Evidence A: Collection Management

Library 266

Collection Management

Evaluation & Professional Resource Collection

For a Law School Library

Section: Legal Career Guides

Introduction

The University of San Diego is a prominent, private Catholic institution built on 180 acres of in the heart of Southern California, overlooking Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Its architecture is Spanish-renaissance inspired.

It was first built in 1949 with an adapted mission statement of advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community, and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service” added in 2004. In the fall of 2013, the university had 5,665 undergraduate students and 1,774 graduate and paralegal students, as well as 882 law students.

The University of San Diego School of Law prides itself on the “excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs.” They enroll approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from the United States and around the world each school year. The law school focuses on curriculum offerings in “the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.” Their School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

The University of San Diego also offers an ABA-approved Paralegal Program, offering a quality education to people that want to find a job in the legal profession or pursue a career in law. The paralegal profession is growing at a rapid rate. According to the Bureau of Labor StatisticsOccupational Outlook Handbook, an 18% growth in the profession is projected between 2010 and 2020. After graduating the program, students are prepared to work with attorneys in the private or public sector, in law firms, banks, corporations and government agencies. One of their required courses is Legal Research where the bulk of coursework is done in the law library. Their website links to several resources for paralegals. They also offer employment assistance for on average 250 to 300 paralegal students who graduate from their program each year through resume workshops, resume mailings, and job listings.

Pardee Legal Research Center (LRC) serves both the USD School of Law and the Paralegal Program by offering another avenue for career guidance through library materials.

Per their library policy, the LRC “serves the law school, the university and the community as a legal research facility.” Their extensive collection includes reference materials, multi-volume sets, serials (including statutes and reporters), tax materials, periodicals, looseleafs, and microforms, most of which do not circulate. Its mission statement is to “support the curriculum and programs of the law school, support the university in the pursuit of its mission, promote the advancement of legal scholarship, and meet the legal information needs of the university community.” Its priority is to serve its law students and faculty first and foremost.

The law library collection policy identifies 4 collection levels: basic works and reference materials that introduce and defines the subject, instructional support for law school curriculum including sustained areas of independent study but not in-depth research, research level specifically major published source materials necessary for advanced scholarly research such as journals and journal databases, and supporting patrons by providing materials out of the scope of their collections via interlibrary loan services.

Their collection development policy describes their evaluation factors for prospective purchases such as potential for use, authoritativeness, format, and price. It also describes their format selection guidelines such as ease of use, instruction value, and trends in legal information publishing.

The types of materials includes primary sources, secondary sources, Restatements, finding aids and reference tools, legal periodicals, newspapers, practice materials, self-help law books, and student hornbooks and study aids. Other materials include casebooks, continuing legal education materials, directories, law faculty writings, and law school related documents. Legal career is one of their listed subject areas although they do not specifically offer instructional or research assistance. Paralegal Studies materials are supplemented by the USD Paralegal Program purchases.

An online catalog search for library materials about legal career guides or assistance generated 652 results for items in the library and 202 online resources.  There were 354 print books, 272 microform books, 187 E-books, 20 DVDs, 14 E-Journals, and several serials. The bulk of the results were in the English language, with 4 in French, 1 in German, 1 in Slovenian and 1 in Spanish.

One of the top results includes “The legal career guide: from law school lawyer” by Gary A. Munneke and Ellen Wayne, printed in 2008 by the American Bar Association. Another top result is “Managing your legal career: best practices for creating the career you want” by Richard L. Hermann, published in 2010 by the American Bar Association. Many of the titles seem to be published by the American Bar Association such as “Careers in International Law,” edited by Salli Anne Swartz (2012), “Landing a federal legal job: finding success in the U.S. government job market” by Richard L. Hermann (2011), and “Careers in administrative law & regulatory practice,” edited by James T. O’Reilly (2010) . There is also “Biglaw: how to survive the first two years of practice in a mega-firm, or, the art of doc review” by Sarah Powell, published by Carolina Academic Press in 2013. Kaplan Publishing, American Society of International Law, and Harcourt Legal & Professional Publications are other common publishers upon looking at titles.

If the patron expands their results to the San Diego Circuit, the results generate 475 results. If the patron expands their search to Worldcat, there are 34,840 results.

Evaluation

There is a lack of paralegal specific career guides in the library. Given that the USD Paralegal Program supplements the collection in that area, there is a surprising lack of titles. Under the subject term Legal Assistants –- Vocational Guidance – United States lists 5 items whereas Law – Vocational Guidance – United States lists 134 items. A general search of ‘legal career’ brings up 191 results;

The 5 items available for paralegals are “Fifty legal careers for non-lawyers” by Ursula Furi-Perry, published by the American Bar Association in 2008. Its contents describe positions available for those with paralegal training as well as general administrative or management positions in legal offices and for skilled non-lawyers. The second title is a practical handbook entitled “How to land your first paralegal job: an insider’s guide to the fastest-growing profession of the new millennium” by Andrea Wagner, published by Prentice Hall in 2001. The third title is “Paralegal Careers” by Angela Schneeman, published by West Legal Studies/Thomson Learning in 2000. It contains an introduction to the paralegal profession, education recommendations, and types of employers, salaries and benefits, along with other helpful career information. The cost of the book is $270. The fourth title is “Introduction to paralegalism: perspectives, problems, and skills” by William P. Statsky, published by West Publishing Company in 1997. The cost from the publisher without any discount is $232.95. The fifth title is “Life outside the law-firm: non-traditional careers for paralegals” by Karen Treffinger, published by Delmar Publishers in 1995. This title is no longer in print so no price could be located. Each of them is a print book and two of the titles are over 13 years old.

A more general search for paralegal-related titles generates results of 95 materials available in the library and 8 available online. The titles are on topics such as paralegal ethics, common practices, legal research, or paralegal education. Of the 95 titles, nearly half (45) are personal professor copies available only on course reserve. Graduates or non-student or non-faculty would not have access. None of the titles are practical guides or handbooks on career-related issues or resources such as interviewing, resume writing, or employer listings.

“The 2013 Legal Assistant’s Complete Desk Reference: A handbook for Paralegals and Assistants” by Ursula Furi-Perry, published by ABA Book Publishing would be a useful title for the LRC. It explores career opportunities for paralegals and day-to-day duties. The cost is $199.95. Cengage Learning owns DelMar Publishing. They offer a few legal career titles such as “Career Opportunities in Law and the Legal Industry” by Susan Echaore-McDavid, published in 2010 as an e-book. The cost is $54.45. The book contains a section on paralegals and legal assistants.

Professional Tools

The bulk of the top law library vendors are primarily research databases or online journal-based. Lexis Nexis, Access Law, American Law Media, Westlaw, and Translex are a few of the more popular resources. Other resources like Bloomberg BNA and Ashgate Law focus on academic textbooks and products for professionals that would be more ideal as research or reference works.

Many of the vendors focus on databases or journals so print or e-books on career guidance would not be something they would offer. One of the top publishers for printed materials is the American Bar Association. The ABA advertises directly to law libraries to strengthen their library collections with their annual print subscriptions, award-winning ABA magazines, journals, newsletters, books, and CLE products. They also offer discounts to libraries via its Law Library Collection.

The ABA has an extensive catalog of career path resources. Other possible resources are Aspen Law, which has a section on paralegal education. Most of the titles relate to performing paralegal job functions such as legal research, and assisting in fields such as litigation, contracts or real estate law. One of their published titles is “Internships through Employment: The Paralegal Job Hunter’s Handbook” which costs $65.95.

Thomson Legal & Regulatory, also known as Thomson Reuters, is owned by Westlaw. They are recognized as a leading provider of legal solutions to law schools. They offer Continuing Legal Education (CLE) materials for continuing education and professional career development. The materials are available online. They also offer legal academic resources for law students. Their catalog includes over 5,000 law books and CDs.

Summary & Recommendations


There are hundreds of titles regarding legal careers in the law library although many are general advice guidebooks and many others are bibliographic in nature, deeper looks at past judges such as Rufe McCombs or lawyers such as Johnnie L. Cochran. Books like “Guerilla tactics for getting the legal job of your dreams” by Kimm Alayne Walton, published by Harcourt Brace Legal and Professional Publications in 1995 are on par with the DVD title “The trials of law school: a journey in law, a journey in life,” produced by Porter Heath Morgan in 2006 and e-books such as “Full Disclosure: the new lawyer’s must-read career guide” by Christen Civiletto Carey in 2001. There are a handful of journals available such as “National Directory of legal employers” from the National Association for Law Placement.

 

There are few titles in the LRC collection related to the career of paralegals, and the ones that are in the collection are print books rather than more relevant e-books, journals or online-databases.

 

Although paralegal students are given access to the law library (with an extensive and updated collection of materials) just as law students, it seems the library collection policy or budget doesn’t include purchasing items solely for them. It is the Paralegal Program purchasing or providing materials, the bulk of which go on course reserves.

Although the Paralegal Program is small, with an average of three hundred students each school year, they should receive proper materials related to their field including career guidance. The LRC should work with the Paralegal Program faculty to put together a list of recommended and appropriate titles regarding career guidance to purchase for student use. Perhaps the LRC could obtain a discount from vendors for the Paralegal Program. A “wish list” is recommended since the average cost of legal titles may be prohibitive even with discounts from vendors or publishers and items could be purchased as budget allows, with priorities named as needed.

Resources Used:

USD Mission Statement http://www.sandiego.edu/about/mission-and-vision.php

About USD http://www.sandiego.edu/about/

About Copley Library http://www.sandiego.edu/library/about/

Collection Development Policy http://www.sandiego.edu/library/about/policies/coll_dev.php

School of Law http://www.sandiego.edu/law/school/about/index.php

USD Paralegal Program http://www.sandiego.edu/paralegal/

About USD Paralegal Program http://www.sandiego.edu/paralegal/about/gainful_employment_disclosure.php

LRC Circulation Policy http://www.sandiego.edu/law/library/policy-and-admin/library-policies/circulation.php

LRC Collection Policy http://www.sandiego.edu/law/library/policy-and-admin/library-policies/collection.php

http://www.sandiego.edu/law/documents/library/collection_policy.pdf

LRC Mission Statement http://www.sandiego.edu/law/library/about/mission-statement.php

American Bar Association Publications http://www.americanbar.org/publications1.html

ABA Law Library Publications http://www.americanbar.org/publications1/discount_pricing_for_libraries.html

Law Library Vendors http://www.hg.org/publishers.html

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