October 17, 2006
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Molly Brownfield
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found my way into law librarianship for several reasons. For starters, I became aware of this career path fairly recently – during my last semester as a law student at the University of Minnesota. With only a few months until graduation, I had realized that I did not want to practice law and found myself in dire need of direction. The study and practice of the law still appealed to me, and I wondered if there was some career path that would combine my interest in the law with my undergraduate degree in French and International Studies. Inspired by one of my law courses, Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research, I started to ask around about law librarianship. The law librarians at the University of Minnesota were extremely helpful and with the guidance of Joan Howland and Mary Rumsey, I applied for and was accepted into the graduate program at the School of Information at the University of Texas.
As a recipient of the Tarlton Fellowship (which supports recent law school graduates who are pursuing graduate degrees in information science) I had the opportunity to work part-time as a reference librarian at the Tarlton Law Library of the University of Texas while completing my information science degree. This provided me with first-hand experience along side first-rate law librarians and left me with no doubts that I was on the right track. As graduation approached and my search for a full-time position began, I received unwavering support and professional guidance from Tarlton’s Director, Roy M. Mersky. I also had the advantage of flexibility - my fiancé and I were willing to go virtually anywhere where I found a job. Ultimately we decided to try living on the East Coast, where we both have some family and where I would have the chance to work under the direction of Carol Roehrenbeck at the Rutgers Law Library in Newark.
As a reference librarian at Rutgers, I get to work with incredible colleagues - people who challenge themselves, strive to assist and educate others, and are always willing to go out of their way to help. I have been here just over 2 months and love the variety of the work. My favorite part of my job is that I learn something new every day and am in a role where I can help others to do the same. I also have time to lead a full life outside of work, which includes spending time with my husband and our numerous pets and enjoying the cultural, culinary, and of course, retail opportunities of New York City.
It is hard to believe that only 3 years ago I had no idea where I would end up, and now here I am in an ideal career. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had…well, actually planned it!
Editor's Note: The Spotlight on Law Librarians feature is edited by Lee Peoples, Law Librarian Blog Contributing Editor and Associate Director for Faculty, Research and Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library. Please feel free to recommend a colleague for this feature to Lee at email@example.com
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