Academic Law Library Director Status Since the Great Recession: Strengthened, Maintained, or Degraded?
Law Library Journal, Vol. 112, p. 117, 2020
19 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 29, 2020
Concern about the status of law firms, law schools, and law libraries has been discussed widely since the economic crisis that began in December 2007. Scholars have debated whether some law schools will—or should—close, merge, or implement other changes. This dialogue has considered a variety of underlying reasons for the various changes. In this article we continue the conversation by examining changes in law schools that have occurred since late 2007 resulting in part from the economic downturn and from advances in technology. Our particular focus is on the status of law library directors. We view the status of law library directors as one indicator among many signifying the well-being of law schools and their libraries. In short, we ask: How has the employment status of academic law library directors changed since the Great Recession?
We begin with an overview of the legal industry and related institutions, compiled from American Bar Association (ABA) reports, legal scholarship, and legal news sources. Following that, we detail changes that have occurred in law libraries and among law library directors, finding a 25 percent decrease in tenure-track directorships and trending degraded status of new directorships. Finally, we turn to data analysis to explore the impact of these changes.
Keywords: law library directorships; law school library directors; director status; director tenure; law school mergers; law school closure
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