October 25, 2010
U.S. News Rankings Info and Law School Applications Are Up
I was wandering around the NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals) when I came across this interesting fact about the U.S. News Law School Rankings: 40% of a school's score in the latest survey was determined by the 646 people who responded to the reputational survey. The opinions of faculty account for 25% while that of lawyers and judges account for 15%. Somehow I had the impression that there would be a lot more respondents than that. The article from the NALP Bulletin doesn't say how many surveys were sent out, so the raw number by itself doesn't have a context. Nonetheless, the point is made that 40% of a school's score was determined by less that 1/20th of one percent of all the lawyers in the country. I guess all those glossy law school promotional pieces are sent to the wrong people.
The article containing this information actually had a different point. It concerns an upcoming change to the methodology calculating the score for employment. Schools report two employment statistics, one at graduation (worth 4% of a score) and one at 9 months past graduation (14% of score). 74 schools reported the latter figure, but not the former. U.S. News takes the 9 month figure and reduces it by 30% for its calculations. The lack of reporting suggests that a 30% reduction in the 9 month figure is actually better than the unreported statistic of employment at graduation. No more. The specific change in methodology to counter this is not detailed, but U.S. News will change how it uses these statistics in calculating a score.
While we're on the subject of employment at graduation and beyond, there was a recent article on the National Law Journal web site that suggests the grim news for law graduates hasn't stopped law school applications from reaching an all time high last year. A survey of prospective law students suggests that the trend isn't about to abate. To that person at Boston College who wants their money back, someone is ready to take your place. I don't know why, but there is. [MG]
Vendors Flock to ORALL Annual Meeting
At last week's annual meeting of ORALL in Canton, OH, my headcount of vendor representatives came in at 4 (5?) from TR Legal, 3 from LN (was supposed to be 4 but one had a last minute conflict), 1 from BNA, 1 from Hein, 1 from Gale, 2 from Hannah and none from WK's CCH. Big change over last year's meeting in Cleveland where, if memory serves, the headcount was 1 from LN, 1 from BNA and 1 from CCH. Vendor sponsorship, according to event organizers, was fairly generous this year, too. No vendor except one, rejected a solicitation with significant donations from TR Legal and LN this year. Which vendor didn't make a contribution? The same one that didn't send a company representative, CCH.
Although TR Legal and LN were offering product demos this year, our little chapter's annual meeting did not have booths so the increase in attendance wasn't related to that. Company representatives from TR Legal included a district sales manager and librarian relations staffer, and a strategic analyst from LN. Vendor reps were readily available in the usual places (attending sessions, breakfast, lunch and dinner events, hotel bar and lobby) for casual and business-related conversations.
Even if one wanted to make the case that the WLN and Lexis demos were somewhat sales related, the vendors who attended ORALL weren't there to sell. I think it is a sign of market conditions that they came and in such numbers to meet, listen and talk with their institutional buyers face to face. One can hope that this interaction was mutually beneficial. I, for one, was delighted to put a face to a voice (and emails) by seeing my MB inside print account rep in Canton (Hi, Jen!). And a big hat tip to two vendors (you know who you are) for a little "medicinal assistance" to overcome this 58-year-old's rapidly aging sore back and stiff neck after my 4 hour drive to Canton on Wednesday. Traveling to Canton certainly was not as easy as traveling to Cleveland for last year's annual ORALL meeting for vendors either. It's not like you can just hop off a plane and be there.
I don't know if other AALL chapters have been or are seeing an increase in vendor appearances at their annual meetings but I hope so. Chapter annual meetings are better events than our AALL annual meetings for personalizing the vendor-buyer relationship. I'm sure some vendors may not have liked what they heard (I'm also sure they had heard what they were hearing before) but they showed up and listened -- ah, where was CCH? Whether this leads to anything positive remains to be seen. But hopefully ORALL's Cincinnati 2011 will be more like Canton 2010 than Cleveland 2009. While it makes damn good business sense to do so, I for one, but I doubt I am the only one, appreciated our vendors financial support of ORALL's annual meeting and attendance this year. [JH]
TRI President and CEO Tom Glocer Video on the Thomson Reuters Legacy
From the TR YouTube Channel description: "What can each of us do to help leave this place in a better state than we inherited it? Watch our Chief Executive Officer Tom Glocer talk about how, for many decades, people have always been at the core of our success -- and how Thomson Reuters provides each employee with a platform to influence the world." Ah, OK. Two comments.
First, the video was announced on Legal Current, the blogosphere destination for "information and commentary on the business and practice of law from Thomson Reuters" and not cross-posted on what regular LLB readers know is my favorite media empire CEO's personal blog (at least as of this morning). The latter blog is always the more interesting read.
Second, wouldn't the topic presented in the video make for an interesting contribution to 3 Geeks' excellent series of Elephant Posts? [JH]
October 24, 2010
Show Me the Money
Last Friday Forbes blogger Adam Gordon posted Libraries are Showing the Way for Everyone.
Like how our colleagues in the public library systems around the country are filled to capacity, trying to help the unemployed become employed, providing a place for school kids to advance their homework assignments, and doing it successfully all in the face of a workstation shortage as reported in the Economist last week.
Or perhaps, you might have thought it was about how eleven national libraries joined forces with Brewster Kahle to form the International Internet Preservation Consortium in order to save digital born material on the Internet.
Or maybe you originally thought it was about the copyright detectives at the Hathi Trust who are working diligently with LOC to ensure the more than 700 million volumes loaded so far, and all future volumes, are properly tagged as public domain or in copyright. (Hah! Take THAT Google!)
The post is really about the new ARL publication ARL 2030: A Users Guide to Research Libraries. The ARL 2030 Scenarios explains many of the ways you can strengthen your institution’s planning using the ARL 2030 Scenarios. The scenarios are rich descriptions of four possible futures. According to the ARL web site, each possible future "presents a particular exploration of many critical uncertainties in a way that considers the dynamics that might unfold over a twenty-year time frame." However, it could easily have been about one of those other fantistic things that are shaping libraries in the here and now.
And yet, the average salary for an entry level female academic librarian (who will have at least a bachelor's degree and their library master's degree), as reported in the 2010 LJ Placements and Salary Survey, was a paltry $39,551. For men, it was $40,037. (I know, I still cannot believe the inequity between genders in the 21st century - but there it is, staring you straight in the face.) For public librarians it was even worse: 37,200/37,700. And yet, these are the people who are supplying the labor for the excellent work outlined above and more.
And how much did those banking executives get for doing nothing - wait, I mean, how much did those banking executives get for driving the jobless into the libraries to begin with? (VS)
The White House Goes White Board to "Explain" the Tax Cut Debate
You can view the Sept. 29th "White House White Board" video featuring recently appointed Council of Economic Advisers chair Austan Goolsbee on The White House Blog here. Don't know if the Republican leadership has produced a blackboard video response (yet). Sounds so black-and-white simple. And shouldn't these presentations be called Blue and Red boards? [JH]