Tomorrow is the deadline for early bird, discounted registration for the upcoming P3 Conference. The Conference, on Pricing, Practice Innovation and Project Management, will be a unique experience for those interested in these topics. 

The Conference was designed around the goals of the Client Value Shared Interest Group of the LMA. These goals are: 1) professional development for those serving in pricing and project management roles, 2) developing a knowledge base of best practices, and 3) driving the development of products and services suited for the new, emerging needs of firms and clients.
To #1 – the Conference will have advanced content on the subjects involving top experts from each field. For #2 – there will be sessions talking about best practices related to each topic and finally for #3, providers will be talking about their new offerings and soliciting input for future development from conference participants.
To see the full Conference schedule with topics and confirmed speakers, check out the website. You can also secure discounted hotel lodging there.
Registrations are coming in fast. So secure your spot now, and save a few bucks with the early bird rate.
See you there!

2013 Conference LogoThe Canadian Association of Law Libraries is holding their
annual National Conference May 5th to 8th in beautiful
Montreal. The conference theme is: Librarian:
a multi-faceted professional
, which was inspired not only by the current
demands of our profession, but also by the city of Montreal.

I will be attending the Conference as the representative of
the Special Libraries Association Legal Division, and I couldn’t be more
excited. This is a fabulous opportunity to network with colleagues and friends,
learn from all the fabulous educational sessions and explore a beautiful city.
I wanted to take a quick moment to highlight a few sessions I’m planning to
attend and provide the Twitter information (#callacbd2013) in case you want to
follow the discussion and/or comment.

Date & Time (Eastern)
Session Name
Monday May 6, 2013 @ 9:00 a.m.
Plenary Session: Thriving on Chaos (Winds of Change:
The Future of Law Librarians)
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 9:00 a.m.
Librarians Under Pressure: Stress Management Secrets Shared
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 3:30 p.m.
Librarians as Innovators
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 9:00 a.m.
Plenary Session: Land of Confusion: EBooks’ License Negotiation
Demystified

 

Colleen Cable is a Library Consultant for Profit Recovery Partners bringing the “consultant angle” to Three Geeks.

A couple weeks ago, Michael Robak guest blogged about his experience on Why ReInvent Law Was Not Just a ‘Preaching to the Choir’ Conference. There was, and still is, a lot of discussion on this Silicon Valley conference, both with the presentation model, and the content. Now you can see for yourself what all the buzz is about. The ReInvent Law Channel now has many of the six and twelve minute videos available for you to watch for free. Here are a couple of my favorites on the concepts of visualizing law (Joe Kelly), and who owns the law (Ed Walters.)

[Ed. Note: I had a great email conversation with my friend, Michael Robak, Associate Director of the Law Library and Director of Technologies at UMKC School of Law and all-around geek like me, about the Reinvent Law Silicon Valley 2013 conference. Long story short, I bluntly mentioned to Michael that the twitter feed was so full of the usual buzz words, and the usual suspects preaching to the usual choir that’s been going on for the last four to five years. Michael’s response was very thoughtful when he, and I’m paraphrasing here, said “Greg, you are stupid.” Well, if I had tried to rewrite his response, that’s all I would have remembered, so I asked him to guest post and elaborate on what he found valuable. So, thank you Michael for taking me up on the offer. -GL]

I attended the March 8, 2013 Reinvent Law Silicon Valley 2013 conference held at the Computer History Museum.  Once the conference started, I realized that my good friend, and premier Geek, Greg Lambert, was absent.  After the event, I could not resist sending Greg a note asking why he missed, what I thought, was one of the best events I’ve attended about the changes in the legal profession and  needed changes in both the profession and legal education.
Greg immediately responded, because I swear he is the model for some of William Gibson’s cyber protagonists, that he had followed the conference twitter feed and thought it seemed one of those events where it was kind of just preaching to the choir, and then the choir folks get all excited, and then….nothing would come of it…  And, to this, I responded that Greg…was wrong…. this was not one of those events.  What follows is a cleaned up version of that response: (in which I leave out references to certain past and future events which may, or may not, involve… good scotch, gin, wine, or other such things)…
Greg,
Sorry you missed ReInvent Law Silicon Valley 2013.  You raise good points about this appearing to be an event where the faithful speak to each other, shout hallelujah, and then…nothing happens.
But I really must disagree.  Dan Katz  and Renee Newman Knake, along with Dean Joan Howarth of Michigan State University College of Law are, in my humble opinion, leading some game changing stuff. Have you had a chance to talk to Dan and Renee?   Dan and I share an Illinois connection, the late Larry Ribstein, whose work in the area has been incredibly influential to Dan and others.  I have been an ardent follower of Dan’s blog, Computational Legal Studies, and admire his works generally.   When I came to the University of Missouri – Kansas City from Illinois, I wanted, on some level, to create a niche like Dan had, but with a slightly different emphasis, from a 21st century librarian’s perspective. At last year’s ABA Tech show I connected with Dan and we had a great talk about how only a handful of law schools get this stuff.  And, as I told Dan, I am fortunate because my Dean, Ellen Suni, is one of that handful (and Bill Henderson will affirm!).  Plus, she understands my pitch about librarians as COO’s of Information for the Law School Enterprise.  And this is good stuff actually, very much “blue ocean” material.
I think what made this event different is that it brought clarity for a way forward for both legal education and for law. In my view, there is still confusion about how we discuss the “technology of law” and what it means exactly.. especially when you throw in legal research and associated tools.  And, it becomes even more confusing, when you throw in the whole discussion of Rule 5.4 as an inhibitor to the delivery of access to justice. 
This event had wholly new kinds of conversations about educating and practicing.  You are right on some level, there were people there who were reinforcing each other’s views,  but Aric Press was there and not someone I think of as necessarily part of that group. He tweeted about the vibe in the room and only 5 people wearing ties……I was one of the five and so had to seek him out and ask if that made me to cool, or counter cool, or …  I will say he was kind in his response…
Having said that, and speaking as a Law Librarian who sees a much bigger and important role for Law Librarians in both legal education and law practice,  this conference was huge.  Richard Susskind was our AALL keynote last year and that was awesome.  He outlined things we librarians can and should be doing to be not just relevant to the places we work but to actually take the lead in the changes happening in the legal ecosystem.  This conference completely underscored that and, to me, made it even clearer that we law librarians have a mega opportunity, to be at the center.

I think Marc Lauritsen and Oliver Goodenough’s book (Educating the Digital Lawyer, and free from LexisNexis) is a start, as is Susskind, but I have a different view on how law schools can move forward. Ken Hirsh is close with his course on teaching technology, but what I will have in place at UMKC in Spring 2014 is much more in line with Jerome Frank’s expression of experiential learning in “Why not a clinical lawyer school?” in his seminal article by that name.  But mine is “Why not have legal information professionals teach how to use technology in practice?”  (not quite as pithy, but I’m working on it…)

All I’m saying here dude is, I think there is a real opportunity for us (law librarians) to be at the forefront on shaping real change to both legal education and law practice. The twitter feed was ok but there was a palpable energy in the room relative to the potential opportunities, and not just folks coming together to sing amazing grace.  But my real take away here is that the “technology of law” is law librarian space.  It follows completely Thomson “re-branding” Westlaw to be Legal Solutions.  As Joe Hodnicki has declared (and, yes Joe, you owe me a drink in Seattle), it is all about Legal Research Plus.. and the plus is the “technology of law”.

Thanks for your update and congrats on the new job! We do need to meet at ABA Tech and talk, there are changes a coming and I think AALL and SLA folks really don’t understand. Actually it was Kingsley Martin’s talk that made it most clear why things haven’t happened with technology yet because of the need for machines to catch up. He had a great talk.

Look forward to seeing you in Chicago!!

Michael
Post script to the original email:
Have you heard about LegalForce (formerly Trademarkia) and their store front operation in Palo Alto? I had a chance to visit on Saturday, March 9, 2013 and  man, oh man, it is amazing.  A bookstore, a DIY law place, a place you can compare tablets (since, according to Calvin, the “legal concierge” who gave me a tour, LegalForce believes legal content will be delivered on these platforms, so why not try and compare).  All they need is a coffee bar.
Aric Press has written a terrific review of the event.
Bill Henderson, whose talk at Reinvent Law was amazing, has a terrific post.

The week of October 22nd has a couple of excellent conference opportunities for the legal community. Both of these will have great content on adapting to change for the legal professions.

KM in the Legal Profession – Runs on the 24th and 25th in NY and is produced by the Ark-group.

Strangely, I will be leading off this program and moderating the first day. I say ‘strangely’ since I do not seem a logical choice to be talking about and promoting KM in law firms. When asked to participate, I suggested I might not be a good choice. My views on traditional law firm KM can be, at times, unpopular within the KM community. When I speak of KM, I usually preface my remarks with something like “Does enterprise search keep your Managing Partner up at night?” The obvious answer is no, suggesting KM has been playing too far from the bottom line.

As a consequence of my participation, the conference is focusing more on how KM can be tied to the bottom line – where it should be. Find out more about this conference, here.

The COLPM Futures Conference – Runs the 26th and 27th in D.C.

The College of Law Practice Management (COLPM) established this annual conference to focus on cutting edge challenges for legal professionals. As usual the program includes an impressive list of speakers (except me of course) and topics. As well the 2012 InnovAction Awards will be presented. To find out more about this conference and to register, go here.

Both of these will be excellent opportunities to learn more and get great ideas for managing the dynamic changes in the legal market. If you make either of these, make sure you say hi.

Image [cc] Ben Fredericson

Quoting fictional movie character, Peter Parker, aka Spiderman (although in some revised form it is likely attributable to a real person), “with great power comes great responsibility”, one must always remember to recognize that as bloggers the words we pen carry great power, and the need to be very responsible is of paramount importance! Indeed, it is necessary to be certain to pen words based on facts and excellent research not on emotion and poorly formulated snap judgments. For in not doing so, misinformation is disseminated and potential harm and hurt may land upon individuals caught in the crossfire of an issue.

That said having circled back and more thoroughly researched the issue of the new AALL model for choosing the annual meeting programs and its potential impact on annual meeting programming in general, SIS sponsored programs and the wonderful PLL Summit that was created several years ago and is now going into hopefully its fourth year, albeit, possibly in a slightly different form, I pen my rethought musings on this very important issue facing AALL members.

To that end, I researched three questions which were of interest to me and also seemed to be of great concern to my fellow AALL members regarding the changes coming to the annual meeting and by default the fate of the PLL Summit.

Question 1:  Is it the intention of AALL to bring the currently independent type model of the PLL Summit into the fold of the larger AALL Annual meeting? 

Answer:  The short answer is not exactly and it remains to be seen exactly what form the PLL Summit will actually take in 2013 and thereafter. As AALL President Jean Wenger wrote in her email of August 17, 2012 posted to the Members Open Forum: 

“Last year, and again this year, PLL asked AALL leadership to consider integrating the summit into the Annual Meeting. Members have expressed concern about the additional cost of the summit, including the registration fee and hotel costs they incur to attend. …. The model of requesting a meeting and then putting on a full day conference (summit) cannot be sustained across the association. ….. However, there are options available, and include targeted pre-conference workshops (half day to 2 days) proposed through AMPC, developing valued content for conference programming, and proposing an intensive learning opportunity during the deep dive sessions.”

My musings: I have hope that PLL will propose the Summit program via AMPC perhaps as a targeted 1 day workshop, it will be accepted and albeit in some type of new iteration we will have our beloved PLL Summit in 2013! I completely understand the issue of the cost to attend both a summit and the full annual meeting, but wonder how a pre-conference will be less costly. Maybe the deep dive sessions would be a better option for replacing the summit although the camaraderie of an all-day program would be lost. 

Question 2:  How will the “blind review” process that is to be used by AMPC for choosing programs for the annual meeting in Seattle work? 

Answer: From Jean Wenger’s email:

“The AMPC considers a variety of factors in the selection and slotting of programs. For the Seattle meeting, the AMPC will use a blind review process focusing solely on content. Sponsorship will not be a factor. Your colleagues on the AMPC will be tracking proposals by competency and will seek a balance of high-quality proposals on the most important issues identified by members. The important first step is to develop high-quality proposals.”

My musings: In my view, it is safe to assume that a “blind review” process of selecting programs for the annual meeting may potentially mean that any given SIS has absolutely no guarantee of any of their programs being accepted by the AMPC and it is possible that if a particular SIS submits 8 programs to the “blind review” for consideration all 8 may be accepted and none of the programs proposed by other SIS’s will be chosen. This may create a greater imbalance than in the old model of choosing programs but that of course remains to be seen. On the other hand, it could potentially result in a more balanced selection of programs that have great appeal across many SIS’s. Per the AMPC your best bet is “to develop high-quality proposals”. To that I would add highly relevant!

Question 3:  Is it true that all SISs will also be limited to sponsoring only one independent education program? 

Answer: As suspected by many SIS’s this is definitely true as evidenced by Jean Wenger’s statement in the same email referenced in the answer to question one above and copied verbatim here: 

“Each SIS will have the opportunity to present one independently produced program of their choice.”

My musings: It is what it is! Each SIS will at least have the chance to present one independent program of its choosing if it wishes to do so. But this leads me to another question – will it have to meet AMPC’s approval? Maybe someone else knows the answer to that one, as I have already covered my three questions! Please enlighten us if you do.

Finally, I am glad that these conversations are occurring and expect that if not for the creation of the PLL Summit we might have continued to limp along discontented with the status quo of the annual meeting program offerings. However, it seems that the summit and other things along the way were enough to upset the apple cart and are resulting in some changes. No doubt some changes will be welcomed and others not so much, but nonetheless change is on the horizon!  In my view change is good and helps us grow!

The AALL 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) sent out a reminder that the deadline to provide your input via a survey for the 2013 annual meeting programming is today, Friday, August 10. The survey is intended to help the AMPC identify topics and issues that affect you most in your workplace and professional development. Furthermore, the results of this brief survey will be shared with the membership and will shape the Call for Proposals which will open in early September.

According to Julie Pabarja, 2013 AMPC Chair all are also invited to be part of the discussions in the Annual Meeting Program Ideas Community .  She states that “AALL members can use this venue to develop program ideas based on the survey results and identify members to collaborate with on a program.  AMPC members will also share information and provide guidance on the program proposal process in this Community.”

If you have not yet completed the survey,I encourage you to do so. If you don’t provide your input you won’t be heard!

Every year there seems to be a hot topic revolving around some action taken by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Executive Board as we head to the annual meeting. This year is no exception, and the topic involves the expansion of defining who can be a full-fledged member of AALL and what this means for the Association as a whole. I love a healthy debate, so I’m looking forward to talking, arguing, agreeing, compromising where possible, holding my ground where necessary, and then taking action when the discussion is over. As someone that was elected to the Executive Board last year, it is the very thing I signed on to do. Before we all pack up and head to Boston and meet up with our peers, I wanted to put a few personal comments out there on my stance on the issue, and when you see me in the Vendor Hall, or conference rooms, e-board meeting, or even on a tour of the Sam Adams brewery, you can come up and give me your take on the issue, and we can have a healthy debate.

Of course, the usual disclaimers go here, such as, these are solely my opinions are are not a position taken by the full board, yada, yada, yada…

First of all, the issue came up that AALL should restrict membership by adding a category that would essentially ban any member that worked for a vendor from holding any elected office, or be selected by the AALL President or Executive Director to a committee position. The category was created because there were law librarians that worked for vendors, and let’s not kid ourselves, the vendors were Westlaw and Lexis, that held themselves out as full-fledged members because they were law librarians that have gone from one of the three main types of law libraries (Academic, Private, or State-Court-County) and made a career change to go work for Wexis. They still considered themselves law librarians, and wished to be active in AALL as a law librarian who just happened to now work for a vendor.

The initial definition of the “less than full member” category expanded beyond the vendor role and was so narrowly defined that is basically excluded anyone that didn’t work in the four-walls of a brick-and-mortar law library. In my opinion, and one that I voiced loudly, AALL should be proactive in expanding the definition of our membership and not attempt to close ranks and be more exclusive. I didn’t think that this type of membership was necessary, and in fact, I thought it would cause much more damage than good. Instead, I believe that we need to be ahead of the curve in the change in our profession and start welcoming in members that have a vested interest in our profession, regardless if they sit in the library, within a practice group, have moved on to become Deans of a Law School, or have moved on to work for a vendor within our profession, but still consider themselves law librarians.

I know that there are talks out there on listservs and blogs that this exposes the Association to risks of vendors having more influence over the Association by putting their employees in key positions of power. I will argue that I think this is a risk worth taking. My friend, Joe Hodnicki, joked that someone like Dick Spinelli could be AALL President for Life if he wanted to (and anyone that knows Dick, knows that he is one of the most respected and well-liked people in our profession,) even though Dick works for one of the larger vendors in our shrinking vendor pool. If we were to get Dick nominated, and then elected, I think he’d be great. I also think that scenario is one that wouldn’t play out for many years, if at all, due to the adversarial relationship that has happened between AALL Members and AALL Vendors over the past few years. (That’s another topic that you can discuss with me while standing in the line to get another beer at Sam Adams.)

My thoughts on creating a rule to exclude Vendors from participating in decision making roles within the organization falls back to a basic belief that I have that we shouldn’t make up rules simply to protect ourselves from ourselves. This is what I think this rule would accomplish, keep us from having the ability to decided if we wanted someone in a position of power that happens to work for a vendor. I’ll use another friend of mine as an example. Sarah Glassmeyer is a law librarian that went to work for CALI last year and would therefore be excluded from full membership because she would no longer be considered a full-fledged law librarian. I think it would be a shame to have something like this happen, because I think Sarah is one of the brightest minds and forward thinkers of our profession, and she has experience and insights that would be beneficial to the Association. However, she would have to stand on the sidelines because we made a rule that prevented us from even having the ability to choose her for a leadership role. I have enough faith in our membership and our organization to make good decisions when the time comes, and I don’t think we need to enact rules that strip that ability away from us just because we are afraid we might make a bad decision sometime down the road.

So, there… that’s my simplified opinion of expanding the definition of a member of AALL. Feel free to come up to me and tell me I’m wrong, or that I hadn’t thought of something, or to offer to take me out for a beer. I prefer that it be some kind of combination of the three.

I also wanted to quickly talk about the issue that the AALL Executive Board tried to sneak this change in the by-laws through on the sly and that there was some sort of hidden agenda from our Chicago meeting. I can assure you that this was not something that the Board was trying to sneak through. I think there has been lots of folks out there that have come to the same conclusion as I have, and that everything we discussed and voted on was in the Board Book, and available to all members as required by AALL rules. Some argue that the issue was buried in the Board Book, and I have to say that I think that isn’t true. There is a nice Table of Contents at the beginning that points to the items discussed and voted on (there weren’t that many despite the size of the book) and the language and results were there for any and all to see.

That being said, I will say that I’ll bring up the issue of how these types of topics, especially by-law changes, can be better communicated to the members once the Board has acted. However, one of the things that we all have to realize is that we elect members like myself to these positions so that the decision making process can be handled in a way that moves things forward in an orderly method. It is how the Association is set up to run, and there will be times when the Board takes action on behalf of the membership that some will not like. It’s all part of the good and bad that comes along with having a Board and electing them to their three year post. Things can be better, and communication can be better. I’ll discuss this with the other members when I see them in Boston and we’ll find ways to make it better. I can tell you that, to a person, everyone on the Board that I work with has very good intentions, and no one would attempt to bury any issue that comes before us. To say otherwise is simply not true and is pure conjecture on that person’s part. Again, feel free to debate me on that.

I’m sure there are a hundred other issues that I could bring up, such as rewording the language of the draft, how and when the full membership vote will happen, etc., but I need to finish putting my bags in the car and finish my road trip to Boston. Look me up in Boston and we can talk about anything you want. I look forward to seeing everyone there. If you are not going to Boston, then feel free to carry on this discussion via my email, and I’ll get back with you if I have a few moments while at the meeting, or once I make it back to Houston.

To steal an idea from our friend Jason Wilson… this is Toby Brown, Greg Lambert* and Scott Preston. We will be at TECHSHOW this week. We may, or may not be in our matching Terminator costumes, however.

*Actually, Greg will be at the AALL Board Meetings during the day, and will find any available Happy Hour gathering at TECHSHOW at night!!

I was getting my morning fill of Twitter updates this morning, when I saw a tweet from Emily Clasper go by that made a simple, yet intriguing statement:

I know most librarians have no clue about the ideas at #sesnyc but how are we supposed 2 b info experts if we don’t know how the info works.

Emily is Manager of Systems Operations and Training at Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS) up in New York. The #sesnyc that she mentions is a Search Engine conference that discusses many topics including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques, along with a number of other topics. “The Clue” she is talking about is understanding how things that we use everyday in our research strategies actually work. These are topics that Emily is passionate about, and that we’ve discussed here on 3 Geeks before. It is also this passion that makes Emily a “Mover & Shaker” in the library world, especially in the Tech area of libraries.

I love Emily’s passion. I think that she is a valuable asset in the library community, and that she has a lot to offer any of us that will listen to her. But we can’t all be Emily Claspers. Luckily, we can all learn from Emily and others out there that have similar passions. Whether it is through Social Media resources like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., or through conferences, or even through old fashion emails, we can communicate, learn, teach, and gain experiences from experts that know a lot about specialized areas of knowledge information, and are happy to share their expertise.

There’s a saying in the library field that we may not always know the answers, but we know where to find those answers. Traditionally, the “finding” has been through books. In the past 30 years, it has shifted to online resources. In the past couple of years, I see a trend that some of those answers lie within people, not print or electronic resources. The access to “people” has exploded with all the instant communications (email, Twitter), and the archives of past experiences that these experts have shared with us (Google, LinkedIn, Blogs.) That is a very powerful expansion of knowledge. In addition, that expansion doesn’t just apply to your specific field. If you notice, Emily is not a law librarian like I am. Perhaps in the past, we would have never known about each other because our “analog-selves” run in different circles. However, our “digital-selves” cross paths quite often.

Although I consider myself a tech geek, I don’t think I’m close to the expert in the field as the Emily Claspers of the world. Fortunately, I don’t have to be. There are those that know a lot about a niche part of the profession… and there are those that know a little about a lot of areas. Both have their uses. Generalists can learn pieces of knowledge from the experts, and in return, experts can learn practical applications from the generalists. That can be a powerful combination as long as we are all willing to share and to listen.