as they thought of good candidates that might be contacted. Names were added as they came in to the spreadsheet we inherited entitled “PLL Nominations Possible Candidates Master Document – working spreadsheet”

January: co-chairs had a call to discuss status and then a note was sent to the committee members soliciting final nominations. We shared the spreadsheet with the committee to see where we stood. We also sent a note to the entire PLLIP membership soliciting suggestions for the PLLIP board. The note went out on January 29th and we asked for suggestions by February 13th. Several names came in as a result of the email. Most of the committee activities, along with identifying candidates, took place over email communication.

We were provided a timeline on January 30th with the following dates:

  • Election: April 9-20
  • Announce winners April 23 (if we have been able to notify the people who did not win)
  • March 9: Announce slate to membership
  • March 19: Add candidates’ photos and bios to site
  • March 28: Send note to members regarding upcoming election

Once all nominations were received, candidates were selected for available positions and the list divided and we began contacting the potential candidates. After several candidates were contacted (many not interested in running this year) we were able to present a slate to the Board on February 26th:

  • Vice Chair / Chair Elect: Saskia Mehlhorn and Nancy Scibelli Bouthilet
  • Secretary: Becky Bowman and Cynthia Brown
  • Member at large: Lindsey Carpino and Jeremy Sullivan

The candidates were contacted on March 9th and asked to provide a photograph, along with a bio, and a brief statement for the PLLIP election.

The slate was approved and presented to the membership. Election was held the first two weeks of April. The election results were as follows:

  • Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect: Saskia Mehlhorn
  • Secretary: Cynthia Brown
  • Member-At-Large: Jeremy Sullivan

Summit Committee

Members: Alicia Pappas and Christina McKennerney, Co-Chairs; Cynthia Brown, Marcia Burris, Abby Dos Santos, Anna Forsher, Janice Henderson, Chris Laut, Janet Peros, Jeremy Sullivan, Christine Sellers

2018 Summit – Being the Change – The Power of Process

Friday, July 13

Opening Reception

Saturday, July 14

Welcome Remarks from Alicia Pappas and Christina McKennerney

Keynote Address from Catherine McDonagh, Legal Lean Sigma Institute

Catherine Alman MacDonagh will share how continuous improvement is transforming the legal profession and the people in it. She will explore how Lean, Six Sigma, and Project Management provide frameworks and tools for collaboration and innovation. Her thought-provoking discussion will challenge us to consider the current and potential opportunities for legal librarians and knowledge workers presented by this rapidly changing area. Drawing from case studies and personal experience, Catherine will share her thoughts on our roles, responsibilities, and how we can “be the change.”

Lean for Law Librarians, Shaunna Mireau, Field Law

Librarians are always under pressure to do more with less while remaining deeply relevant to our stakeholders. How can we achieve “better, faster, AND cheaper” while maintaining high quality services? Shaunna Mireau will use the lens of Lean Six Sigma to examine how the library can build better, faster, and cheaper solutions that will also delight our clients.


From Start to Finish: Getting Your Project Management Game On, Panelists: Katherine Lowry, Megan Von Behren, Sandra Dunbar; Moderator: Elaine Egan

All projects great and small have a start and a finish. But how do you get from the beginning to the end while measuring and demonstrating value to your stakeholders? Three law firm librarians will discuss how they formally navigated a recent project they undertook. Each panelist will explain their process (Agile, Lean, Six Sigma, Waterfall, or other) and how they applied it in their unique environment (from small to AmLaw 100 firms). They will address such topics as using a project budget, communicating with stakeholders, navigating issues that arise during the course of a project, and lessons learned. Attendees will receive a takeaway that will enable navigation of their own projects.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions (choose one): The Power of Process in Action, Catherine McDonagh or Legal Project Management; Enhancing the Delivery of Legal Services, Leslie Brown

Power of Process in Action: This afternoon program provides an opportunity for attendees to collaborate in a workshop setting. Participants will select a specific process that is of interest and then apply the concepts of tools of Lean Sigma to their process. The approach will be to gain an introduction to concepts and tools of process improvement, then engage in experiential learning so that participants have a chance to apply them in a context that is highly relevant and immediately useful.

Legal Project Management: The legal market continues to put pressure on firms to find ways to be more efficient and reduce costs, while maintaining quality. One such way is through Legal Project Management; but what is it and how can librarians use it to enhance the delivery of legal services? This interactive, hands-on session will provide an introduction to Legal Project Management and the critical role of law librarians in supporting its application in law firms and legal departments. Come with your thoughts and questions and leave with the tools and techniques to support a project management mindset at your firm

Small and Medium Law Libraries

Members: Kathy Coon and Sandra Dunbar, Co-Chairs

A dozen members of the Small and Medium Law Libraries group met at AALL in Austin to compare notes and share experiences. The Co-Chairs participated in the PLLIP-SIS Annual Town Hall and the PLLIP Committee Chair(s) Quarterly Update. The Small & Medium Libraries “My Communities” Discussion Board had very little activity this year and we are proposing that it be merged into the general PLLIP Community Board. At our upcoming meeting in Baltimore, we will be discussing our goals and recruiting interested members for a transition to new leadership for this important support group.

Website Committee

Members: Linda Jean Schneider and Kevin Miles, co-Chairs; Lillie Murphy, Brittany Kolonay, Michelle Dewey.

Linda-Jean Schneider and Kevin Miles continued their responsibilities as webmasters, with Julie Pabarja as the Board liaison.

  • The Team monitored and posted the more important updates and events of the PLLIP membership year on the site through the third quarter of 2017. These were mostly items first reported on the My Communities site, while some were received directly from the PLLIP Committee Chairs/Members. As a result of the migration to a new AALLnet platform at the very end of the year, the webmasters now function primarily as Content Managers for the site.
  • In November 2017, in response to excellent feedback from a site review by Elaine Egan, Diana Koppang and Mary Ann Wacker of the Board, the co-Chairs cleaned up what they could to ensure consistency and accuracy of the site content. However, Chris Siwa from AALL advised making no formatting changes as the AALLnet platform migration was occurring at that exact time. He also informed the webmasters that although their “expertise with your Sis’s content is still needed,” they would no longer have direct access to the CMS to make changes to the site. The SIS Webmasters are encouraged to continue to identify content updates and to forward them to AALL for updating, “to ensure your SIS’s content falls in line with AALL’s new brand…” which “will enable us to establish and maintain a unified brand identity to communicate to our members, our stakeholders, and the public in a cohesive and compelling manner.” Chris also mentioned the advantages of consistency with tagging content, and the security enhancement facilitated by limiting the number of individuals with access to the CMS.
  • The migration took place over several weeks in January, and went live in early February. Via a webex call in May, Chris Siwa, Kevin, Linda-Jean, Diana, Elaine and Mary Ann reviewed the current site and requested some changes to be made. Diana K. suggested using Dropbox to serve as an archive, and she and Elaine moved to task the Secretary to maintain that content—including old Board Minutes and old e-Newsletters. By June 8, 2018, all required content from the old site was identified and re-located elsewhere on the new site.
  • The webmasters participate in regularly-scheduled calls as part of the Communications Committee, and also on the quarterly calls organized by the PLLIP Board.
  • Linda-Jean Schneider will report to the Membership at the Annual Meeting in Baltimore on the status of progress made to enhance the website, as a result of the Association re-branding and alignment effort.
  • Incoming PLLIP Chair Diana Koppang has asked for volunteers who are interested in serving on the web team.

Incoming Board for 2018-2019

  • Diana Koppang, Chair
  • Saskia Mehlhorn, Chair-Elect
  • Cynthia Brown, Secretary
  • Julie Pabarja, Treasurer
  • Janet Peros, Member-at-Large
  • Jeremy Sullivan, Member-at-Large
  • Elaine Egan, Immediate Past Chair