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Practitioners Rank Legal Research as Only Top-20 Specific Legal Skill for the "Whole Attorney"

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In a recent survey conducted by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), a wide array of legal employers ranked the legal skills and professional competencies and characteristics that they believe new lawyers most need to succeed. (There is a detailed accounting of the study’s results and an explanation of the study’s role within IAALS’s broader project in the summer 2018 edition of The Bar Examiner, pp. 17-26.) The results revealed that legal employers value foundational characteristics and competencies much more than they do foundational legal skills. 

The 20 Foundations Identified as Most Necessary in the Short Term for New Lawyers 
• Keep information confidential
• Arrive on time for meetings, appointments, and hearings
• Honor commitments
• Integrity and trustworthiness
• Treat others with courtesy and respect
• Listen attentively and respectfully
• Promptly respond to inquiries and requests
• Diligence
• Have a strong work ethic and put forth best e…

The Librarians' "Crusade" for Academic Freedom

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After recent events at the University of California - Davis, there's been an uproar surrounding college librarians and academic freedom. The uproar was created after a librarian in the UC system used a title for her presentation that an administrator colleague thought might be offensive: "Copy cataloging gets some respect from administrators."

Inspired in part by [the librarian's] cautionary tale, the [UC-Davis] union sought to include a provision in the new contract clarifying that librarians have academic freedom. Union representatives proposed in late April a guarantee of academic freedom to all librarians so that they could fulfill responsibilities for teaching, scholarship, and research. 

The union says negotiators for the system rejected the proposal . . . . Claire Doan, a spokeswoman, said UC policies on academic freedom "do not extend to nonfaculty academic personnel, including librarians . . . .UC negotiators said in July that academic freedom was…

AI in Teaching; AI in Law

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The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an article discussing how artificial intelligence is changing teaching (sub. req'd). The discussion centered around many of the same themes that we see when discussing artificial intelligence in law.

The CHE article asks the common questions: When you’ve got artificial intelligence handling work that is normally done by a human, how does that change the role of the professor? And what is the right balance of technology and teaching? Replace "professor" and "teacher" for "lawyer" and "lawyering," and you get the idea.

Like the augmenting argument for law, the argument for teaching goes: They automate some of teaching’s routine tasks, so that professors can do what no machine can — challenge and inspire students to gain a deeper understanding of what they’re learning. 

And just like the argument that law will become increasingly reliant on AI raising privacy and ethical concerns, so goes the …

Transitioning From Peer to Manager

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After transitioning to interim law library director in March 2018, I attended AALL's Leadership Academy as a Leadership Fellow, was accepted to the New Directors' pre-AALL Annual Meeting Workshop, and was selected as a university representative and Leadership Fellow in the Texas Academic Leadership Academy.
2018 has officially been the year of leadership training. 
During each of these wonderful leadership-training events, the speakers all touched on transitioning from peer to manager -- mostly noting that it was often a difficult transition. They were certainly right about that.
Continuing research into the tough transition from peer to manager led me to a 2013 Forbes article titled 8 Tips to Transition from Co-Worker to Manager. This article is particularly helpful for the practical tips it provides. 
As noted, making the move from co-worker to department manager can be a tricky transition because, as the new manager, you are responsible for the productivity and results of …

Ravel View for Lexis Advance Visually Showcases Case Data for Faster Searching

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Context: Daniel Lewis was just in his second year at Stanford Law School when he had an idea for a different way to do legal research. His idea was to display search results visually, along a cluster map that shows the relationships among cases and their relative importance to each other. Shortly after he graduated in 2012, he and classmate Nicholas Reed had launched the legal research platform derived from his idea, Ravel Law. Last June, five years after its founding, Ravel was acquired by legal research giant LexisNexis.

Ravel View for Lexis Advance is here!

In the latest iteration of Lexis's push to sift through massive amounts of data and provide meaningful results, Ravel View provides additional metrics and a visual, data-driven view for legal research results.

The programmers' constant tweaking of Lexis Advance to aid users is wonderful, but Ravel View showcases a truly innovative step in legal research visualization that meets users where they are likely to look.

The tra…

Using the Servant-Leadership Style in Law Libraries

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The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.

The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words.
When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it!’ -- Lao-Tzu

Over the past 10 years working in law libraries, I've gone from Student Circulation Assistant to Student Reference Assistant to a general Reference Librarian to a more specialized Faculty Services & Scholarly Communications Librarian to Associate Director to Interim Director. For the first 8 years or so, I spent my time honing the front-line skills necessary for exemplary library work. As I've entered middle and now upper management, there's an entirely new set of skills necessary to effectively perform these roles.

Needless to say, I've …

A Legal Framework for the "Information Apocalypse"

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In 2009, a CNN article noted that the law is "at least five years behind technology as it is developing."

In late 2016, Aviv Ovadya was one of the first people to see that there was something fundamentally wrong with the internet. A few weeks before the 2016 election, he presented his concerns to technologists in San Francisco’s Bay Area and warned of an impending crisis of misinformation in a presentation he titled “Infocalypse.”

Ovadya saw early what many — including lawmakers, journalists, and Big Tech CEOs — wouldn’t grasp until months later: Our platformed and algorithmically optimized world is vulnerable — to propaganda, to misinformation, to dark targeted advertising from foreign governments — so much so that it threatens to undermine a cornerstone of human discourse: the credibility of fact.

Ovadya — now the chief technologist for the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility and a Knight News innovation fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journ…