Lanyard Making: Highlights from PLLIP’s Virtual Summit and AALL’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting  (Summer Camp for Law Firm Librarians #2)

Joanne Kiley | August 06, 2020

One of my favorite summer camp activities used to be making a lanyard – weaving together colored cording to create an accessory I could proudly display. Here, I attempt to weave together some of the cords from PLLIP’s recent Virtual Summit – Transformation 2020 and AALL’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.


PLLIP’s Transformation 2020: Instrumental Tools for the Future

The PLLIP Summit this year was shortened to three sessions presented by industry thought leaders who spoke to today’s issues.

  • Innovation: Keynote speaker, Ari Kaplan, kicked off the day examining how law firms are approaching innovation. He encouraged attendees to shift away from asking the question, “will this work?” and begin asking “could this work?” A simple change of one word tends to elicit more positive responses and keep the conversation going.
  • Lessons From the Pandemic: Next up, a panel discussion on whether the law firm library was ultimately prepared for the pandemic. The panel encouraged Summit attendees to look for opportunities to improve services during this time and reflected that this could be an ideal opportunity to reassess service offerings.
    • A live poll indicated 53% of respondents have stopped buying print or are buying less, and none are buying more. Although this is not surprising, given many attorneys have not had access to print for over four months, it still represents a change that needs to be managed.
    • HBR’s recently launched our 2020 BLISS survey, which has a new “hot topics” section that will address questions related to print decisions and service level support. If you would like to participate, please follow this link to register.
  • Communication: The final session of the Summit presented a chance for self-reflection and ways of improving communication skills. Alycia Sutor, Managing Director of GrowthPlay, invited everyone to take a brief communication assessment. The session encouraged attendees to reflect on how well we are heard and understood at work. She stressed that to provide the highest value services, we must listen and communicate clearly with our internal teams and with our clients.

If you were unable to join each session, recording links are available in the 2020 PLLIP Virtual Summit My Communities page.


AALL 2020 Virtual Conference

Following Friday’s PLLIP Summit, AALL began its 2020 Virtual Conference. Below are highlights:

  • Artificial Intelligence: In Legal Ethics in the Use Artificial Intelligence, Steve Lastres stated that law librarians are well positioned to understand AI and teach others how it is best used and applied in the practice of law. The panelists all agreed that AI tools need to be heavily tested and compared with manually retrieved results for the best understanding of the tools. The complexity of the machine learning algorithms makes it hard in the assessment of AI tools to determine what information is being overstated or excluded. We need to identify the gaps and inconsistencies and then work with vendors to reduce the gaps, before offering these products to end users.
  • Rethinking Library Space: Amy Eaton took a refreshing approach to the session on library space, Library 3.0: Using UX to Create the Library Space of the Future. She explained that her focus is no longer on physical library space at Perkins Coie but rather on what the library represents. Her law firm library is all about the customer experience. She has developed and implemented a service delivery philosophy that empowers her team to use their best judgment in supporting their customers.
  • Cross-Jurisdictional Docket Searches: Representatives from Trellis, Lexis, Bloomberg and re:Search gathered to answer the burning question of many a law librarian: why aren’t there platforms with searching capability across all 50 states for state court documents and when will it be a reality? Panelist stated that the reasons for the current challenges range from negotiating county by county for access to normalizing data to setting up an automatic payment method when scraping for data. Most said it is a long road and many things need to change before 50 state coverage can be a reality. However, Nicole Clark of Trellis held out hope for significant improvements within two years.

Links to recordings of all sessions are available for conference registrants.

Both conferences reminded me of the strengths and capabilities of the librarians and leaders in our field. The PLLIP summit, emphasizing transformation, and the AALL conference, highlighting cutting-edge ideas, illustrate how our community continues to strive for service delivery excellence, taking the lessons from the current environment as an opportunity to continue to advance our libraries and our professional development.

In place of networking this year, consider reaching out to a fellow law librarian and make lanyards together (at a safe distance). Click here for instructions for traditional camp weaves, or here if you prefer a fabric lanyard, and display them proudly at next year’s PLLIP Summit and AALL Annual Conference in Cleveland! (Speaking of Cleveland, planning for sessions is underway. If you have an idea for a topic at next year’s conference, please remember to submit it on the Ideascale.)