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Editorial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 May 2023

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Abstract

Type
Editorial
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians

For the first time in its 53-year history, Legal Information Management (LIM) is edited by a team of two. Whether the pair of us can do half as good a job as the outgoing editor, David Wills, remains to be seen, but we aim to give it a go. From what we've seen so far editing LIM won't be easy, though, as like with many things in life there is much more to this than first meets the eye.

But before we talk about us, a few words on our esteemed predecessor. David's 11 years at the helm were undoubtably among the very best in the title's history, marked by creativity – who can forget the sporting special to mark the 2012 London Olympics? – the building up of a great base of contributors, and perfect professionalism in getting out four issues a year on top of a challenging day job managing the prestigious Squire Law Library in Cambridge. He has also been extremely helpful in briefing us on what to expect, while passing on countless tips on how to edit LIM, for which we are very grateful indeed.

But who are we? Jas Breslin will need no introduction to some of you. A former President of BIALL and Head of Research & Information Services at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, she has been involved in the world of legal information for over 25 years and has been a member of BIALL, with a couple of stints as a member of Council, for most of that time. She is also a regular contributor to the journal and has been a guest editor of LIM in the past.

Co-editor Mike Breslin – not a spooky coincidence, we are in fact married – has been a professional journalist, author and sub-editor for over 30 years, working mostly in the motorsport world but more recently also writing about travel.

Between us we hope that with Jas's knowledge of the sector and contacts and Mike's editorial experience we can put together a journal that's worthy of BIALL. But also, a journal that its members want to read. With that in mind you're invited to contact us on to let us know what you would like to read about in these pages. You're also very welcome to write for us, too, because a journal is nothing without input from the industry it represents. So, if you have an idea, or a story that you would like to put down on paper, or even a strong opinion on something, then don't be shy. Get in touch.

THIS ISSUE

A new feature of this and coming issues will be a regular interview with personalities in the legal information profession, or those in a related field. We kick off with a profile of the current BIALL President, Diane Miller, who talks about why she became a law librarian, where BIALL is right now and also her hopes and concerns for the profession as a whole. It was both fun and interesting interviewing Diane for this piece, and hopefully that will be the case for those reading it, too.

Diane was also instrumental in helping to compile the Law Firm Survey, an insight into which is on page 8. The third survey of this kind, the 2022 edition contains oodles of data on a number of firms working in the legal sector, with some very interesting trends highlighted since the previous survey in 2019/20, such as a decrease in the mean budgets of libraries; a fall in the number of central libraries; an increase in the number of departmental collections/satellite libraries and, unsurprisingly, a continued migration from print to electronic resources.

Meanwhile, on page 16 Daniel Hoadley, Amy Conroy and Editha Nemsic, of Mishcon de Reya LLP, discuss Find Case Law, a new service launched by The National Archives last year, before taking a broader view on the traditional mechanisms for judgment publishing, asking how the current model might be improved – including whether it should be guaranteed and publicly funded.

Rachael Wild's article on page 24 presents a more personal perspective on the profession, explaining how she has stepped up to utilise her skills as a law librarian in becoming Programme Lead for Sustainability at Fieldfisher LLP. We think this is both a vibrant and thought provoking piece, and it's hopefully inspirational too – because the more librarians are out there taking on key roles in their organisations the better the profession appears to the wider world of work.

Continuing with the green theme, on page 28 Christine Baird introduces the all-new BIALL Sustainability Working Group, of which we're sure to hear much more about in the months and years to come, in the pages of LIM and within BIALL in general.

Elsewhere in this edition we get an insight into the world of private equity, courtesy of John Franssen, Head of Research at Travers Smith LLP (page 30). This article looks at just what this sort of work entails for information professionals in a law firm, including a breakdown of the major sources and a very handy glossary of common terms associated with this exciting business sector.

On page 21, the activities of the European Union Databases Group (EUDUG) are explained by Frederico Rocha – manager of the European Documentation Centre at Cardiff University and chair of EUDUG – and Hester Swift – Foreign and International Law Librarian, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library, and EUDUG secretary. It's an intriguing insight into a group that seems to be getting even more relevant, despite and maybe because of Brexit.

Meanwhile, on page 34, Caroline Asbjornsen reports on an enlightening panel discussion on recruitment that was recently hosted by CLIG, which looked at the current job market in the legal information sector from the perspective of hiring managers, recruitment firms and prospective employees. If you're looking for new staff, or a new job, then this is an essential read.

Finally, don't miss the first of our regular look backs at LIMs past, Raiders of the Lost Archive. In this edition, we take a peek at how things were back in 1973, when the first handheld mobile phone call was made and the work of the law librarian – as the journal was then actually called – was both a great deal more simple, yet seemingly also quite a bit more difficult. Turn to page 40 for your first dose of time travel.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Mention should be made here of the sterling work Katherine Read and Heather Memess have done in putting together the always-interesting current awareness section, which begins on page 42. We would also like to thank our colleagues on the LIM Editorial Board, especially the proof-readers, for their work on this issue, as well as our contacts at Cambridge University Press, Craig Baxter and Jamie Davidson, for their help and patience as we've pieced together our first LIM. We would also like to thank David Wills, once again, for all his help in getting us started.