Law librarians generally need to have strong research and analytical skills, as well as a good understanding of legal terminology and concepts. They should be able to use a variety of legal research resources, including print and electronic databases, to find and analyze legal information. In addition to research skills, law librarians should have excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage and maintain a large collection of legal materials. They should also be comfortable using technology, such as computer databases and legal research software. Good communication skills are also important for law librarians, as they may be called upon to provide reference assistance to library patrons and to work with colleagues and staff.
If you have an interest in the law and enjoy conducting research and helping others find information, law librarianship might be a good fit for you. It’s also important to consider whether you are comfortable working in a library setting and are able to adapt to new technologies as they emerge.
Law Librarian Career Paths
Law librarians may work in a variety of settings, including law firms, courts, government agencies, and academic institutions. They may also work in private libraries or consulting firms. Within these settings, law librarians may have the opportunity to advance to leadership roles, such as department head or director of a law library. Some law librarians may also choose to specialize in a particular area of the law, such as intellectual property or tax law.
Law librarians may also choose to pursue additional education, such as a juris doctor (JD) degree, to further their careers. With a JD, law librarians may be able to practice law or teach law at the postsecondary level.
It’s important for law librarians to stay current with developments in the field and new legal research resources and technologies. Continuing education opportunities, such as conferences and workshops, can help law librarians maintain their skills and knowledge and advance their careers.
Where do law librarians usually work?
Law librarians may work in a variety of settings, including:
- Law firms: Law librarians may work in a law firm to manage and organize the firm’s legal research materials and provide reference assistance to attorneys and other staff.
- Courts: Law librarians may work in a court setting, such as a state or federal court, to manage the court’s legal research collection and provide reference assistance to judges, clerks, and other court staff.
- Government agencies: Law librarians may work in a government agency, such as a state attorney general’s office, to manage the agency’s legal research collection and provide reference assistance to attorneys and other staff.
- Academic institutions: Law librarians may work in a college or university law library to manage the library’s legal research collection and provide reference assistance to faculty, students, and other staff.
- Private libraries: Some law librarians may work in a private library, such as a corporate or nonprofit library, to manage the library’s legal research collection and provide reference assistance to staff.
- Consulting firms: Law librarians may work for a consulting firm to conduct legal research on behalf of clients.
Law librarians may work full-time or part-time, and may be employed on a permanent or temporary basis. Some law librarians may also be self-employed and work on a freelance basis.