Thursday, August 04, 2005

Law Student Approach to Legal Research & Selling Law Library Services to Students

Okay, I promise not to overly cross-pollinate work between here and Slaw. However, this article is brilliant and everyone should read it: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse: A Law Student's Perspective on Developing Legal Information Literacy by Pamela Seguin, reprinted from CALL's Canadian Law Library Review and kindly posted by Nick Pengelley.

As the title states, this article discusses the ways in which law students learn to research. The importance of law librarians and the law library are discussed. An excerpt:

I believe that law librarians are a highly important, but under-utilized resource. The reality is that most students would not know a law librarian if one knocked them over the head with the Income Tax Act. Many students have no idea that law librarians usually have a law degree or specialized expertise in legal research.

It behooves us, as law librarians, to let students know our qualifications and how we can help in their research and in their careers. The trick is how to do that. Seguin discusses this in the context of the academic law librarian, but not specifically in the students' workplace such as law firm.

In law firms, law librarians are part of the articling student orientation process to varying degrees. This is really our first point of contact with students and, if they learn nothing else, they should be given the first inkling of how we can play an important role in their lives.

The next trick will be to remind them of this later in the process, especially as they become associates and partners. Recently in our firm, as our articling students left for the summer, we sent out a reminder to lawyers from the library that we are available to help with research. Now, this would seem obvious; however, it is amazing how many people jumped on the opportunity to bring us work. And billable client work at that (which is a bonus). Perhaps people who are already so busy need to be reminded now and then that we are willing and available to help.

Anyway, do read the article. I'm sure you will find other discussion that speaks to you.

No comments: