Category Archives: Law Libraries

Meet Our AALL 2021 Raffle Winner: Annie Mellott

At AALL’s 2021 Virtual Conference in July, PLI raffled off a one-year membership to MasterClass. This year’s winner is Annie Mellott, acquisitions librarian at William M. Rains Library at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Annie graciously agreed to be interviewed about her career in law librarianship for this blog.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become a librarian?
I’ve always been drawn to learning and education throughout my own studies. While getting my MA in Religious Studies, I started working in the library. I realized it was a perfect fit for me career wise because it allowed me to be in an educational environment while helping the community of students, faculty, and staff during their own research projects.

What do you like most about your job as acquisitions librarian at Loyola Law School?
I love working in the background of the library to provide everyone with what they need. It feels really useful to be able to make information accessible to our patrons so that they have the smoothest experience possible while at Loyola Law School.

Which PLI publication do you most frequently recommend to students and/or faculty?
Honestly, I don’t do much recommending as an acquisitions librarian! We have the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic here and make sure to keep Fragomen on Immigration Fundamentals on standing order so it’s always available for their reference.

What did you think of this year’s conference? What was the highlight for you?
I thought this year’s conference went really well. I’m impressed with the online format working pretty seamlessly and loved the pre-recorded sessions and transcripts that I could revisit. It was also fun visiting the vendors in a safe way this year. I do miss the social and networking opportunities an in person conference allows us, but I’m glad we could convene safely.

PLI Chronicle: Special AALL Edition

Dear Readers,

PLI launched the online journal the PLI Chronicle in September 2020 with a simple mission: to present engaging and timely discussions about the legal industry from a diverse range of perspectives. Chronicle editor Alyse Greer explains, “Since everyone offers value to their fellow industry associates, all legal and accounting professionals are encouraged to submit articles. The publication gives authors a platform to educate others and the freedom to write in their own voices.”

We compiled this “special edition” of the Chronicle from articles published in previous issues as a way to familiarize librarians with this new content type. The selection reflects what we identified as themes running throughout this year’s American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference: 1) Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession; 2) The future of legal technology, education, and research; and 3) Mental health for legal practitioners.

In the articles below, you’ll find wellness tips from an attorney who overcame depression and addiction; a two-part look into the Internet of Things and open source software; musings on the role of curiosity in fostering inclusion and diversity initiatives; and more. You don’t need a subscription to read these articles. Everything published in the Chronicle is available for anyone and everyone to read. All you need is a PLI account, which is both free and easy to set up.

Our hope is that this curated edition will enhance the conference experience and perhaps even inspire some of our colleagues in law libraries to publish with us.

Jennifer Fiore, J.D., M.A.
Associate Legal Editor, Publishing and PLI Plus

Happy National Library Week from PLI!

Greetings from our weekly department meeting.

It’s our favorite time of the year—National Library Week! We use this week to celebrate libraries and the people who work in them. As the team of librarians behind PLI PLUS, we are enormously proud to be apart of this innovative profession and grateful to get to interact regularly with our brilliant and dedicated counterparts at law firms, law schools, courts, and other organizations.

Meet Our AALL 2020 Raffle Winner: Amy Eaton

At the Virtual AALL Conference this year, PLI raffled off a one-year membership to MasterClass. Amy Eaton, director of library and research services at Perkins Coie LLP, was our winner. We caught up with Amy to discuss her career path, virtual work, and more. 

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become a librarian?

Although I came to the profession early, it was not planned. I did know I wanted to be a librarian but I also loved art history. My plan was to get a Master’s in Art History followed by an MLS and work in a museum library. Instead we ended up in Detroit for my husband’s work and library opportunities were limited. My first job offer came from the Detroit College of Law (now part of Michigan State University). The director, Mario Ceresa, was willing to take a risk on someone with no JD and no legal background. I learned with the first year students, helping them with their exercises. It was great training and I found that I loved the work. Our ultimate goal was to return to the Seattle area and when we did, I was hired at my first law firm. I was scared to death most of the first month but learned that the work was pretty exciting and the people are great. I took a few detours during the following years but am happy to be back at a law firm.

What do you like most about your job at Perkins Coie?

The people. I work with, and am part of, a great team. The culture and respect for staff at Perkins Coie is unlike anything I have seen elsewhere.

What is a common research question you receive?

Although I occasionally chip in, my days at the reference desk are long past. Our two most common types of requests are related to document delivery and alerts.

Which PLI publication do you most frequently recommend to attorneys?

An Associate’s First Year: A Guide to Thriving at a Law Firm. We provide a link to the title in PLI Plus to all of our first year associates and keep a few print copies around also.

What part of AALL 2020 did you find most interesting and why?

I think AALL, PLLIP and AMPC did really well responding to the sudden and dramatic change in plans. The sessions I attended were well done and I had the opportunity to touch base with a few vendors. A big thank you to the vendors who continued to support AALL during the conference! I was particularly grateful to see the lower price point. I was able to “send” all my staff and hope that a virtual component will continue to be a part of the conference moving forward. This year I had the opportunity to work on several panels with people I did not know at all or did not know well. I love getting the chance to get know my colleagues who work in other types of libraries or different areas of the country. If someone asks you to be on a panel, say yes! It’s a great opportunity and we all want to hear from new faces with fresh perspectives.

What advice to you have for law librarians who are working remotely right now?

Don’t isolate yourself. In this environment it is easy to put your head down and work all day without creating or maintaining personal relationships. We all missed seeing our friends at AALL this year. Why not pick up the phone and call a few? Take a few minutes out of your day to check in on a friend or let a fellow law librarian author/panelist know that you appreciated their article or talk. Passing along a compliment is a sure fire way to improve their day and yours!

In Case You Missed It… PLI Program COVID-19 and Issues for Legal Librarians

PLI recently hosted Steven A. Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management Services at Debevoise & Plimpton and Kathryn McRae, Director of Research & Knowledge at Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP for a lively discussion on the unique challenges facing law librarians as virtual work environments become the new normal.

A recording of this one-hour webcast and program materials are available online and free to access now through June 30 using the priority code FREE COVID at checkout.

One-Hour Briefing: COVID-19 and Issues for Legal Librarians

LIVE WEBCAST: June 11, 2020 3:00 pm EDT

As the legal community adjusts to the COVID-19 new normal virtual work environment, law librarians face unique challenges.  It is vitally important for law librarians to be proactive in monitoring the needs of the respective practice areas they support, including ensuring adequate research is being performed in those hot Covid-19 practice areas and ensuring alerts have been set up to monitor late breaking legislative and regulatory changes. Additionally, now is the time to proactively communicate the existence of virtual research tools and provide training when lawyers cannot fall back on print.

Please join Steven A. Lastres, Director of Knowledge Management Services at Debevoise & Plimpton and Kathryn McRae, Director of Research & Knowledge at Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP for a discussion addressing:

  • The long term opportunities this pandemic provides to eliminate all print from remaining collections
  • How to proactively market AI and data analytics tools to reluctant lawyers
  • Staffing considerations and project assignments
  • Virtual training options for summer associates
  • Long-term team management
  • Leveraging alternate electronic library resources
  • Vendor communication

This program is free to attend. Register online with the priority code FREE COVID.