March 5, 2011
Time for an eBook User’s Bill of Rights?
Check out the LISNews post on the issue and add your comments to the post if you have an opinion. [JH]
March 4, 2011
Princeton University’s Writing Program Comes to AALL Annual Meeting
From the announcement:
The AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers Committee is excited to announce a brand new, hands-on Writing Workshop to be offered at the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Please join us for this rare opportunity for librarians to spend some time studying college-level and professor-level writing using the system conceived at Harvard’s writing program and developed at the Princeton University Writing Program. Our presenter will be Amanda Irwin Wilkins, Director of the Writing Program, Princeton University.
FOR EXPERIENCED WRITERS: We will learn how to think past mere sentence-level editing skills to fine-tune our writing. By exploring often-overlooked features of strong writing, especially the rarely-noticed qualities that quietly underlie an article’s main idea, we can begin to harness our own ideas more effectively and enhance the quality of our writing.
FOR LESS EXPERIENCED WRITERS: We will explore how to think about writing, and how to position an idea effectively to produce a well-written, relevant, and publishable article. We will also learn how this skill can help writers develop new and relevant topics about which to write. Participants may even leave the workshop with a new idea to further explore!
Please join us for this exciting opportunity! Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, attendance is limited to 30 participants, and prior registration is required. The Writing Workshop will be held on Sunday, July 24, 2011, 12:00-1:15 pm, location TBA. Stay tuned for sign-up info later this spring!
Some Thoughts on the ABA and Tenure
Law.com is reporting on the latest reactions to an ABA draft which interprets its accreditation standards as NOT requiring an approved school to offer tenure to its faculty. As Joe notes in his post, the Georgetown faculty issued a resolution opposing the draft interpretation, joining two other law schools who have done the same.
Faculty are naturally alarmed. Tenure protects not only statements made in the classroom but in those stormy faculty meetings that happen oh so occasionally. Tenure affects the political climate of a law school by limiting the retribution options when a faculty member expresses a candid view on a controversial issue. I think this is one of those reasons that junior faculty tend not to take stands that would jeopardize reaching the holy grail of job security.
Law.com notes that the ABA committee's thinking is that requirement or not, that schools would not abandon tenure practices because they are traditional in school operations. The committee may be right, though I think that university presidents could use the relaxed standard to more tightly govern their law school operations. Certainly it gives universities the option to tighten their tenure standards as to who gets the coveted status within a law school faculty. If I had to guess, I think the ABA is saying to faculty that if a tenure dispute comes up, don't come to us looking for some kind of enforcement under any of our standards. We really don't want to get involved in personnel disputes and we won't threaten a law school if there is one. It seems as if the market's invisible hand is about to hit the teaching side of law school. [MG]
Three Law School Faculties Oppose ABA Proposal That Would Remove Tenure as Accreditation Requirement
They are Georgetown, Golden Gate University and the University of Hawaii. See the NLJ's Faculty mobilize against ABA's proposal to drop tenure requirement. Hat tip to Jim Levy, Legal Skills Prof Blog. [JH]
Friday Fun: Only one ALR assignment binder was injured in the production of this video
A law school student parody of the movie Office Space. (Naughty language alert for the easily offended.) [JH]
"Decertifying" the AAUP in Ohio Public Sector Institutions of Higher Education by Legislation: Profs as Managerial Employees
"There is an assault on public sector workers throughout many parts of this country," writes Mitchell Rubinstein in his Adjunct Law Prof Blog post, Union Busting In Wisconsin And In Other Parts of the Country, And Rubinstein should know. He and I both worked for one of the very largest management-side labor law firms in the country once. Private sector labor relations was my speciality so I'm a bit out of my comfort zone to be writing about Ohio public sector labor-management relations but OH SB 5 is a substantial dilution of public sector collective bargaining rights. It's a game-changer, particularly for AAUP-represented faculty in public colleges and universities.
A provision inserted in SB 5 just hours before the Ohio Senate passed the bill would in effect decertify AAUP as bargaining representative for public sector IHE faculty. The provision would classify all public sector faculty as managers. That would make them exempt from union representation. My hunch is that would include public sector college and university tenure or tenure-track librarians who have some sort of "faculty" status.
In Ohio Senate Votes to Deny Collective-Bargaining Rights to Most Public-College Professors, The Chronicle reports
The classification provision defines as "management-level employees" those faculty members who, individually or through faculty senates or similar organizations, engage in any of a long list of activities generally thought of as simply part of the jobs of tenured and tenure-track professors. Those activities include participating in institutional governance or personnel decisions, selecting or reviewing administrators, preparing budgets, determining how physical resources are used, and setting educational policies "related to admissions, curriculum, subject matter, and methods of instruction and research.
Ohio SB 5 is expected to pass in the Ohio House and to be signed into law by Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican. Gov. Kasich supports the bill and has just announced the appointment of James M. Petro to serve as Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, effective March 14. A graduate of Case Western Reserve Law School, Petro previously served as Ohio Auditor of State (1995-2002) and Ohio Attorney General (2003-2006). I'm thinking he is ready, willing and very able to enforce Ohio SB 5 when it is enacted into law.
Now, is this a bad thing? I guess that depends on what, if any, impact SB 5 has on tenure. In the legal academy there are some law school deans and law school library directors who give lip service to how important tenure is while whispering how they wish they could unload tenured law profs and law librarians who are and have been for years "coasting." That old argument about "academic freedom" as the justification for tenure just isn't very persuasive; hell it is downright counter-productive for executing curricular changes in the legal academy and skills-based changes required in law library staff because few in the public law library sector have the budget to increase staff. There are plenty of ways to protect intellectual freedom without granting lifetime employment.
When SB 5 passes in Ohio and public sector profs are classied as "managerial," there are two important things to watch for. One is the probable increase in part-time professors hired to replace retiring full-time profs and the second is to see what happens to tenure over the course of this decade.
The Taxpayer Sponge. There is another interesting provision in Ohio SB 5 of much more general applicablity in Ohio public employment, namely management being able to unilateral implement its final offer if agreement cannot be reached at the bargaining table. Very "private sector" like. Been there, done that. It was one of the reasons I worked in private sector negotiations. The other was private sector negotiations always boiled down to the nexus of profit earning potential, unit labor costs (meaning wage-productivity-capital investment) and ability to pay during the duration of typical multi-year contracts.
In the worst economic climate since the 1930s depression, ability to pay in the public sector is based on the ability of taxpayers to pay by way of increased taxes and levies. That sponge won't soak up any more. If private sector taxpayers in Ohio don't have lifetime job secutity, why should public sector profs?
Some would call this union-busting. I would call it time to face economic reality; it's not budget cuts in public sector education. Produce something of value to your employer or here's your pink slip. Higher education is important. Hell, foreign students come to the US and contribute substantially to the economy but public sector IHEs are no longer immune to the economic realism of the private sector. [JH]
A Glimpse at Some Public Sector Law School Dean Salaries
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog for calling attention to recent law school dean salaries. The median 2010 law school dean salary was $278,454. (The median 2010 salary for university-wide library deans was $124,750). See The Chronicle's Median Salaries of Senior College Administrators by Job Category and Type of Institution, 2010-11. On TaxProf Blog, Cincinnati Law prof Paul Caron provides a sample of specific public law school dean salaries by law school. [JH]
March 3, 2011
The Xtranormal Reenactment of the Keynote Speech at AALL's Vendor Colloquium
Greg Lambert writes "I know that there were a number of members that would have like to have that keynote speech live streamed, but I'm going to try to do the next best thing and use XtraNormal to create my interpretation of what Shaffer shared with us." Brilliant! It's the 21st century version of the oral tradition. Check out Part One: Rule of Law as a Coral Reef and Part Two: Trends in Law and Law Practice on 3 Geeks. [JH]
iPad 2 Reviews
Librarians Call on Institutional and Individual Consumer Licensees to Boycott HarperCollins Over Plan to Cap eBook Lending
In response to HarperCollins's plans to limit libraries to 26 loans of each ebook, librarians are mounting a campaign to boycott the company. The call to boycott extends beyond institutional licensees and their patrons to encompass individual consumer licensees of eBooks. Smart idea since many individual consumers may realize they license, not own, their eBooks.
Imagine what could happen as the result of boycotting in the law eBook market where comparable titles on any give topic will be available. Will our major vendors compete on the basis of the number of restrictions they place on their eBook licenses? Will the few remaining independent legal publishers and new players enter the law eBook marketplace with less restrictive licenses?
From the Boycott HarperCollins website:
Until this policy is revoked, join us by not buying any new books or ebooks published by HarperCollins or any of its imprints: Amistad, Avon, Avon A, Avon Inspire, Avon Red, Balzer + Bray, Caedmon, Collins, Ecco, Eos, Greenwillow Books, Harper, Harper Business, Harper Design, Harper Paperbacks, Harper Perennial, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, HarperAudio, HarperBibles, HarperCollins Children's Audio, HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperCollins e-Books, HarperFestival, HarperLuxe, HarperOne, HarperTeen, ItBooks, Katherine Tegen Books, Rayo, Walden Pond Press, and William Morrow.
In addition, support your local library if it chooses to participate in the boycott and write a letter to HarperCollins explaining your actions.
The boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the number of times a library can loan each ebook.
"Warning: Math and Statistics and Numbers Ahead." A highly recommended thoughtful analysis prompted by HarperCollins new licensing restrictions by Sarah Glassmeyer can read at HCOD, eBook User Bill of Rights and Math
For background, see LJ's HarperCollins Puts 26 Loan Cap on Ebook Circulations the Guardian's Fury over 'stupid' restrictions to library ebook loans and Sarah Glassmeyer's LLB post. [JH]
Beyond Traditional “Protectors and Purveyors:" Commentary Based on the Filtered Vendor Colloquium By a Legal Publisher Left Out of the Loop
Check out Jason Wilson's post based on AALL's filtered blog posting covering Law Librarian of Congress Roberta Shaffer's presentation at AALL's Vendor Colloquium on Monday. See Contents, conduits, contexts, and conductors ("As best as I can tell from Estes’s posts... .") I also like the image Wilson uses for his post -- pipes but the displayed pipes weren't clogged by censorship restrictions enforced upon the Colloquium participants during the event by our professional association. [JH]
Opening: Research Services Librarian, George Mason Univ. Law Library
The George Mason University Law Library in Arlington, Virginia seeks a creative, energetic, and highly customer-oriented Research Services Librarian with legal research and teaching experience. As one of six professional librarians, the Research Services Librarian will provide legal research and reference services and participate in the faculty liaison program. The Research Services Librarian also teaches legal research classes in the required two-year Legal Research, Writing & Analysis (LRWA) course. This position reports to the Associate Director of the Law Library.
- Provide research and reference services to faculty, students, staff, and public patrons.
- Prepare print and online research guides and informative handouts to assist patrons with the library collection.
- Provide tours to faculty, staff, students, and others as necessary.
- Teach legal research classes in the required two-year Legal Research, Writing & Analysis (LRWA) course.
- Assist in the preparation of presentations and assignments for LRWA.
- Provide one-on-one student training as well as subject-specific classroom research sessions as necessary.
- Participate in collection development activities.
- Provide backup to the circulation desk when necessary, and assist with collection management decisions.
- Keep reference statistics.
- Oversee maintenance and filing of microform collection.
- Maintain professional growth by participating in educational programs and activities to ensure knowledge of current trends, practices, and developments.
- Participate in the work of university committees and regional and national associations.
- Perform related duties as required.
Required Qualifications: Master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA-accredited library school and Juris Doctor from an ABA-accredited law school. Substantial knowledge of legal bibliography and legal research techniques in both print and electronic formats. Significant experience providing legal research and reference services in a law library. Teaching experience. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Strong service orientation, and the ability to interact positively with law faculty, students, colleagues, and public patrons.
Appointment and Benefits: 12-month Administrative Faculty appointment. Health plan options and paid life insurance; several retirement plans, including TIAA-CREF; 24 vacation days and 12 paid holidays; tuition waiver for self.
Salary: Competitive, commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Start Date: June 1, 2011.
Application Instructions: Applications must be made online. To apply, go to http://jobs.gmu.edu and enter the Position Number: FA331Z. Candidates are required to submit a cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of 3 references. Candidates who are selected for interviews will be asked to do a 20-minute presentation on some aspect of legal research. Review of applicants to begin immediately and continue until position is filled.
George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.
March 2, 2011
Supreme Court Action With Major First Amendment Case
It's been an unusually busy week for the Supreme Court. This is the third day in a row where the Court issued opinions, including one of the type usually issued at the end of the term rather in its middle. That, of course, is the case of Snyder v. Phelps (09-751).
That case involves the rights of a church to publicly express their views of the moral condition of the United States through picketing and other demonstrations. The Westboro church is headed by Fred Phelps and his family, and the congregation is well known to picket military funerals and other events while brandishing signs with the words "God hates fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers," among other statements. In fact, their conduct would almost be entertaining if it weren't for the vile and irritating manner in which they express themselves. Think of a Tom Green movie with even less than no humor, if that's possible. The Court reminds us, however, that tasteless and highly offensive are not subject to proscription under the First Amendment.
The church had picketed the funeral of Matthew Snyder, a Marine killed in in the line of duty in Iraq. The funeral was held in Maryland and a tort suit was brought by the father of the slain soldier. The case comes to the Supreme Court on a verdict of liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy. The jury's damages award was several million dollars.
The Fourth Circuit reversed holding that the statements and manner of expression were protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the First Amendment can be a shield against tort liability. The Court reasoned that Westboro's statements relate to public rather than private matters, and that the Snyder funeral was merely one of many events where the congregation expressed its views. The public demonstration was not disguised to attack Snyder or his father as individuals. The Court concluded its opinion with this platitude:
As a Nation we have chosen a different course — to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.
Justice Breyer concurred and Justice Alito dissented.
The second case is not nearly as controversial. Pepper v. United States (09-6822) involved whether a a sentencing court can consider post-sentence rehabilitation when the original sentence has been set aside. The defendant in this case, Jason Pepper, had been up for resentencing on a drug charge. The government appealed his original sentence as it departed significantly from federal sentencing guidelines and its own recommendations as to how much time Pepper should serve. While serving prison time, he had successfully completed a lengthy drug treatment program. While awaiting resentencing, he had re-established ties with his family and became a contributing member of society. His case had gone up and down the Eight Circuit several times with the Supreme Court intervening once before in light of another of its opinions.
The Eight Circuit held in each instance that Pepper was not entitled to rely on any events that occurred after his original sentence. The Supreme Court reversed the Eight Circuit, stating that the applicable statutes and rules allowed the defendant to bring any information to the attention of the sentencing court. The Court noted that ealier decisions made the sentencing guidelines advisory. Though there were conflicting sections of the Sentencing Reform Act as to how resentencing should be conducted, these were held inapplicable based on the same constitutional violations that lead to the original decision striking down the mandatory nature of the sentencing guidelines. Justice Thomas dissented, stating his disagreement with the entire line of decisions making the sentencing guidelines advisory. He was not heard to say "Get off the Supreme Court lawn, you meddling kids" as he issued his dissent. [MG]
Harper Collins and Libraries
While the attention of law librarians everywhere was trained on Oak Brook, Illinois and news coming from the AALL Vendor Colloquium, another interesting vendor/library news story has been developing.
Harper Collins has decided to change its agreement with public libraries. It informed OverDrive, a vendor that delivers eBooks to libraries, that Harper Collins eBooks can only be checked out 26 times. After that, libraries will need to "buy" a new copy. Libraries and librarians are angry and calls for a boycott of Harper Collins have been made. Here's a blog/link roundup:
- BoingBoing Blog Post that kicked off the drama
- OverDrive responds
- Harper Collins Responds (Say what you will about our vendors in LawLibraryLand, but at least they never tried a library relations blog called "Library Love Fest" with butterflies and flowers on it!)
- Overview and large collection of links from Library Bloggers by Librarian By Day
- Library Renewal proposes alternative to anger and boycott
- The Librarian in Black proposes a "eBook User Bill of Rights"
- Finally, much of the discussion is occurring on Twitter under the hashtag #hcod
While this doesn't directly affect law libraries NOW, I have a suspicion that this won't be the last time libraries and vendors tussle over eBook circulation rights. [SG]
Isn't It Time to End the Congressional "Work Product" Fiction for CRS Reports?
"In 1822, James Madison explained why citizens must have government information: 'A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.' In the spirit of Madison, we ask you to appoint a Director of CRS who will help advance the goal of online free public access to CRS reports." Quoting from the letter to the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, signed by nearly 40 organizations, listed below, concerned with government openness and accountability.
The letter urges Dr. Billington to appoint a CRS director who will work with Congress to provide online free public access to the unclassified, non-confidential, taxpayer-funded reports produced by CRS, stating "the public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to discharge their civic duties."
Hat tip to Pat Court, Associate Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Cornell Law Library. [JH]
American Association of Law Libraries
American Library Association
American Society of News Editors
Association of Research Libraries
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Responsive Politics
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Federation of American Scientists
Free Government Information
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Knowledge Ecology International
National Coalition Against Censorship
National Freedom of Information Coalition
National Security Counselors
No More Guantanamos
Point of Order
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
RS&S INTERNATIONAL, LLC
Society of Academic Law Library Directors
Society of Professional Journalists
Special Libraries Association
University of Missouri Freedom of Information Center
Washington Coalition for Open Government
From What American Lawyers Earn in Major Metro Areas to BigLaw's $1,000-Plus Hourly Billing Rate Club
ABAJ's first installment of a periodic series is reporting on the geography of lawyer salaries, "showing where the jobs are and what they pay." This not some cursory journalistic exercise. The data being reported was producted by William Henderson of the Center for the Global Legal Profession at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. It is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics on employed lawyers—such as associates, government attorneys and corporate counsel current through mid-2009, along with additional government statistics on potential income influencers like population growth and the locations of Fortune 1000 company headquarters to provide an empirical snapshot of geographic-specific legal landscapes. Do note that "[l]ike any statistics, these salary figures often vary from anecdotal experience. And because they represent payroll data, they don't include equity partners or solos."
At ABAJ's What America’s Lawyers Earn, check out the geographic-based graphic representations for
- Average Lawyer Salaries
- Where Law Firm Payrolls Are Largest
- Where Lawyers Earn the Most (which identifies the number of law schools in the identified geographic area)
You can also search attorney earnings by county and read the ABAJ's 10 Surprising Legal Markets: Here are smaller legal markets that pay big-city bucks.
Speaking of big-city bucks, you might want to check out two recent Wall Street Journal features, listed below, and WSJ's list of top billers which starts at an hourly rate of $1,250.
Opening: Director and Librarian, University of Michigan Law Library, Ann Arbor
Employer: The University of Michigan, The Law Library
Category: Director and Librarian
Required Education: MLS/MLIS & JDs
About the Law Library of The University of Michigan. The University of Michigan Law Library is one of the world’s greatest legal research facilities, with especially strong holdings in foreign, comparative, and international law. The Library includes over one million volumes, some 400,000 titles, nearly two million microform items, and about 6,000 periodical subscriptions. Besides the Director, there are two Assistant Directors. The total full-time staff complement is 32.
Under a University of Michigan Regental Bylaw, the Law Library is “maintained and administered as part of the instruction and research operation of the Law School.” The Law School has 79 full-time faculty members: 57 tenured and tenure track and 22 clinical and legal practice professors. There are 1108 JD students. The School aims to admit about 50 LL.M. and S.J.D. candidates each year; most come from abroad.
About the Position. The Director and Librarian is responsible for overall leadership of the Law Library. In accordance with the institutional structure, the Director reports to the Dean of the Law School. The Director has delegated to two Assistant Directors immediate and primary responsibility for the operation of all units except Administrative Services.
The Director’s major areas of responsibility are (1) communications and public relations; (2) long-range Library planning; (3) oversight of staff; (4) oversight of the collection; (5) oversight of Library services to faculty, students, and other members of the Law School community; and (6) assistance to other Law School units, such as Development and Alumni Relations. In addition, the current Director has oversight of the Student Publications Center (legal journals) and teaches Advanced Legal Research. There is also the opportunity for personal research and scholarly writing.
Applications will be reviewed beginning April 1, 2011, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Notes: Employer will assist with relocation costs. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Applicants should include a curriculum vitae and a list of confidential references. Please send a cover letter with those items to:
Professor Theodore J. St. Antoine, Search Chair
University of Michigan Law School
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1215
March 1, 2011
Supreme Court Action Today
The Supreme Court issued three opinions this morning. None of them are controversial, though they do settle some points of law. The most newsworthy opinion involves the privacy rights of corporations under FOIA law. At issue in the case of FCC v. ATT, Inc. (09-1279), is whether some of the documents AT&T filed with the FCC are protected by the personal privacy exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.
The FCC Enforcement Bureau investigated AT&T at some point, and the company provided requested documents. The CompTel trade association sought those documents in a FOIA request. The Bureau felt that the exemption in 5 U. S. C. §552(b)(7)(C), which exempted disclosure that “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” applied to individuals identified in the documents but not to AT&T as a company. The Third Circuit disagreed with that finding and held that (7)(c) applied to AT&T as well.
The Supreme Court reversed. The Court focused on the meaning of the words "person" and "personal" in the statute's context. Person is defined while personal is not. Even though corporations are considered persons artificially, the Court focused on the ordinary meaning of the word personal as it applied to real people. The statute's context used the word personal in ascribing documents and items that actually belonged to people. In contrast, another section of the Act dealt with corporations and their various business documents and trade secrets. Given the details of those points, the Court was unwilling to extend the concept of personal privacy to a corporation in an FOIA proceeding.
The second case is Henderson v. Shinseki (09-1036). Henderson was denied benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The procedural path was through the Regional Office, the Board of Veterans' Appeals, and since 1988, to the Court of Appeals for Veteran's Claims. Henderson missed the 120 deadline for filing an appeal with the Veterans' Claims Court. Based on other Supreme Court precedent holding that the time limit was jurisdictional, the Veterans' Claim Court would not excuse his delay under equitable tolling principles. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that its earlier precedent applied to Article III courts, and not to the Article I court Congress created to handle veteran benefits appeals. The statute creating the Court did not imply jurisdictional limitations in the way it expressed time limits, as well as other factors in how Congress handled veterans' affairs.
The third case is Staub v. Proctor Hospital (09-400). Staub worked for Proctor Hospital and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. His two immediate supervisors were hostile to his military obligations, which are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). Staub received a disciplinary warning requiring him to report to these two individuals when his cases were completed. The two supervisors determined that Staub violated his Corrective Action and the vice president of human resources reviewed Staub's file and fired him. Staub sued under the Act, claiming that the supervisors fabircated claims against him based their hostility to his Army reserve status. The trial court and jury held for Staub but the Seventh Circuit reversed on the basis that the decisionmaker relied on more than the supervisors' report.
The Supreme Court reversed in favor of Staub, holding that the hospital's agents intended for the discriminatory action to occur to be the proximate cause of of the injury to Staub. The vice president of human resources could not shield the supervisors or the hospital from the discriminatory acts they induced. None of the cases filed today had any dissents. [MG]
Top 50 Go-To Law Schools for BigLaw Firm Hiring
The National Law Journal has ranked the top 50 law schools by percentage of grads in 2010 who found jobs at NLJ 250 firms. The top five feeder law schools for the legal academy's Class of 2010 were:
"Among the 47 schools that made both the 2010 and 2009 lists, 38 sent fewer 2010 graduates to NLJ 250 law firms. Nine schools sent more, compared with their 2009 classes. In other words, 81% of the schools sent a smaller number of graduates to NLJ 250 firms," reports Leigh Jones in Top law schools placed fewer graduates at top firms in 2010. Download the NLJ's Go-To Law Schools ranking. [JH]
AALL's Consumer Advocacy Origami: Day Two of the "Return on Investment" for AALL's Vendor Colloquium
As noted yesterday, no webcast, live or archived, will be available to AALL members in order to form their own opinions about today's Vendor Colloquium session. And is anyone really surprised to hear that AALL has "asked" that no live blogging take place during the meeting except through official channels? See Sarah Glassmayer's comment and link to this post. Perhaps some are, just like some thought there was a possibility that the vendor colloquium might be webcast live or archived for later viewing. But wait ... here's an artist's recreation of yesterday's meeting.
It's not just a matter of being cynically-inclined to not be surprised that all this is being conducted under the table --- it's a matter about which those of us being full of gray hair, assuming we have hair, have learned to predict what AALL officialdom will do even before they think about doing it. We also can predict what our very expensive major vendors will likely say before they say it; "we'll be happy to do anything that doesn't negatively impact our guaranteed revenue stream."
The Origami of AALL's Consumer Advocacy. Unfortunately, it is part of a legacy we aging and decrepit Boomer law librarians leave for future law librarian leaders to address -- at least for those who are reform-minded and willing to butt heads with the status quo. In this, my generation has failed. But there are some members of my generation who offer ways and means to change the current state of affairs and IMHO, their advice should be taken into consideration. Because they see the end of their professional career just over the horizon and have no political ambitions to move up the official AALL food chain, their motivation for changing the origami that has been AALL actions is genuine. These law librarians of my generation are well-informed and so fed up that they are willing to speak out. Their careers may come to a close before the mess we created is fixed, but they are willing to help make the reforms needed to turn AALL into something more than a borderline membership dues paying obligation because "we're law librarians" even if our professional association is nothing more than a "paper tiger."
$27,500 Spent to Form a Working Committee to Produce Some Paper on "Shared Principles." So once again here is today's agenda for the vendor colloquium you won't be seeing or hearing for yourself. Do note the agenda indicates that the final agenda item will be to "form a working committee for the purpose of drafting a final 'Shared Principles' document as a guide for both vendors and librarians."
OMG, I hope the title of that report won't include the word "partnership." What is the point of spitting out this document other than for AALL to point to something and say "look, we did something." Are vendors going to abide by it? They already ignore AALL Fair Practice Guidelines because they can. It's unenforceable. So will this report.
AALL is a paper tiger -- outwardly powerful and dangerous to the naive (only the naive) but inwardly weak and ineffectual. Our association is harmless. AALL's "bark is worse than its bite." Hell, it has been years since AALL has even barked. Anyone remember the last time AALL roared like a real tiger? But do watch our major vendors gush over how "great, informative and productive" the two day meeting was and how important the collated pieces of paper called "Shared Principles" will be. And then watch how nothing substantial changes in the vendor-buyer relationship.
At this moment in history, the only thing some of our vendors take seriously at all is the call from law librarians outside AALL officialdom to engage in concerted consumer advocacy. Our vendors simply believe this won't happen in any way that disrupts how they conduct their anti-competitive business practices because AALL is in their pocket. It's up to law librarians who represent their institutions as buyers, not AALL officialdom, to take action. It's up to concerted activity by professional librarians who give a damn and are willing to dedicate the time and effort to get it done. It can be accomplished but not by an unenforceable "Shared Priniciples" document. Do note, we are not alone. This is an issue that extends beyond the world of law librarians.
Yes, yes, I know some will think I am jumping to conclusions. But those conclusions are based on being a law librarian for 30 years. Remember $27,500 of our money is being spent on the Vendor Colloquium. What return on investment do you expect to see? [JH]
Today's Agenda for AALL's Vendor Colloquium
8:30 am: Continental breakfast
9:00 am: Roundtable 1: Facilitated discussion of the value provided by vendors to the flow of legal information and the challenges they face from content creators, content customers and content users.
10:30 am: Break
10:45 am: Roundtable 2: Facilitated discussion of the value provided by libraries to the flow of legal information and the challenges they face from content creators, content customers and content users.
12:15 pm: Lunch
1:00 pm: Concluding Work Session: "Coming Together Around Shared Principles, Frameworks and Definitions"
Final review of the themes and terms defined in previous sessions.
Form a working committee for the purpose of drafting a final "Shared Principles" document as a guide for both vendors and librarians.
2:45 pm: Closing Remarks: AALL President Joyce Manna Janto
3:00 pm: Adjournment