Welcome to a mini-episode of The Geek In Review. Shot on location in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Law School Stress??  No Kidding!

This week, we continue our discussion on how law students can have a stressful time in the three years they are in law school. We can’t change what happens during law school, but we’ve asked some experts to tell us what they do to help law students reduce stress as they prep for finals, and what they can do to be successful as summer associates in law firms.

We finish our series about how law schools are reducing stress by hearing from the following schools:

  • Howard University
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Houston
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Georgia State University
  • University of Texas

We appreciate these schools (and the ones from last week) taking the time to tell us what all they are doing to help students deal with finals.\

Hey Summer Associates… Listen Up!

We also talk with a number of AmLaw 100 firms about what their expectations are for how summer associates can have a successful tour of duty at their firms. Greg and Marlene were at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and they asked a number of their fellow attendees what they do to help summer associates succeed, or what their expectations are for how law schools should prepare them for this work, and what they allow from outside vendors in regards for training as assistance during the Summers’ time at the firm. 
Continue Reading

It was roughly ten years ago when I learned that half of my library co-workers at my law firm had been let go due to the financial crisis, and the downturn in the legal market. Thus ushered in “The New Normal” of having to constantly do more with less. But it also kick started a

On the 30th episode of The Geek In Review, we talk with Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian at the Chicago-Kent Law Library. Debbie was recently quoted in law.com’s “Where Are All the Women in Legal Tech?” So we cut right to the chase and ask that question to Debbie. She says that there are lots of women in legal tech, but that those putting on tech conferences need to take more action toward actively recruiting women for speaker and presenter opportunities. One profession where women are a majority, and are heavily involved in legal tech, is law librarians. The American Association of Law Libraries is approximately 75% women, and with the push toward knowledge management, analytics, competitive intelligence, and advancing the legal research and information tools, law librarians are an excellent resource when it comes to professionals in the legal tech market. Ginsberg also talks about the Women in Legal Tech Summit, held right before TechShow in Chicago. She mentions that there is an effort to expand the boundaries of women in legal tech beyond just women lawyers who are working in legal tech, and begin looking for other opportunities. Dovetailing nicely with that effort is Janders Dean, who is putting out a list of 180 highly qualified women speakers for legal tech on their Twitter page, and, Sarah Glassmeyer’s crowdsourcing list of underrepresented people in legal tech and innovation.

Listen on mobile platforms:  Apple Podcasts LogoApple PodcastsOvercast LogoOvercastSpotify LogoSpotify

INFORMATION INSPIRATIONS

Self-care isn’t selfish and can actually help your performance – Author Jenna Cho interviews one of Jackson Walker’s partners, Stephanie Sparks, who discusses how she was always waiting until the right time to take care of herself, and eventually realized that there was never a “right time” and she understood that she just had to make that time.  Cho’s article reminds us that we all need to take some time to listen to your body and mind, and remember that you can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself. 
Continue Reading

With the partial government shutdown approaching one month, Marlene and Greg attempt to make some sense of what this means for those of us who rely upon the information produced by the US Government. On this episode, we have an extended talk with Emily Feltren, Director of Government Relations at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) to uncover what’s working and what’s shutdown. While the federal courts are still functioning, they are running on borrowed time, and are scheduled to run out of funds on January 25th. The Pew Research Center has listed a number of data sources which are not being updated during the shutdown. The OMB also has a list of agency shuddered at this time, and assume that the libraries are also closed. If you’re hoping to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request… good luck. Agencies my accept them, but they may not have anyone to process them. Basically, it’s a cluster-fudge right now in D.C.

Joel Lytle, Director of Information Security at Jackson Walker, talks with Greg about the issue of .gov sites which are unable to renew their security certificates during the shutdown. It may not be all that bad… for now. However, there are already reports that the shutdown of sites like donotcall.gov and identitytheft.gov are already having some effects on consumers.

Joel’s advice… trust but verify. If you have questions about the website, call your technology security team and have them take a look at it. This is their area of expertise, so reach out to them.

Apple Podcasts LogoApple PodcastsOvercast LogoOvercastSpotify LogoSpotify

Information Inspirations:

The law library world lost a legend this month with the passing of Eileen Searls. In addition to being an influencer in the law library world, she is also the aunt of Eve Searls, who along with Jerry David DiCicca, performs the music you hear on The Geek In Review.
Continue Reading

On this week’s episode, Greg speaks the couple of words of French he learned on vacation.

Marlene talks about mentor/mentee relationships and Sheryl Sandberg’s discussion on how the #MeToo era places an external strain on promoting these relationships. Marlene touches on the three founders of Black Women Talk Tech, Esosa Ighodaro, Regina Gwynn, and Lauren Washington, as well as Sophia Amouruso and others on the importance of mentoring.


Continue Reading

Over the weekend, I had a nice conversation with some of my peers in other law firm departments (Marketing, IT, and other administration leaders), about the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) letter to Lexis, asking that Lexis cease their current sales requirement of tying Lexis Advance to non-related materials, including Law360, Lex Machina, print material, and other products. I think my colleague, Jean O’Grady did a great job covering this topic in her blog post, so I won’t re-hash the specifics of the letter. However, it is definitely an issue which those outside the law firm libraries should take notice, and be very concerned. This is something that affects the entire law firm, not just the law librarians.

Continue Reading

I don’t think I am telling anyone something new when I say that the relationship between legal information providers (vendors) and legal information professionals (law librarians) are at all-time lows. A once vibrant and symbiotic relationship has become one of simple buyer and seller. This has been somewhat of a slow burn evolution as vendor consolidation began in the late 1990s with the West Publishing transition into Thomson West (then eventually into Thomson Reuters), the acquisition of LexisNexis by Reed Elsevier, CCH and Aspen into Wolters Kluwer, and BNA absorbed into Bloomberg. On the librarian side, there is the seemingly reduced influence of law students on vendor products, much lower budgets from government law libraries, the “single provider” movement from law firms, and the idea that law firms are somehow still suffering from the great recession, despite most big firms posting sky-high record profits and breaking the $3 billion revenue barrier.


Continue Reading

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting New York City during LegalWeek and enjoying the frigid 19 degree weather that comes with visiting New York at the end of January. LegalWeek itself is typically made of of legal technology folks and lots of e-discovery vendors, most of whom are outside my normal circle of friends and colleagues. Luckily for me, there is a group of Knowledge Management leaders attends a little informal gathering and we talk and bounce ideas off of one another. During the introductions phase, I saw a trend in titles among my librarian peers. Out of the total of about 75-80 people in attendance, 15-20 people there that I knew were managers, directors, and chiefs over their law libraries. So, about 25% of the attendees were law librarians. However, only one actually had the term “library” or “librarian” in their title. I didn’t find it all that surprising, but it was something that stuck in my mind and made me contemplate once more what others think of when they hear that someone is a librarian.

Let me start this conversation by modifying something I wrote when I said that “the library is not about the space.” Librarians are not restricted to a librarian title. Creative librarians bring value well beyond what is stereo-typically thought of in regards to what a librarian does. As in many industries, as librarians move up the ladder, we expand our responsibilities and skills in a way that breaks down the walls of what people think librarians do. As a result, we take on new roles and titles that may or may not have the word librarian in it. It doesn’t mean that the librarian profession is somehow devalued, in fact, I would say that it is the opposite. Librarians are breaking barriers and advancing into positions which a decade or two ago would have been unobtainable.
Continue Reading

One of the best things I get to do as the incoming President of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), is reach out to new members that have joined the association and talk with them on the phone. I find that the new members genuinely appreciate that someone has reach out to them, and