I’ve never been afraid to tell you things that I should have know, but didn’t. Here’s just one more example of something that I should have been doing, but wasn’t. While at the AALL conference in Denver, I walked into the exhibit hall one morning, made that automatic left-hand turn to the BNA coffee and donut section (thank you, thank you, BNA!!), and sat down with a couple of academic law librarians that I’d never met before. Turns out that one of them was from Wake Forest and (after I had a couple sips of coffee) that triggered a memory. I had a Summer Associate from that school currently at my firm. Aha!! This was at least a conversation starter, so I mentioned it to the librarian and she immediately knew the name of the Summer Associate I was talking about.
I had never thought about this opportunity before, but I think I’m going to start doing something a little differently when preparing for these law library conferences. I’m going to start contacting the law librarians at the schools that my firm’s Summer Associates are attending to see who will be attending the conference that year. Perhaps we could meet up and discuss what we could both do to help the student succeed when he or she is ready to come back as an Associate next year. Simple things like identifying journals that we commonly route to the practice group could help keep the law student up to date on issues that others within their potential practice group are reading. Not only could it help the student, but it may also help the librarians by exposing each of them to materials they may not have currently in their own collections.
We law firm librarians tend to complain that law schools don’t prepare students for the realities of law firm life. Maybe here is an opportunity to give pointed suggestions to the law school’s librarians on how to assist specific students to be better prepared for the transition. At the very least, it gives us one more opportunity to network with others in our field.