Government Relations Committee update

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Massachusetts UELMA Bill

Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of the LLNE GRC, the UELMA bill is making its way through the Massachusetts legislature. H 812, sponsored by Rep. Carmine Gentile, was heard in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on May 2, 2017.  The UELMA Subcommittee will keep the LLNE membership apprised of further action on its web page, where it has added an updated UELMA in Massachusetts one-pager.

Why is UELMA important?  As the above-mentioned fact sheet notes: “enactment of UELMA will put a set of principles in place if a body in the future decides to publish in only online form or designate their online materials for use of the public as official.” Updates will be posted on this page and on the LLNE blog when available.  AALL also has a wealth UELMA resources on its Government Relations site, which is constantly being updated. It is important for LLNE members who reside in Massachusetts to contact their legislators at critical times, so please check the website from time to time and follow through.

AALL Virtual Lobby Day

AALL’s Government Relations Office Director Emily Feltren reports that the AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day on April 26 enjoyed very active participation by AALL members who sent a flurry of emails to their legislators in support of its top priorities.  The most popular action alert was in support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, followed by funding for the Legal Services Corporation and net neutrality.

If you were unable to participate in Lobby Day, there’s still time to act: visit AALL’s Action Center  to learn more about these issues and to email your Members of Congress directly from the site.

AALL is focusing on these issues:

  • Full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, (IMLS)
  • Full funding for the Legal Services Corporation
  • Net Neutrality
  • ECPA (Electronic Communication Privacy Act) Reform
  • Keep Appointment authority for Register of Copyrights with the Librarian of Congress.

A word on the Copyright bill:  The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 1695/S 1010) which makes the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential Appointment and Senate confirmation passed in the House on April 26th with bipartisan support and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. Emily Feltren stated in an email that this bill is deemed a compromise because it does not go as far as the CODE Act (HR 890) and keeps the Copyright Office within the Library of Congress. Nevertheless, AALL opposes the bill because it would have a detrimental effect on interactions between the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

LLNE Wins Big!

By Diane D’Angelo
LLNE President

LLNE was well represented on the list of AALL award winners for 2016 — even our organization won an award!

These awards are just one more reminder of how incredibly talented our members are.  Building friendships and collaborating with these folks and many others like them is one of the great benefits of being an active member of LLNE.

Congratulations to the following LLNEers:

1.) Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award: S. Blair Kauffman, Law Librarian and Professor of Law, Yale Law School

2.) Chapter Professional Development Award: LLNE — special thanks to Nicole Dyszlewski, LLNE Secretary and Research/Access Services Librarian at Roger Williams University School of Law Library & Alex Burnett, Associate Law Librarian at the Maine State Law & Legislative Reference Library

3.) Best Public Relations Tool Kit: The staff at Roger Williams University School of Law Library

Register for the LLNE/ABLL Spring 2016 meeting!

Registration for the LLNE/ABLL Spring 2016 meeting is now open! The theme of the meeting is “Access to Government Information.” We will be spending the day discussing the role of law libraries and the government in providing access to this information, and why it is so critically important. Registration is $50 for LLNE members, and $40 for ABLL members.

Registration, the full schedule, and more is available at

AALL Online Advocacy Training

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit

AALL’s Government Relations Office is hosting an Online Advocacy Training session on March 9, 2016,  and its annual  Virtual Lobby Day  on March 16, 2016.

The 30 minute Online Advocacy Training will cover AALL’s legislative priorities, the challenges of this election year session and ways in which AALL members can make an impact.

The Virtual Lobby Day is an annual event where AALL members collaborate with the AALL GRO to prepare and send targeted messages concerning AALL’s top issues to each participant’s own members of Congress.  There will be no in-person Lobby Day this year.

We hope you will join us!

LLNE Members’ Leadership Potential Recognized by AALL

Leadership is a vital quality that empowers individuals to inspire and guide others toward shared goals and success. In today’s dynamic and competitive professional landscape, cultivating effective leadership skills has become increasingly crucial. The AALL Leadership Academy provides a remarkable platform for aspiring members of the legal profession to enhance their capabilities and learn from experts in the field. Through a comprehensive program encompassing various assessments, collaborative discussions, and networking opportunities, participants like Claire, Nicole, Cate, Anna, and Anne will embark on a transformative journey toward becoming exceptional leaders. As they delve into topics such as communication, collaboration, and the distinction between leadership and management, they will gain invaluable insights that will shape their careers and contribute to the future of their organizations. To navigate the ever-evolving landscape of leadership in the legal field, it is essential to embrace such opportunities for growth and development. For more information on leadership strategies and insights, visit to explore valuable resources and perspectives from industry experts.

The January 2016 issue of the AALL E-Newsletter announced the participants for this year’s AALL Leadership Academy.
The LLNE Executive Board is pleased to acknowledge the five LLNE members selected to participate in this year’s academy:

• Claire DeMarco
• Nicole Dyszlewski
• Cate Kellett
• Anna Lawless-Collins
• Anne Rajotte

AALL’s Leadership Academy is an opportunity for newer and aspiring members of the profession to develop and learn from experts and each other essential skills for effective leadership such as communication, collaboration, leadership versus management, and more.
Through a series of assessments, focused conversations, group activities, and networking opportunities, these aspiring newer members will develop these skills and add colleagues from around the nation to their expanding network of professional connections.
Congratulations to Anna, Anne, Cate, Claire, and Nicole! Watch this space and other LLNE communications media for a view into the leadership academy from our participating members.

Posted on behalf of Raquel Ortiz, Assistant Dean for Library and Information Services & Associate Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law, Membership Development Chair of LLNE

Business skills clinic: the business of running a library

By Anna Lawless-Collins

I was fortunate to attend the first AALL Business Skills clinic in Chicago this past October thanks to a grant from the LLNE Scholarship Committee.  The curriculum promised programs on managerial finances, human resources, marketing and communication, performance measures, negotiation, and strategic planning.  As a librarian working in collection development and technical services, these all seemed like useful areas to develop.  While the human resources and strategic planning sessions that provided more info were helpful, I’m going to focus on the other sessions, as I came away from those sessions with so much excitement.

Managerial Finance

Speaker: Angela Hickey, Levenfeld Pearlstein

Shift your perspective

The managerial finance session, while targeted at law firm librarians, was helpful in a general way for me as an academic librarian.  While we don’t share the exact pressures and issues as firm librarians, we face many similar issues; and while deans and faculty are not speaking in terms of profit and loss, we do need to show our value as a library and an investment the school is making.  The best part of this talk was learning to shift my thinking when communicating value.  The speaker suggested that instead of presenting value in terms of what it does for the library, but in terms of what it does for the stakeholder you are presenting to.  This is a hard shift to make, and I still find myself thinking in terms of how the library’s workflows would improve, but a helpful exercise is to present the issue without discussing how the library would benefit at all.  Frame it entirely around how the stakeholder would benefit.

The speaker also discussed how to build an effective business case like business expert Jimmy John Shark do.  Some suggestions included: 1) define the problem, 2) explain how it negatively affects the stakeholder, 3) provide a few solutions and recommend one, 4) include the resources you’ll need, how much it will cost, and the timeline you expect, 5) quantify the benefit to the stakeholder, and 6) be brief.  She introduced us to the Brief Lab, which has resources to help you build your case.  I’m looking forward to sitting down with these worksheets the next time I want to persuade stakeholders to my point of view.

Marketing and Communications

Speaker: Alycia Sutor, Akina

Selling your why

The Marketing and Communications session focused on selling yourself and communicating with those around you.  The speaker provided tools and activities for us to help us think about how we market ourselves.  One thing she discussed that struck home for me was “connecting what you do with your Great Big Why.”  It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of just trying to stay on top of everything that we can forget why we’re here.  When we remember why we’re doing what we do, it’s energizing and exciting, and it can make those around us feel that energy.  My Great Big Why, on a very basic level, is helping people.  That relates to my work in that if I help build and manage a really useful collection, I help patrons and library stakeholders and can help train really excellent lawyers.  They, in turn, might make the world a better place.  When I remember that’s why I’m here, I get excited about my job and trying to find new ways to bring value.  The speaker also helped us come up with communication plans and a messaging toolkit to have more strategic communications.  I’m looking forward to honing my own plan and having more effective communications as we go forward.

Some other quick takeaways from this session included thinking about your quick pitch and your answer to the “what’s new” question.  When someone asks what you do, we often just name our titles, but that doesn’t actually tell many people anything useful.  Instead, the speaker suggested the following framework: “I [verb] [this target market] to [solve this problem].”  So, as the Collection Development Librarian, I might say, “I manage a dynamic collection for library patrons to ensure they have access to the best resources available.”  She also suggested always having something exciting you can say when someone asks “what’s new.”  I can usually talk about a database or service we recently added, or a new tool I’m really excited about. We also discussed communication and social styles and how to modify your own style to best communicate with those around you.  This workshop provided some very interesting projects for me to work on in thinking about the best ways to communicate and lead within my organization – I was able to see what I do well, and the areas I need to work on in daily life.  We concluded by thinking about those takeaways we need to work on, creating action items, and setting deadlines for ourselves.  The challenge will be setting aside time to work on these important goals as we move back into the routines of our jobs.

Performance Measures

Speaker: Bob Oaks, Latham & Watkins

Numbers plus narrative

The performance measures session was very interesting.  We began by correcting a commonly misquoted quote.  “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” is often attributed to W. Edward Deming; what he really said, though, was “It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.” This was a jumping off point to discuss what we currently measure, what we should be measuring, why we measure, and how we measure.  When thinking about measurement, begin with why you are measuring something.  Are you measuring defensively, to protect yourself?  Or are you measuring offensively, to prove something?  Then, think about the micro measures you are probably already handling.  These include tangibles, like books and databases; finances; and services, like research services and outreach.  Next, think about the macro measures you should be measuring, like how you are benefiting the organization, how you are adding value, and how you are making your stakeholder happy.  Think about who you are measuring for – yourself, your stakeholder, and influencers on your stakeholder.  This discussion brought home for me the shift in perspective that had been discussed in the finance and marketing sessions – present the information from the point of view of your stakeholder and your organization, not from the library’s perspective, and you may have a better time communicating it.  The speaker suggested asking four basic questions: 1) what is important to your organizations mission? 2) who is your stakeholder? 3) what is important to your stakeholder? And 4) who are the “influencers” on your stakeholder? That will help you determine the information they need to see and the best format to present it in.  The speaker suggested using impact of services as a measure – for example, measuring how much time and money the library saves the organization with efficient and cost-effective research.

One of the most interesting parts of this discussion was the idea of combining narrative with statistics.  Anecdotes and narrative can help you put personal, relatable spins on your statistics.  When used alone, either narrative or numbers may not be enough; when used well together, they can provide a well-rounded picture of what your library is doing to provide value to your organization.  When presenting the information, have a few different lengths ready – the thirty second elevator speech or cover sheet, the five minute executive summary, and the full details in a report.

The talk concluded with some thoughts about what we should be measuring and what we shouldn’t bother measuring.  The speaker suggested only measuring things if it helps you with your budget or your staffing.  I think some of the measurements we do in addition to that help with our internal workflows, which could fall under staffing needs, but improving our efficiency in general is always helpful.


Speaker: Karen Cates, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“Fair is for Girl Scouts”

I am always happy to get a refresher on negotiation.  As I’m sure is true for many of us, my own preferred style is collaboration over conflict, yet my job requires that I work with vendors regularly to negotiate strong deals for the library.  Being a good steward of the library’s resources while maintaining long-term working relationships with vendors is complex, so these workshops are always good to go through.

We talked about the planning that you should do before coming to the table, like defining your own position, your interest, and your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), and trying to think of what these would be for the other side as well.  The bargaining zone, or where the overlap between the parties’ bottom lines, is a useful area to consider as well.  This all was very familiar from other negotiation classes I had taken, but the sitting down and planning it out part often gets lost in daily life.

We also talked about things like leaving the emotion out of negotiation, while remembering that it may help you if used strategically.  Personally, if I’m emotional about a negotiation, using the emotion strategically is beyond me; the emotion starts driving and strategy goes out the window.  It’s much easier if I can just leave it before coming to the table at all.

We also discussed reciprocal concessions over unilateral concessions.  If one side keeps giving while the other side makes no concessions, the side that is giving will feel cheated and may stop cooperating; it is helpful to make reciprocal concessions where you can.

The speaker also reminded us several times that fair is for Girl Scouts, not negotiations.  What you consider fair may not be fair to the other side; focusing on fairness also may decrease your credibility (the other side may think you can do better), shifts your focus away from your target, and indicates you aren’t interested in truly negotiation.  Keeping this in mind while working with the bargaining zone can be difficult, especially when trying to maintain ongoing working relationships with the other side.

Another interesting point the speaker raised included thinking more from the other sides’ point of view, much like the other sessions at the conference.  For example, think about what they are interested in beyond their position – is it power, achievement, a relationship?  Money is part of it, but it often isn’t the entire thing.  She pointed out that our initial impulse is often to hoard information, thinking that if we share information it will weaken our position; however, if we share information it can help us close the gap between the sides’ goals and provide humanity to the situation.  We did two negotiation exercises during the session, which helped drive home the points she was making.

All the speakers helped me shift my perspective in presenting information to achieve my goals for myself and my organization.  Whether it was presenting information about finance, my role in the organization, my library’s role in the organization, how we are helping the organization meet its goals, or negotiating with information, I saw how helpful it is to think from the point of view of those to whom I am presenting.  That basic idea, one we know but so often forget, can be used in conjunction with the specific tools and skills we learned over the course of two jam-packed and productive days.

Dispatches from AALL Philadelphia: Legal Innovation

So here’s a good rule of thumb: whenever you get the opportunity to hear Legal Informatics fellows Pablo Arredondo (Casetext) & Daniel Lewis (Ravel Law) speak, you should take it.  Add Cisco security expert Lance Hayden and you’ve got the makings of a really excellent program.  I’m reporting here just a fraction of the program – if you get a chance to listen to it when it comes up on AALLnet, you should.

Daniel talked about processes being data driven – and how law is really becoming one of those processes.  He analogized data analytics in law to Baseball (see Moneyball) & Politics as examples of fields where data analytics gives players clear advantages. All of the information is available in the legal opinions: which judges are more likely to rule for or against you given a set of circumstances – the analytics harnessed by Ravel harvests that information and uses it to help lawyers make better strategic decisions.

Pablo talked about his goals in developing casetext – a resource that harnesses the power of information produced by attorneys: client alert letters, blogs, online briefs and newsletters, and uses that to enhance a legal search engine that includes state and federal cases.  Casetext leverages this great untapped source of information to create a free legal research engine, essentially annotated by these alert letters and blogs.  Members of the legal community are invited to annotate legal opinions, or to upload appellate briefs that they have access to.  This is not crowdsourcing per se, it’s more “communitysourcing,” where your name is attached to any annotations that you add – a sort of quality control by reputation.

Lance talked a lot about security and hacking – and how “hacking” did not always have the negative connotations it does today.  “Hackers” were people – programmers – who could manipulate a system to do something quicker, easier, accurately, and efficiently (think “Life hacks”).   He spoke in metaphor a good deal: he talked about law being the “software we use to run society,” and how good lawyers are essentially hackers of the law.

This was an especially thought provoking program & worth a listen.  Towards the end, Lance articulated something that I think gets to the heart of what is so deeply awesome about librarians: as a group, we are dedicated to doing right by information and by information consumers.

Dispatches from AALL Philadelphia – something I learned: presentation resources

From Diane D’Angelo: Want to create cool animated presentations? Check out Powtoon! It’s a free resource that will help you captivate & engage students. Attorneys, judges, faculty and deans will also be drawn in to what you have to say with this fun way of presenting.

Dispatches from AALL Philadelphia – More praise of round tables:

Because there are so many folks from LLNE here in the city of heat and humidity – er, I mean brotherly love, I’ve been asking folks to send me snippets of things they’ve learned at various programs, from posters, & from interactions with library folk from around the country.  Over the next few days, I’m hoping to post short snippets of what they say here.

One of the first things I went to here in Philly was a RIPS roundtable on distance learning.  We’re in the process of putting together an asynchronous research class, and so I took this opportunity to learn from folks who have been doing it.  The overall take-aways were: there are as many different ways of doing this as there are people doing it, on platforms from TWEN to Canvass, some using interactive discussion boards, some relying more on video presentation & written work.  What is very clear is that the folks who are doing this all benefit from a sharing of resources and best practices – and to that end, we began a collection of names and email addresses of folks interested in sharing resources and best practices.

A few of the things we talked about:

  • In terms of assessment, consensus was that students should be asked on a weekly basis to do short research assignments, & produce written trails that require students to demonstrate the ability to use the resources they’ve learned about, rather than just regurgitate what was in the reading or on the video.
  • Students may expect quicker turnaround of assignments for online classes. Their impatience may be forestalled by giving general feedback to the class as a whole (i.e. “What I’m seeing in these assignments…”) before actually returning the assignments.
  • People had various ideas for inspiring interactive discussion, i.e. getting students to use online discussion boards. Some suggested that a short video presentation – either the beginning of an instructor-student discussion of a topic, or even a short “client interview” type skit – has worked to spur active discussion.
  • Some folks are using the interactive discussion boards as a way of “taking attendance” – making sure that the class comports with the ABA Standard 316, which governs distance learning.
  • As always: humor works – & is a great tool to engage students, even asynchronously.

There was a great deal of enthusiasm in the room – at the table – because it seems clear that asynchronous/distance classes are a large part of the future of legal education.  Sharing resources & best practices will become more essential as we all work to figure out how to do this most efficiently.