Skip to main content

6 degrees of legal librarianing

You know that game, 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, when you can use Kevin Bacon to link almost anyone in Hollywood in 6 steps or less?

Yes?

Well, it's got almost nothing to do with this post, but I like the idea of it :)

Anyhoo, what was it I was going to blog about...oh yes - the problem of what degree is most useful in a legal information environment. See, I knew there was some reason I'd been thinking of degrees!

Y'see, Robert Gordon University have done something rather spiffing: they've launched a distance learning Law LLB, woo-hoo! Studying is part-time as standard, and can be accelerated to full time from 2012.

Now...this is kinda tempting, because as a librarian in law firm, I'm similar to many librarians in this and other specialist areas: I don't have a degree in the subject I work in. Everything I've learned, I've either been taught by my previous or current boss (both infinitely patient in relation to daft questions), or picked up through doing the research for enquiries, and self-education in the job. I do have a degree (science), and a postgraduate diploma (information and library science), but they don't really prepare you for questions about what is a medium filum fluminis, or extinguishing a real burden, or any of the other specialist-area specific stuff.

So what you tend to find is that, if they can afford it, and can fit it into their lives, a lot of law librarians try and get some sort of legal qualification. This helps with two issues: gaining a better understanding of the foundations of what we're working with, and the processes and systems we work within. And it also helps to remind co-workers that, yes, actually, we are professionals too, just like them. You see, you could have qualifications coming out of your ears (and often, we do: Msc's, Bsc's, MAs, PGDips, Charterships), but in a law firm, to a lawyer, you're not a professional unless you have a law degree - they're the only degrees that count. And if you're not regarded as a "proper" professional, then it's far harder to get your advice and work to be taken seriously.

But there's no other option for law firm librarians than to come into law qualified in other subject areas: it's too specialised an area to have a degree or other professional qualification we can do. We come in, we learn and get on with it, and if we have time and money, we increase our qualification level by throwing in a law degree.

So obviously, I went about things the wrong way really, what you want to do is a law degree, THEN switch to being a librarian!

Now, if only I could afford to do that one at RGU...


Comments

Lizz Jennings said…
I can certainly recommend distance learning at RGU - it's a lot of work, but the staff are very supportive and seem well used to delivering content online.

Popular posts from this blog

Careering along

When I look around at the activities of information professional groups, it seems that there’s a disparity. There’s quite often a lot of support and funding available for those who’re just starting out in the profession, but a desert of nothingness for those of us who’re “just getting on with it”. If you’re a new professional, you have lots of groups to support you as you progress in your early career, various prize funds available for essay and report writing, access to bursaries for conference attendance, eligibility for awards for being new and enthusiastic. But what do you get when you’re past that bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed first 5 years (5 years seems to be the approximate cut-off point for becoming “established” and no longer new). What happens when you’ve already received a bursary from an organisation earlier in your career and so wouldn’t be eligible for one now, meaning you’re not able to attend events or training? When you’re heavily involved in a project but not at

What if you don't get back what you put in?

I am, as you may know, a member of CILIP, the professional body for information professionals. There are two main reasons I'm a member. I am a Chartered librarian, and I take my commitment to maintaining this visible badge of my professionalism seriously. I have revalidated my Chartership within the previous assessment system, and I have submitted my Revalidation within the new system. To continue being a Chartered librarian, I must be a member of CILIP (although currently the commitment to continue to revalidate my Chartership is voluntary, and has been so for the length of my membership since approximately 2001). So I continue to be a member. I am a registered CILIP Mentor, and I help to guide those information professionals who are keen to be professionally qualified through the Chartership/professional qualifications process. I could not abandon midway through that process the people who are looking to me for guidance in their professional development. So I continue to be

Library words

Putting words about libraries and books onto posters is very popular, so there's all sorts of options out there. These items are here because they have a quote or slogan about libraries or books printed on them. There's one quote in particular that seems to be a favourite of poster makers: see if you can spot which one it is.... Library bird (ok, it's a magnet, but hey...) Print Print Print Print Digital printable Hand-lettered quote Print Linocut block print Vinyl wall sticker Print Letterpress print Digital printable Print Print Linocut print Print Print