*checks mirror quickly*
Yes, I’m definitely here. I exist, I have a reflection (and am therefore also not a vampire, which is reassuring), but it seems I am actually a phantom.
An invisible law librarian.
If you look for me, I am not there. Search my employers website – I don’t exist.
And I’m not alone.
Look on the websites of law firms…I know those other law librarians are out there: fee earning, creating bulletins, researching for clients…so where are they? They’re not on the online staff lists, there’s no images of law firm librarians looking dazzlingly smart and intelligent while leaning against the shelves of books that they’ve carefully sourced and selected for their Library (a favoured pose for lawyers in corporate photos: books = smart, apparently).
But we’re just as essential to the health of the firm as any other members of staff, who get a shiny profile and “look how fab and experienced our staff are” blurb on the website.
So…why are we hidden away by our employers? Do they think that by admitting that they have employed experienced professionals to deal with specialised information, that they’re weaker than their competitors in some way? Surely it’s a great selling point to clients, to be able to say that they have people dedicated purely to finding the answers needed for all the questions that could arise?
Or do we suffer from the same problem as all other librarians: once we’ve handed over the work that we’ve done, it’s immediately forgotten that it was us that did it? That case/report/book/database just magically appeared when it was needed….
The phantom law librarians, pale ghosts in the law firm machine?
One thought on “The phantom law librarian”
We ran this very question a few weeks ago and the comments that came back for why the Admin side (AKA “non-lawyers”) was that the firm's website is a marketing tool aimed at directing clients to lawyers only. Almost all of the counter arguments questioned this limited approach both as a morale killer and a very narrow focus on the total value that a law firm brings to its clients. I tend to fall in this second group and think that firms are doing themselves a disservice by not touting all of its professionals to existing and potental clients.