by Kate Stockert, MLIS
On April 13th five representatives from the Law Librarians of Puget Sound (LLOPS) visited the UW for a panel that drew students from the iSchool and the law school. These law librarians elicited such enthusiasm that iSchool distance students requested a recording of the session (check for details on accessing this recording on the iSchool listservs).
The panel participants provided a breadth of experience and a wealth of knowledge, describing the skills and expertise necessary for work in a law library. They told stories about judges sending electronic information requests from the bench and the librarian rushing documents into the court house in a furtive manner. They emphasized the complex needs of legal professionals and generally offered great insight into the law library.
The LLOPS panel members mentioned the variety of roles in law librarianship and the myriad of organizational environments in which the librarian can apply his or her information skills. It was interesting to hear about the sophistication of reference service requests and how the complexity of questions has increased with the advent of the Internet. Participants explained how the law library has worked to adapt to this change by offering a high-end level of service.
The law librarians’ demonstrated their resourcefulness by sharing new services offered by the law library such as keeping track of the law firm’s clients and litigation cases and informing the managing attorneys, to providing US Courts judges with a valuable daily newsletter to keep them apprised of developments in the courts throughout the US and World. Law firm librarians spoke about the firm library’s patrons, which includes attorneys and a plethora of practice areas of law, and the departments of public relations, business development, and human relations, providing a window into the law library’s dynamic environment and variety of information requests.
Students left the panel satisfied in knowing about a new and exciting career path, empowered with ideas as to what the profession entails and how they can pursue work in the law library.
A big thank you to Nancy Noble, Rita Kaiser, Tim Sheehy, Robyn Hagle, and Mary Hotchkiss for sharing your knowledge, experiences, and enthusiasm for the field of law librarianship.