Tag Archives: Conferences

What is Legal Technological Competency?

Several of the sessions I attended at the ABA TechShow worked to define what technological competency is in the legal field (including law schools) or how it’s approached in law firms, including “Tech Competencies: Past, Present & Future”  to “Can Technology Competency Help You Get a Job?

Other sessions in the Academic Track, “Law School Tech Training on a Shoestring” (presented by Joe Mitzenmacher and Debbie Ginsberg) and the “Technology in Law Schools: A Single Course or Curriculum Integration?”  looked at the work librarians are doing to create “legaltech” training programs for law students within the law school curriculum.

Most of all, I was encouraged to see this topic brought enthusiastic speakers and audiences from a range of backgrounds, not just law school librarians but everyone from firm hiring managers to new law students. The presentations were excellent, but so was the ongoing context provided during the Q&A, so I’ve included my live tweets here that to illustrate this broader conversation at the TechShow.

Continue reading What is Legal Technological Competency?

ABA TechShow Legal Trends

Every year the ABA TechShow provides a great way to hear about tech trends in the legal field from practitioners, entrepreneurs, trainers, and journalists.

Tech Trends can include everything from shiny new devices to evolving business models to updated regulations and laws. With these changes come many legal challenges and opportunities.

I’m always interested to hear the types of practical advice and ongoing concerns brought to the TechShow. I’ve highlighted what stood out to me at this year’s show – if you attended and want to share what you took away in the comments, that would be very welcome! Continue reading ABA TechShow Legal Trends

The Role of Libraries in Knowledge Management

In October, I attended the Knowledge Management (KM) in the Legal Profession presented by Ark in New York. Speakers were from a diverse range of law firms and corporate legal departments – diverse in size, geographic location, and practice focus. Attendees likewise represented a cross-section of the private legal industry. While there were many law librarians in attendance, they were outnumbered by those from I.T. departments, knowledge management attorneys, and others in high level positions within their organizations – law firms, corporations, and consulting firms.

As is the case any time you dive into the world of KM, one finds it to be a frustratingly nebulous concept which intertwines throughout an organization’s departments. With that intertwining comes the question of who should be in charge of it? Law firms and corporate legal departments have answered that question in a variety of ways. Many see this as data work and should therefore fall under I.T. Others see it as needing to be led by attorneys. Still others have housed this responsibility with the library – clearly the right place for it! Self-interest aside, the more I learn of knowledge management, the more certain I am that the responsibility and, more importantly, the strategic direction for this rapidly developing area belongs with the library.

Continue reading The Role of Libraries in Knowledge Management

Conference Review: CALIcon 2018

From June 7-8, 2018, thanks to the generosity of the CALL Grants and Chapter Awards Committee, I attended CALIcon 18 at American University Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C.

CALIcon18

In addition to attending several excellent sessions presented by librarians, IT professionals, and law professors, I also presented a session of my own, entitled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bot.” In this column, I will highlight a few observations and experiences from my time at the conference. Continue reading Conference Review: CALIcon 2018

ABA Techshow Review

I recently attended the ABA Techshow in Chicago.  Not only was this my first Techshow, it was my first non-library specific conference as a librarian, and it provided me with a view from the other side of the legal profession, i.e. practicing as opposed to academia. Fortunately, this was also the first year the show had an official Academic Track, which consisted of five sessions over two days. During this time, I not only attended all five (and the keynote by Professor Daniel Katz from Chicago-Kent), but also several other sessions on data security, as well as spoke with many of the vendors. Continue reading ABA Techshow Review

Staying Current Together at the MAALL, LLAW, MichALL, MALL, and CALL Joint Annual Meeting

We presented on the topic of current awareness at the MAALL, LLAW, MichALL, MALL, and CALL Joint Annual Meeting on October 19, 2017. We thought it was important to offer the perspective of a firm, academic, and government librarian to reflect the needs of an audience with diverse constituencies. With the buzz around “fake news,” now more than ever it is important for librarians to discuss the best ways to disseminate information. During our presentation, we discussed the current awareness tools we use to stay current, how we stay organized with the current awareness and prevent becoming overwhelmed with information, and finally how we can collaborate and tap into our professional network to expand information possibilities. Continue reading Staying Current Together at the MAALL, LLAW, MichALL, MALL, and CALL Joint Annual Meeting

Attending ALA

Hello, fellow librarians. I know many of you just attended AALL this past July. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend; however, I was able to attend ALA—the American Library Association conference this past June. It was in Chicago at McCormick Place.

The best part about ALA is if you do not want to attend the entire conference, you can get an exhibit hall pass. The exhibit hall pass cost $75.00 dollars this year, but there was also an opportunity to get a free pass through RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System). The exhibit hall is both amazing and overwhelming. Those of you who have attended before can attest to this. There are authors, illustrators, vendors, presentations, and programs all happening at the same time. Continue reading Attending ALA

Go to ACRL, Practice Self-Care

From March 22-25, 2017, I attended the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Baltimore. I joined the American Library Association (ALA) and ACRL because I wanted access to their teaching resources—including this conference. Like a number of academic librarians, I learned to teach by having to teach. I hoped that this conference would help me improve.

I found ACRL to be wonderfully overwhelming. There were approximately 3500 librarians and 1500 exhibitors and vendors in the Baltimore Convention Center. The atmosphere was one of positive excitement. I was surrounded by academic librarians of all stripes, from African Studies and Arts, to Western European and Women and Gender Studies. And, each of those librarians was excited about their subject and their library.

With the opportunity to attend more than 300 workshops and roundtables in 4 days, the session that I was most eager to attend was the pre-conference workshop “Information Literacy Instruction Transformed.” This workshop focused on Universal Design for Learning, creating lessons that treat variability in learning styles as the norm rather than the exception. Its premise is that when one teaches to specific learning needs, it reduces barriers to learning, engages every student, and improves learning outcomes for all. This workshop has given me ideas on ways to teach for different learning styles and abilities, and how to engage every student in my class.

While I enjoyed all the sessions that I attended, I was overwhelmed by ACRL. There were so many opportunities to learn and so many people. Nearly every session that I attended was overflowing with attendees, especially the keynotes with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden; English professor, author, and cultural critic Roxanne Gay; and British data-journalist David McCandless. But I am glad that I attended the conference because of the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, librarians in other academic fields. I left with ideas for my next class and contacts who have tried them out.

I highly recommend the 2019 ACRL conference in Cleveland or 2021 conference in Seattle for anyone looking to develop and expand their information literacy skills or expand their librarian network. The immediacy of the conference will make you feel as if you have to attend everything, but that is not the case; ACRL records most of its sessions. You can feasibly have alone time while everyone else is in a recorded session and still get access to that information for up to a year with ACRL Virtual Conference access. So, go to ACRL, but practice self-care!

To Baltimore and Beyond: At the Helm with ACRL 2017

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) held its annual conference this past March in Baltimore, Maryland. Unfamiliar with ACRL? They are the largest division of the American Library Association, serving librarians in higher education with the demonstrated mission of advancing scholarship and learning. ACRL provides continuing education, amongst other services, to enable their 11,000 members to be academic leaders. With such state-of-the-art productions as this past conference, it’s no wonder why they chose “At the Helm” as this year’s theme. Continue reading To Baltimore and Beyond: At the Helm with ACRL 2017

Leadership: Developing Executive Presence

Thanks to a generous grant from CALL I was able to attend the 11th annual Women’s Leadership Institute hosted by the Association of College Unions International, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. It was an impressive gathering of women working at colleges and universities all across the country who were interested in pursuing executive leadership positions at their institutions.

The conference began with an empowering keynote from Emilie Aries, CEO of Bossed Up. Aries is a former political organizer who realized at a young age that her frantic work life was not sustainable. She transitioned into a career as a leadership consultant and now advises women on how to establish healthy, long-lasting careers. Her talk at the conference focused on how to prevent burnout. Her initial advice was something that resonated with me and I think is common among librarians who see themselves as service professionals—Ditch the Martyrdom Myth. She urged us to remember that success does not require suffering. Aries reminded us that when traveling on an airplane we are all told to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others, and that is true with our professional and personal lives as well. Acknowledging that we still have bosses and family obligations that may require us to make occasional sacrifices, she advised, “Put yourself first. Not always, but not never.”

Aries keynote was inspiring and provided practical advice on setting achievable goals. You can watch her talk about how to set healthy boundaries and invest in sustainable long-term achievement in her popular TED talk, “The Power of No.” I also recommend following Aries’ column on Forbes.com.

Over the next three days at the conference we heard from a number of remarkable women on topics ranging from navigating organizational politics, building cultural competencies, developing a career strategy, establishing financial well-being, and assertive communication. The last topic was one that set this conference apart from other leadership events. Because the attendees were women seeking leadership roles, several speakers remarked on the struggle women face in being seen as assertive, which is linked to being considered a “high potential” employee, vs. aggressive, which is often a euphemism for being a b****. We discussed that in this country there is a mismatch between conventional female qualities and the qualities that are thought necessary for leadership. One of the most important ways to be perceived as a high potential employee and a leader is to project executive presence, a key theme that popped up in almost every talk.

Throughout the conference several presenters referenced Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s work Executive Presence, which analyzes what it means to have “executive presence”, aka to be seen as a leader. According to Hewlett, having leadership skills alone is not enough. You need to be able to project executive presence because how others perceive you is as important as your actual performance.

But what is executive presence? Hewlett breaks it down into three basic, but not entirely equal, categories: gravitas, communication, and appearance. Gravitas is the most important of the three pillars, but as Hewlett explains, also the most elusive.  It is often described as a “know it when you see it” kind of character. However, through her national study of over 4,000 professionals, Hewlett tried to learn what exactly that means. According to the senior leaders who responded to her study, the most important aspects of gravitas include confidence, decisiveness, integrity, emotional intelligence, reputation, and vision. The book is filled with examples and anecdotes of Fortune 500 leaders both displaying gravitas and the repercussions of failing to do so in times of crisis. It goes on to provide practical advice on how to exude gravitas, such as surrounding yourself with people who are better than you, being generous with credit, and learning that empowering others’ executive presence will build your own.

Having read Hewlett’s Executive Presence upon returning from the conference, I discovered that it reinforced the main themes from the Women’s Leadership Institute, and in turn, I highly recommend it to everyone. I’d also like to recommend some of the other readings from the conference:

The Women’s Leadership Institute was a rewarding experience, and once again, I am grateful to CALL for providing the opportunity to attend the conference.