Myths about Law Librarianship
Myth 1: You have to have both a law degree and a library science degree.
- All Law Library Types: 41% have both
- Law Firms/Corporations: 11% have both
- Government: 27% have both
- Academics: 61% have both
(Source: AALL 2019 Biennial Salary Survey, reporting on 2,657 individuals across 446 libraries)
Myth 2: All the jobs are at law school libraries.
Law Librarians work in a variety of organizations:
- Law Schools/Academic Institutions: 44%
- Law Firms/Corporations: 36%
- Government Libraries: 15%
- Other (vendors, consultants): 5%
(Source: AALL “By The Numbers,” sourced from AALL 2020 Membership Survey)
Myth 3: You have to live in a big city or on the east coast to get a job in the private law library sector.
Law Librarian jobs exist in small and big cities, throughout the country. Additionally, many librarians in the private sector have options to work remotely part-time or full-time depending on the organization.
Myth 4: Law Librarians only conduct legal research.
Our titles are misnomers in many settings. While the academic sector law librarians in reference and instructional roles focus on (but are not limited to) legal research, the private sector law librarians focus more on business research. In any law library setting there are opportunities for technical services, data analytics, resource management, knowledge management and a variety of other positions.
Job Search & Interview Tips
Websites and Organizations
- Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL)
- Job postings are free to view
- Join to receive notifications by listserv of new job postings
- American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
- Other AALL chapters – access at https://www.aallnet.org/community/chapters/
- Special Libraries Association (SLA) and Illinois Chapter
- Follow AALL and CALL on Twitter and LinkedIn
- American Library Association (ALA)
- Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
- Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Legal Marketing Association (LMA)
- Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
- International Legal Technology Association (ILTA)
Titles Vary – Use a Broad Search – Sample Job Titles
Competitive Intelligence Analyst
Head of Access Services and Outreach
Director of Research
Chief Knowledge Officer
Legal Information Manager
Legal Technology and Research Librarian
Business Development Research Analyst
Manager of Knowledge Services
Information Resources Coordinator
Knowledge Management Analyst
Electronic Resources Manager
The Interview and Negotiation Process
- Join CALL or AALL to be connected with a mentor who can help you with your resume and prepare you for interviews and negotiations. (CALL form; AALL Mentor Program)
- Research the organization and the individuals you’ll be interviewing with (but do not stalk on social media).
- Everything is negotiable? Depends on the organization. But think beyond salary when comparing offers or deciding whether to ask for more. Ask about vacation time, remote work options, profit-sharing, and perhaps most importantly – benefits.
- Non-Permissible Questions – know what these are – they vary by state (state department of labor websites are good resources). The most significant changes of late are restrictions on asking about past criminal history or salary history. For example, as of Jan. 1, 2020, Illinois employers can no longer require you to state your current or past salaries. It is rarely to your benefit to volunteer this information. See the Illinois Department of Labor FAQ on this new law for more details.