The Law Library Job Market

For those of us soon-to-be library school graduates, we are in the process of starting our careers and finding our first jobs. As a soon-to-be graduate myself, I wanted to find out more about the current status of the law library job market.

In order to do so, I interviewed both Roy Brooks, Career Specialist/Practicum Coordinator at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and Paul D. Healey, Senior Instructional Services Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Service at the University of Illinois College of Law.

LC: How would you say the library job market looks for future law librarians?  

RB: From my vantage point, the market has certainly improved. Job searching is never easy, but those who have a bit of flexibility fare well.

PH: I really only follow the academic branch of the law library job market, but that part looks good. It is at least steady at this point, and has been through the recent recession. Because of their teaching and specialized research roles I don’t think law schools are likely to drastically cut back on law librarians in the future.

LC: How soon after graduation would you say law library students secure employment?

RB: It’s a spectrum. We have students who have accepted employment offers well before graduation and we have students who will have a more extended job search. Geographic flexibility is often the major factor in determining duration of the job search. Those who are able to relocate for their first job out of grad school have many more options.

PH: The students we work with have all been employed within two to three months of graduations.

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LC: Anything special about the law library job market new graduates should know?

PH: The academic law librarian market does require geographic flexibility.  There are jobs, but the hiring pool is national. Also moving up within the profession will also require moving around. Things might be a bit tighter for law librarians who need to remain in one place.

Thus, students who are willing and able to relocate will allow themselves more opportunities. Nonetheless, while the future of librarianship is evolving, it still remains hopeful if newcomers are willing to be flexible and adapt to what the future holds! As I begin my last course in library school this summer, I am confident that law librarianship is the right career path for me. I look forward to growing and continuing to meet the needs of our users no matter what those needs might be in the future!