In January, Susane (Sue) Yesnick retired from Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath (previously Drinker Biddle & Reath) after 24 years. Retiring as a Senior Research Librarian, Sue started her career at Honigman LLP in Detroit, then spending several years in corporate and business libraries, including the Marketing and Strategy Library at Kraft Foods. The CALL Bulletin interviewed Sue upon her retirement to ask her about her experiences and find out what CALL meant to her.
Why did you decide to choose a career in law librarianship?
Law librarianship was a lucky break – actually, a couple of times. I wanted to be a newspaper librarian. My internship during my MSLS was at the Detroit Free Press information center. But at graduation there were no newspaper or magazine library openings. I saw a placement opening on the job board of the MSLS program at Wayne State for a beginning law library reference position at Honigman LLP in Detroit. I had taken several social science and government documents reference classes, so I applied. I took a Legal Research class after I got the position.
After a few years, I moved cities and positions, and was in Marketing & Strategy business libraries for many years, including at Kraft Foods. Shortly after the Kraft Foods position ended, one of the Kraft Foods external competitive intelligence researchers knew of a library research position at the-then Gardner Carton & Douglas. (Gardner Carton & Douglas merged with Drinker Biddle & Reath in 2007).
As we know, law librarianship is not confined to purely “legal” sources and research. Law librarianship was a great experience to blend my business, government, and legal research skills. I have had great Directors and colleagues, and appreciate their support and friendship.
What about librarianship changed the most during your career? Conversely, what about librarianship stayed the same during your career?
The common responses for what changed the most in librarianship are the speed at which information is now available, the ever-growing choices of resources, and the sheer sizes of large firms.
What I think has stayed the same is the importance of the trust relationship between internal and external “clients”. Whether research took several days to receive in the mail, or within an hour from now-online resource, internal and external clients have to trust that the researcher is knowledgeable and acting faithfully to pursue the research, and the researcher always has to manage expectations.
What made you decide to join CALL and how has CALL helped you throughout your career?
I have consistently belonged to law library or special library organizations throughout my career. CALL has been a great avenue for education, and for sharing of the law firm changes many of us encountered. Years ago I also occasionally presented at CALL panels or wrote for the CALL Bulletin, and they were also good opportunities for shared experiences.
What will you miss most about being a librarian?
I most miss that now when I see an article on a topic I know one of my attorneys was deeply interested in, not being able to share the information. Even with the news gathering resources firms have now, sometimes the breaking or significant news gets buried. I miss being on the cutting-edge of new developments. I miss the “hunt” for the research, but I do not miss writing memos.
What is one piece of advice you want to share with your fellow CALL members?
Mostly because of events in my life over the past few years, I have been recently been part of a number of conversations about the importance of Gratitude. Even for small things. For my career, and for the relationships I have because of that career, I am very grateful.