AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / November/December 2019 / Volume 24, No. 2

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | AALL SPECTRUM 27 "I want to see that individuals can be creative, take initiative, and come up with solutions, efficiencies, and new ways to contribute to the organization." Patrick H. Butler tools to support the firm and provide it with a competitive edge. After joining AALL in 2012, Butler has been active on a number of committees, including the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Committee and Jury Chairs, and as the chair and member of the Leadership Development Committee, to name a few. He has also been a board member of the Computing Services Special Interest Section (SIS), active in the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals SIS, and a member of the Social Responsibilities SIS. He is currently serving as vice president of the Minnesota Association of Law Libraries and is a former board member of the Southern New England Law Librarians Association. Here, Butler discusses how he determines what products are a good fit for his firm, the value AALL has had in his career, and what skills he looks for in new hires. How do you assess whether a product is a good fit for your firm? There are so many factors, but first it's import- ant to understand what are the needs of the firm. I try to get to know each practice area by attending practice group meetings and speak- ing to attorneys informally about the work that they're doing. I also learn a lot just from doing research with them. This helps me understand their needs and some of the issues that they're facing. I also consider the effectiveness, the value of the product, and whether it's going to provide us as a firm with a competitive advantage and a strong return on investment. I also consider whether people will use it or not. For example, if there is a steep learning curve, it's pretty unlikely that the tool will be adopted. People just don't have the time to learn new products that are complicated. Discuss your role in assessing and purchasing technology products. It's my job, first of all, to pay attention to what's out there. It can almost be a full-time job to keep up with new and existing resources because of continuous development and new innovative products. As I learn about the products, I con- tinuously assess their value in general as well as their potential value for the firm and for the After discovering his passion for research, Butler initially decided to pursue a career as a librarian. He earned his MLS from St. John's University in New York in 2004 before pursuing a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. After earning his JD in 2011, the natural next step in his career evolution was to become a law librarian. "I didn't jump right into it," recalls Butler. "I spent a lot of time talking to people about law librar- ianship, many of whom were leaders in AALL, before making the decision to pursue law librar- ianship and not go into practice." His first professional position was as an electronic resources and reference librarian and an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law (his alma mater). After working in the academic environment for a few years, he made the switch to a private law firm. "The switch was actually circumstantial," notes Butler. "I was moving across the country for my wife's career, and my current role was the best fit for my skills. I am actually very happy I landed at a firm. I really enjoy the faster pace, new challenges, and the immediate impact I have on the success of the firm." In his role as director of research services, Butler provides in-depth legal research and analysis, industry and company reports, and links intelligence with strategy. He procures the research and analytics PATRICK H. BUTLER 3 DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH 3 LARKIN HOFFMAN 3 MINNEAPOLIS, MN

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