by Brenna Louzin
Have you ever nursed a secret desire to, you know, run away and take good care of yourself, like at one of those spas advertised in the back pages of THE NEW YORKER or SUNSET MAGAZINE? Attending the 107th American Association of Law Libraries Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in several ways, provided me with some “spa features”, the most important of which was the extended opportunity to think and learn about the law, new technologies, communications, marketing, and networking. Although I consider attending a conference work, it was very nice not to be multitasking at the reference desk or composing a new client analysis under a deadline of an hour or less!
I attended the Private Law Libraries Summit on Saturday, July 12th. This all-day program featured some terrific speakers including Susan Hackett, Founder of Legal Executive Leadership. Hackett, a lawyer, and irreverent, hilarious speaker, hammered on the principles of disruption. She evangelized about the need for (firm) law librarians to become part of the business solutions and project management services delivered to clients. “The $200 an hour librarian is important to the profitability of the firm. Focus on the most efficient way to do the work. Use the librarians!” Hackett was followed by a panel of in-house counsel (including Casey Flaherty from KIA) who were really amazed to find out what firm law librarians could do and what cost-effective services they provide. Last, but not least at the Summit was Arin Reeves, lawyer, President of consulting firm, Nextions, and author of THE NEXT IQ: THE NEXT LEVEL OF INTELLIGENCE FOR 21ST CENTURY LEADERS. Reeves led a fine discussion about leadership and the theory of inclusion in the workplace.
Andrew Keen, an Internet media investor and darling (?) from the U.K. delivered our keynote address, urging librarians to strive to be superstars. He emphasized that current times were not kind to ordinary people and that only superstars survived. Needless to say, he was both very arrogant and provocative. And, surprisingly, he did not seem to really understand what most librarians, even those who might already be superstar librarians do.
Besides spending copious amounts of time in the Exhibit Hall meeting with current vendors or learning about new products like Modio [new program to turn pushed newsletters and alerts into audible files for mobile phone access], Darts-IP [patent research]; Ravel [new graphical case law research]; PacerPro [new commercial Pacer case file tracking product]; and multiple aggregator products, I packed in as many programs as I could. Big Data. Competitive Intelligence. Law Firm Pricing. Frugal Intellectual Property Research. Current Awareness tools (aggregators). This may not sound like much, but I learned a lot.
Oh, getting back to the spa idea… Did I mention that it got up to 99 degrees? But then, we had super-cooled conference rooms, hotels and restaurants.
The Thomson Reuters [West] party at the Knibbe Ranch in the Texas hill country was a hoot: brisket and all the picnic fixings you could eat; beer; longhorns; a rodeo; fireworks; fantastic country band. Lots of fun except for learning that I need intense line-dancing tutelage!
Perhaps one of the best parts of my trip was the opportunity to hang out with fellow LLOPS members in the San Antonio Airport as we waited to fly home to our beloved Seattle.
Thank you, LLOPS, for allowing me to fully participate at AALL 2014!