On October 22, 2015, Lindsey Carpino and Annie Mentkowski presented “Everything’s Up to Date: Preparing Practice-Ready Law Students.” (The inaugural CALL “What’s Buzzin’?” brown bag event functioned as the dress rehearsal for their MAALL 2015 presentation – if interested, the summary of the notes are here). The MAALL presentation can be viewed in its entirety here.
The structure of the MAALL program allowed for the presenters and attendees to foster a dialogue about the research skills and abilities librarians observe on a day-to-day basis when interacting with newly licensed attorneys. The session included a great mix of firm, government, and academic librarians, and at least one research vendor representative.
The format of the presentation was a hybrid between a roundtable discussion, a large group discussion, and a panel discussion where Annie and Lindsey shared their personal experiences and observations. At the outset, attendees were divided into 5 focus groups. Each group was assigned a topic and given discussion questions to drive the small conversation (see the questions here).
The topics were:
- Research 2.0
- Professional Skills.
Each group was asked to write their ideas on a large piece of paper, and assign a group spokesperson. At the conclusion of the small group discussion, each group posted their ideas on the front wall of the conference room, and shared their ideas with the larger group. After each group shared, the floor was opened for input from other attendees. Then, Annie and Lindsey shared their own thoughts with the group to expand the discussion (See the handout here).
At the conclusion of the presentation, the overall takeaway was that conferences, programs, and simple get-togethers are excellent ways for the law librarian community to better collaborate and communicate with each other.
Pictures of each group’s ideas are seen below:
The following is a brief summary of some of the great takeaways from each individual topic:
Academic librarians teach their students how to bill through tools like Clio. Clio is a practice management software that you can try for free. Learn more about Clio here.
Students and new attorneys need to recoginize when to ask for help with technology and that is is “ok” if they do not know everything. They need to trust and understand the power of resources and understand the importance of technology security. This small group talked about assessment techniques such as the KIA audit (for more information, click here) and the LTC4 audit (for more information, click here) (focused on law firms and companies) as a means of measuring technology competencies.
This group shared with each other the resources that academic and firm librarians use. This group also discussed how law students should be comfortable with performing cost effective legal research.
Resources used in Law Firms: Docket tools (PACER, Court Link, Court Wire), securities (Intelligize, Securities Mosaic), intellectual property, people/public records (Accurint), tax, and other specialties.
Resources used in Law Schools: Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg, CCH, Checkpoint, ProQuest, BNA, HeinOnline, EBSCO, JSTOR, Practical Law, E-Books (Westlaw & Lexis), Clio, free sources used for legislative history, law reviews, and Google Scholar.
Law students should start to become comfortable using the catalog and using citators (like KeyCite, Shepard’s, and BCite). They should truly learn how to analyze their research results and be able to determine what is relevant and start building a context around their search. Once they begin this process, they will better understand the law and how these research pieces fit together.
Students should learn how to manage their time, communicate, and use etiquette when speaking with professionals and sending emails. They should learn when to ask for help and get comfortable asking. And they should also become comfortable with thinking on their feet.