AALL has published its 13th Salary Survey which the AALL Press Release describes as “ the only comprehensive, comparative salary information designed by and for legal information professionals at law schools, law firm/corporate law offices and government law libraries. “
In recent weeks there has been a rash of positive stories about the demand for librarians despite the canard that Google had made the jobs of information professionals irrelevant. The Wall Street Journal
Only last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story Google Smoogle, Reference Librarians are Busier than Ever and two weeks ago Pearson the educational publisher released a study predicting an increased demand for librarians through 2030.
AALL’s salary survey confirms that despite the serious disruptions in law firm staffing and the drop in law school enrollments, jobs for information professionals remain steady and is increasing in some environments.
Print vs electronic
Although all types of libraries: academic, firm and government have made a dramatic shift from print to digital resources in the past 10 years, the shift has been most dramatic in law firms. The survey also shows that law firms spend on average three times more than academic libraries on digital resources.
What is happening in Law Firms?
Salaries for chief knowledge officers (CKOs) and chief library officers (CLOs) in private law firms jumped 32.1 percent from 2015 to $191,000. The one problem with the survey is that mega-firms are under- represented. While the survey is showing a positive employment and salary trend- it does not include data from the majority for ALM 100 firms. According to the data, only 5 firms with 450+ attorneys responded to the survey. I attribute this low response rate to the structure of the survey which is designed for organization with a single location not for organizations with dozens for even hundreds of locations across the US or around the world.
The data also confirms that law firm librarians are responding to market demands to efficient organizations delivering high value services. An increase in the number of professionals reflects the demand for complex research, competitive intelligence and knowledge management support. The data shows a decline in paraprofessionals in law firm libraries reflecting the elimination of low value administrative activities as libraries “climb the value chain,” as predicted by Jordan Furlong in his 2013 PLL Summit keynote.
How to Purchase the Survey The 146 page report in digital format is free for all AALL Members. Non members can purchase print copies for $250. Information available on the AALL website.