Category Archives: Student Information
Early in November, LexisNexis released a paper summarizing their survey of summer associates conducted last July. Summer Associates Identify Writing and Legal Research Skills Required on the Job reported on the responses of 330 summer associates working in large U.S. law firms (with over 50 attorneys).
The findings that I found most interesting were the following:
- Close to half reported spending between 50 to 100% of their time conducting legal research.
- 86% of hiring partners believe legal research skills are highly important.
- Summer associates used state and federal case law (97.3%) and state and federal statutes (87%) the most. Treatises were the most used secondary source.
- When asked what additional research skills they would like to know, the summer associates chose regulatory research (33.9%), secondary sources (27.3%), and verdicts, briefs, and dockets (24.8%) as the top three topics.
- Between 20 and 30% of summer associates would like more drafting instruction on contracts (29.7%), memo writing (28.8%), pleadings and motions (22.7%), and briefs (21.5%).
While this is just one study conducted by LexisNexis, it does give some information about the importance of legal research in the work done by summer associates.
This post could also be titled “Things You Don’t Learn in Library School.” You see, in library school, my time was spent learning all about the organization of information and learning about reference resources across a variety of subjects. Classes and workshops on book tree building were sadly lacking. Perhaps they could have offered a 3 part, non-credit seminar to cover all aspects of book tree construction. I dare say it would have been helpful because it’s not as easy as it may seem, folks.
Last year, our library student workers built the book tree, and while I did loosely monitor the construction process, I didn’t fully appreciate the challenges involved. This year, I decided to tackle the book tree construction myself due to student worker scheduling issues. The tree construction began one late afternoon with our entire library staff helping to lay the foundation and it was fun to have everyone participate. The next morning I came in determined to finish the book tree building; however, as I began layering the books, I quickly realized that I seriously have no idea how one builds a book tree. Considering I also lack any kind of structural engineering background, I feared I might build a bad book tree that could topple over. Shudder at the thought!
What would a good librarian do here? Why, research of course! I’ve got those skills in abundance, so I hopped on the information highway to search for instructions or guidelines on book tree building. Thank heavens for Pinterest and You Tube, because I quickly found some helpful tips to get this tree built properly. I’ll share a little secret here. I’m a perfectionist and because of this trait, I couldn’t build a substandard book tree. That just wouldn’t do.
Armed with tips and tricks, I approached the book tree with fresh energy and began to assemble the layers. A few hours later, and with help from a student worker to string lights, the 2016 Charlotte School of Law holiday book tree was complete.
Lessons learned from this experience: it takes A LOT of books to even build a small book tree; building a book tree is much easier with more than one person; and books of the same thickness must be used on each layer or else you end up with a lopsided tree. With all of this new found knowledge, I predict next year’s book tree will be next level amazing!