LLAM’s 2011 Annual Meeting Grant Recipient Reports on AALL in Philadelphia

By Thea C. Warner
Niles, Barton & Wilmer

As the recipient of the AALL/LLAM Grant, I was able to attend the entire AALL Annual Conference and Meeting in  Philadelphia this summer. I found this to be a wonderful opportunity. My adventure began with the train ride from Baltimore to Philadelphia on Friday, July 22nd; Amtrak trains were delayed throughout the northeast corridor due to the extreme heat. Luckily, I arrived in time to attend part of the PLL-SIS welcome reception that evening at the Union League Club of Philadelphia. I attended the PLL Change as Action Summit on Saturday and have written a separate article about the experience. The Summit was followed by the Exhibit Hall Ribbon Cutting/Opening Reception. Attendees had the opportunity to sample some local fare (including soft pretzels, philly cheesesteak and Tastycake products) and there was ample time to visit exhibitors and to network with colleagues.

Conference programming began Sunday morning with the Opening General Session/Keynote Speaker. Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate, gave a very engaging and informative talk on the Supreme Court and current free speech issues. Following the opening session, I made a last minute decision to attend the Animal Law Caucus Presentation at noon (I had somehow forgotten to sign up for the PLL-SIS luncheon when I registered for AALL and it was full by the time I realized this). Dr. James A. Serpell gave a very interesting talk entitled “The Development of Human Attitudes Toward Animals and Animal-Assisted Therapeutic Interventions.”

Sunday afternoon was filled with interesting programs. I selected “Delaware: The First State for Corporation Law” for the first session and followed this with “Electronic Resources Management (ERM) Systems Showcase.” Both proved to be good choices as much of the information the speakers presented was new to me. I closed out the day at the BNA reception which included a very nice dinner, a great view of the downtown, and many opportunities to meet new people and to network.

Monday was another full day that included programs, meetings, and time at the exhibit hall. I began the day with a PLL-SIS Program, “Through the Looking Glass: Harnessing Technology in Today’s Law Firm Library.” This session provided a very helpful overview of current technology. I attended several additional programs on Monday, including “Can the FCC Regulate the Internet?” and “To Recover or Not to Recover: Trends, Solutions and Alternatives for Taming Online Research Costs.”  At the conclusion of the programming portion of the day, I attended, for the first time, the PLL-SIS One-Person Law Libraries Group Meeting. I was pleased to have the opportunity to become involved with this group. The evening festivities were hosted by Westlaw at the Reading Terminal Market, which is closed to the public in the evenings. Many of the merchants kept their stands open so attendees were able to sample a variety of cuisines.  

Tuesday, July 26th was the final day of the conference and included programs, more opportunities to meet with vendors, and the Exhibit Hall Reception. I wrote an article for PLL Perspectives on one of the programs I attended Tuesday morning – “Getting to Yes for Your Library: Negotiating Vendor Contracts in Your Favor.” This session was sponsored by the Private Law Libraries SIS and the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. My trip home was less eventful than the one to Philadelphia, although the MARC train did break down in the tunnel shortly after leaving Penn Station. Luckily, it was not too long before the train was repaired and we were on our way! All in all, attending the entire AALL Annual Conference was an excellent experience for me, and the AALL/LLAM grant made this possible.