If you know anything at all about Andy Zimmerman, it probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that before embarking on his 15-year (to date) law library career, Andy was a legal writer. He began his writing endeavors while a law student at Fordham, giving up a job as a library filer for more scholarly pursuits. One of his early jobs, with Matthew Bender, involved writing case annotations for Moore’s Federal Practice. After graduating with his J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law, Andy wrote for Prentice-Hall Tax and Professional Practice (a division of P-H Law and Business) for about 5 years, and also free-lanced. After earning his library degree at Pratt Institute, he worked in law firms in New York (Proskauer Rose and Dewey Ballantine) and Cleveland (the former Arter & Hadden), then moved to Maryland, where he was librarian at the Baltimore office of Hogan & Hartson before becoming Director of Library Services at Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger, and Hollander.
It was while employed at Proskauer Rose, and keeping a set of research notes to help him in his everyday work, that Andy conceived the idea which eventually developed into Zimmerman’s Research Guide. With support from his library director, Andy connected with LLRX, and his writings evolved from a set of in-house notes for his and his colleagues’ use into one of the earliest legal reference works in online database form. Now hosted by LexisNexis, the guide currently averages 37,000 site visits per month. His frequent updates and additions to the Guide can be followed on Andy’s ZRG blog and on the Guide’s Facebook page.
Andy has been observing the changes in legal publishing from various perspectives since his days at Prentice-Hall. He notes the continuing contraction of the legal publishing industry, the increasing complexity of purchasing decisions, and the bifurcation of the legal information world, where “so much is becoming free, when so much else is becoming more expensive.” Another of Andy’s contributions to the growth of current and reliable legal information on the Web was his article (co-written with Trevor Rosen) “Is there a Future for an e-USC?” which appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Law Library Lights. This article, as well as Andy’s discussions with Peter LeFevre of the House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC), likely influenced the launch of OLRC’s USCPrelim, a pilot project to update the online version of some titles of the United States Code on an ongoing basis – a first step toward the creation of an unofficial-but-nearly-current edition of the USC similar to the e-CFR. For more information on USCPrelim and Andy’s contribution to its development, see the Law Librarian Blog posting of September 29, 2010.
Andy says: “I would like to leave the information world a better place.” He has already made a pretty good start on that!
When not writing research guides or his blog, Andy enjoys road biking and playing guitar. He lives in Baltimore County with his wife, a professor of religion at George Mason University, and his teenage daughter.