Philadelphia City Hall

CALL Grantee Report from Carolyn Hersch

As a recipient of CALL’s grant to the annual conference, I attended the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in Philadelphia. Although I am not a complete conference novice, having previously attended Special Libraries Association (SLA) conferences in 2012 and 2013, this was my first time at AALL.

I went to the Private Law Library and Information Professional (PLLIP) Summit, held on the Saturday before the conference officially kicked off. The summit consisted of an Innovation Tournament, led by Karl T. Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation at Philadelphia’s Wharton School  of  the University of Pennsylvania, and co-author of Innovation Tournaments: Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities.

Attendees broke out into small groups, and came up with an innovative idea to answer the question “What new information products or services (deliverables) can librarians provide to strengthen their firm’s relationship with current or prospective clients?” All of the ideas were shared, and then all the attendees could vote for four of their favorites. My group’s innovative idea was called “MyCase,” geared towards facilitating the process of getting documents from clients for ongoing case matters. It did not win the tournament, but it did earn 13 votes.

Afterwards, there was a discussion on how to come up with innovative ideas, the trajectory of innovation, and the painful process of coming up with ideas which actually have merit. Following this were presentations from different speakers on the innovative ideas that were implemented at their firms.

Photo of Carolyn Hersch
Carolyn Hersch
Photo of MyCase

As an incoming member of AALL’s Copyright Committee, I was able to attend the committee meeting, as well as meet with David Mao, the Law Librarian of Congress. He filled both the Copyright Committee and Government Relations Committee in on the happenings of Congress with respect to both copyright issues as well as other issues of importance to AALL members.

The keynote address was delivered by NPR’s Terry Gross. It was an excellent speech where she discussed various people she’d interviewed over the years. Although she had many memorable points within her speech, she indicated at one point that she depended on NPR’s research librarians to assist her with research to appropriately prep her for her interviews.

As a first time attendee, I wanted to really maximize my experience, and I tried to take advantage of everything offered to first timers outside of CONELL. I participated in the AALL Annual Meeting Host Program, which matched me up with Cameron Gowan, the Library Services Manager at Jones Day. It was a really excellent match, and she showed me the ropes of the conference. We sat together at various programs, and she was very helpful in introducing me to people.

One of the challenges of choosing programs to attend was that I wanted to check out everything! I went to numerous sessions on competitive intelligence and how to advance CI within our own workplaces. Our CALL colleague (and my boss), Diana Koppang, presented “Best Practices for Client Ready Deliverables,” where I was used as an example of how to do things, and how not to do things, when creating materials which are ultimately sent on to clients.

One of my favorite programs also involved CALL members Debbie Ginsberg and Emily Barney, who presented “In the Wake of the Kia Audit: Training Law Students and Lawyers on Legal Technology Skills.” Many of the points that they touched on were points I’ve heard before, but were very accessible and remain relevant.

Photo of Emily Barney and Debbie Ginsberg (with two others)
Emily Barney and Debbie Ginsberg

I volunteered for two shifts at the Local Arrangements Booth. The excitement that non-Chicago-based AALL members had regarding the 2016 conference was palpable. All in all, this was an excellent conference which only makes me more excited for next year!