July 15, 2005
AmLaw Tech's Annual Survey of Law Firm Libraries
This year's AmLaw Tech's survey of law librarians is now available. It includes:
- Average salaries for top law librarians
- Average library expenses
- Librarian satisfaction with the major information providers
- Library staffing, resources, physical space, and finances of the libraries of the largest law firms
From the article highlighting the survey results:
Contrary to popular expectations, the digital age didn't supplant print. It complemented it. And it hasn't rendered librarians obsolete, either. In ALM's fourth annual survey of Am Law 200 librarians, 71 percent of respondents reported bigger budgets in 2005 than 2004, while 24 percent say their budgets are about the same. Spending on library staff salaries has risen to an average of almost $916,000 in 2004 (up from $783,000 in 2003). And despite recent accounts of university libraries eliminating books altogether, 75 percent of respondents report spending more on print products last year than in 2003.
The survey results also show that, increasingly, librarians are contributing to the bottom line. As partners and clients alike realize librarians often track down information more efficiently than associates and paralegals, more firms are billing for their research time. "There is an acknowledgment that it is much more cost-effective to have expert researchers," says Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr chief librarian Jean O'Grady. Therefore, most firms have boosted their hiring standards. It's not unusual to find librarians with advanced degrees in law, business, the physical sciences, and information technology, as well as library sciences. Even library paraprofessionals are expected to have a bachelor's degree from a top school, plus library or legal experience, says Ruth Carter Armstrong, director of information resources at Goodwin Procter.
As the caliber of the library staff has improved, the work they are being called on to do has become more sophisticated. Instead of shelving and minding card catalogs, librarians now spend more time doing advanced research -- often in support of the firm's marketing or information technology departments. Survey respondents report that their staffs spent 29 percent of their time in 2004 researching nonlegal information compared to 26 percent on legal research.
Order Survey, $99.
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