find the latest legal job
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Solicitor - Insurance and Health
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Newcastle NSW 2300
· Dynamic organisation · Outstanding career opportunity
View details
Solicitors Barrister and Registered Migration Agents
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· We are an established multi-disciplinary practice located in North Sydney. ·
View details
Commercial/Projects Lawyer (4+ PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Fantastic, supportive working environment · Wide variety of work, direct client contact
View details
Legal librarians' role changing to keep up with the times

Legal librarians' role changing to keep up with the times


The traditional role of the legal librarian has had to evolve to keep up with the digitisation of legal libraries, according to the Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALLA).

Elizabeth Langeveldt, the ALLA president, told Lawyers Weekly:  "Smart legal organisations know that efficient legal research is enhanced through having a law librarian.

"[While] digitisation only changes the format of information, the underpinning need remains for the skill set and value add which law librarians bring to law firms as well as our courts and law schools."

According to Ms Langeveldt, the range of material now curated by many law libraries means librarians need new skills to ensure that this material is fully available to lawyers.

"Aligning with the needs of the law firms in which they work, law libraries have moved well beyond only looking after the books and online services purchased from legal publishers," Ms Langeveldt said.

"Our law librarians are often also responsible for maintaining knowledge repositories of high-quality legal documents produced by their lawyers. Law librarians are often also responsible for their organisation’s intranet and to integrate the information systems and tools required in a modern knowledge organisation."

She continued: "Some law librarians within law firms are even intensely involved with the production of smart, highly automated legal precedents."

While Ms Langeveldt agreed that hard-copy books are not as significant in the collections of law libraries as they were in the past, she believes hard-copy books remain an essential part of many law firms' collections.

She said this is especially the case for many mid-tier firms, to which Australian legal publishers are yet to offer viable models enabling such firms to purchase lendable e-books.

"Our members help lawyers and legal professionals to evaluate and combine authoritative information to provide great outcomes for a firm's clients, regardless of the format of that information," Ms Langeveldt said.

"While we utilise our online services extensively and make use of numerous databases and even of well-evaluated information available on the internet, often a published book remains the only authoritative source of in-depth information on specialised legal topics."

Finally, Ms Langeveldt said that the setting of the law library in law firms is changing as firms move in to new open-plan office spaces, with legal librarians being more physically available to lawyers.

"These new library spaces are usually open plan, centrally located in the firm’s design footprint and noisy spaces where lawyers are learning new skills and exchanging ideas," Ms Langeveldt said.

"Law librarians fortunate enough to work in these new spaces love their libraries, because these spaces enable librarians to be physically where they need to be in the firm – right alongside the lawyers and working with them."

Other law firms are using the embedded librarian model and have moved librarians to practice group floors with a small curated collection of hard copy, with most of the collection material online.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Community Legal Centres NSW has welcomed the Australian Law Reform Commission
Jul 28 2017
CLCs welcome Indigenous incarceration inquiry
Community Legal Centres NSW has welcomed the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the r...
Jul 27 2017
Legal body commends funding for independent crime stats
The Queensland Law Society has applauded the state government’s commitment to fund a new independe...
Jul 27 2017
Virtual marketplace to bolster lawyers’ skills
An industry-first online symposium and virtual marketplace has issued a call to action to legal prof...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...