Libraries & Librarians
By Alan Kilpatrick
The Law Society Library is open to the public. We are a strong supporter of access to justice and improved access to legal information in Saskatchewan. We encourage you to visit our library and take advantage of our print resources and expertise.
Members of the public are welcome to use our print resources during regular business hours. However, we are not a public library and cannot lend materials out to the public. You can browse our Library Catalogue online here.
We carry thousands of current legal textbooks, loose leafs, encyclopedias and dictionaries, as well as collections of print statutes and regulations, forms and precedents, and law reporters. Our collection is a great source of legal information as it comprehensively covers every area of Canadian law. It is a valuable starting point for someone looking to obtain information about the law.
Our staff is ready to provide the public with basic legal information assistance in person, over the phone, and via email. We can teach you about conducting basic legal research, suggest resources for further learning, and, when necessary, make referrals to the appropriate organizations that provide legal advice.
Our self-service photocopiers in the Regina and Saskatoon Libraries are available to the public:
- Copies are $0.25 per page plus GST
- All copies are bound by restrictions under the Copyright Act
| What we can do for the public:
• Locate statutes, regulations or cases in print or online, as well as other materials in our collection.
• Help you learn to use the most useful online resources.
• Suggest resources for further research
Make referrals to other legal service organizations in Saskatchewan
|What we can’t do for the public:
• Provide legal advice or offer opinions on legal matters.
• Select statutes, regulations or cases for a specific situation, or interpret the meaning of them.
• Describe how to file a document or which document to file.
• Comment on how to proceed with court actions
Our Contact Information
Please do not hesitate to contact or visit us for assistance:
- Regina Library: 306-569-8030
Toll free: 1-877-989-4999
2425 Victoria Avenue
- Saskatoon Library: 306-933-5141
520 Spadina Crescent East
- Email: email@example.com
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 noon; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Evenings and weekends – closed
Holidays – closed
Some of the text was adapted from the 2016 Public Services Flyer developed by former Law Society staff member Kelly Laycock.
By Alan Kilpatrick
This talk was presented at the University of Regina Academic and Special Library Celebration Symposium on December 6th, 2018.
Good morning. I’m excited to be here to speak about law libraries, because working in a law library is an experience I’ve found to be deeply rewarding. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide some background on the Law Society Library, to talk about what I do as a law librarian, and to convey the vibrancy, variety, and complexities of modern law libraries.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan regulates Saskatchewan’s legal profession. To govern lawyers, the Law Society enforces standards for conduct and competence. The goal in regulating competence is to protect the public. While the Law Society isn’t a government organization, it’s authorized by legislation to carry out this task. Every province has a Law Society which also supports a law library system.
Organizationally, the library is part of the Law Society’s Legal Resources department. The library supports the legal information needs of all 1800 lawyers in the province, as well as the public, by providing a practitioner-focused legal collection covering every area of Canadian law, legal information services, and research assistance. We’ve also stepped into the role of publisher and database developer. Saskatchewan is too small to attract much attention from Canada’s legal publishers, so we’ve created a variety of Saskatchewan-focused legal publications and databases. We provide two staffed libraries in the Regina and Saskatoon Queen’s Bench Courthouses, as well as several unstaffed libraries in rural courthouses.
Many law libraries, including ours, have a unique funding model. Lawyers are required to be members of the Law Society and a portion of their annual fees funds the Library. We also receive an annual grant from the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, a charity that distributes interest generated by lawyer trust accounts.
Like most practitioner-focused law libraries, our mandate was historically centred on maintaining lawyer competence by ensuring lawyers had access to the resources they needed to practice. Technology has enabled law libraries to push the limits of how this is accomplished. Thanks to the leadership of past library staff, including my fellow panelist Susan Baer, the Library embarked on a desktop access model for online resources that we continue to this day. Our goal is to facilitate lawyers’ access to online legal resources no matter their location in the province. This is key as our lawyers are geographically more spread out compared to other provinces. This approach has led to some challenges. Primary law (case law and legislation) is generally available online for free. eBooks and online sources containing legal analysis are not. Canada’s legal publishers can be resistant to licencing online resources to practitioner law libraries in ways that makes sense for law libraries.
Our mandate has also grown in recent years due to the growing number of individuals representing themselves in court due to Canada’s access-to-justice crisis. This has enabled us to diversify beyond our historical role and place greater emphasis on serving the public. Helping the public has become a larger and larger priority for law libraries looking to demonstrate continued relevancy in an environment of budget reduction.
As a librarian in a small special library, I wear multiple hats: I sit on the reference desk, conduct research, help the public, lead instruction sessions, write blog posts, maintain the collection, evaluate new products, help negotiate licences, and so on. Every day is different. Like many law librarians, my day is shaped by the reference and research requests I receive. Our Saskatoon reference librarian, Ken Fox, and I provide a full range of reference services to lawyers in the province.
Lawyers information needs are practical, time sensitive, and can involve any area of the law. They are connected to a legal action or are part of a lawyer’s efforts to stay up-to-date with the law. Needs range in complexity from simpler requests to in-depth research on a point of law. The more straightforward requests I answer could involve locating a case, statute, or literature on an area of the law. I might be asked to determine sentencing ranges for a criminal offence, identify how courts have interpreted a case or statute, or trace legislative changes.
Ken and I provide in-depth legal research to lawyers as well. In this situation, a lawyer wants me to locate primary law and legal analysis that supports the argument they plan to make or the amount of damages they want to seek. I view law librarians as a part of a team effort crucial to a successful legal outcome. Research requests often take hours to complete. They’re deeply interesting as I continually learn new things about the law.
Lawyers also contact me to request instruction sessions. Like academic librarians who teach students about information literacy, law librarians teach legal research using many of the same concepts and principles present in the information literacy class. For example, I’m currently working with the Law Society’s Professional Development department to develop interactive instruction sessions to lawyers anywhere in the province using distance technology.
Our library is open to the public and I’m available to assist public patrons. Not all law libraries in Canada are open to the public. However, we encourage the public to visit and take advantage of our resources and services. Please refer your students to the Law Society Library if they’re researching the law or need legal information. We’re happy to help.
We’ve seen a growing number of the public contacting us for assistance in recent years. This includes inmates from the correctional centres. Like lawyers, members of the public have a variety of legal information needs. The most common queries I receive concern family, estates, and criminal law. How we assist public patrons differs from the assistance we provide to lawyer patrons.
I can provide general information about the law. However, I’m not a lawyer. I can’t provide legal advice, interpret the law, or comment on how to proceed with a legal action. There’s a fine line between legal information and legal advice I’m cognizant of during reference transactions with the public.
I strive to connect our public patrons with plain language legal information. A great deal of legal information, including many resources in our print and online collection, is written for lawyers. Legalese is often difficult to comprehend. Fortunately, there are organizations, such as Saskatchewan’s Public Legal Education Association, dedicated to creating legal content in plain language. A leading 2013 report, the Access to Civil and Family Justice report, identified the importance of legal information. It recognized that while more legal information is available online than ever before, its less clear what legal information is credible. Generally, many people are unaware of how to access reliable legal information relevant to their jurisdiction. This concept, of course, is central to information literacy instruction in academic libraries. It’s also one of the reasons the Law Society Library helped create the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project, a partnership among justice stakeholders and public libraries to advance access to legal information.
Law librarians have a natural role to play in helping the public locate legal information. In fact, I’ll be participating in an exciting pilot project in the new year at the Regina Public Library. Twice a month, I’ll be at the Central Branch as a law librarian on-site available to help connect the public with legal information.
Thank you. That’s it for my portion of the panel. I’ve only scratched the surface of law libraries. My contact information will be on the final slide. Please feel free to contact me by email, Twitter, or through my blog if you have any questions.
By Alan Kilpatrick
Jordan Furlong is a well-known Canadian legal writer, innovator, and futurist. Furlong spoke recently at the 2018 Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference about the future of the legal market and the role law librarians will play in that market.
Key components of the future legal market include knowledge, data, and information. Those who can harness knowledge and successfully acquire, analyze, and disseminate information to law firms will play an influential role in this new market. Legal information professionals and law librarians, Furlong asserts, are the ideal group to do this given their robust and competitive set of skills and capabilities.
The Future Legal Market
Today’s legal market is wrought by uncertainly and upheaval. From deregulation to alternative service providers, little remains certain about the provision of legal services. Furlong explains that the legal market of the future will be shaped by clients, markets, and law firms.
In the future, clients will expect faster results and more value for less money. How clients identify value will be personal and subjective. Lawyers will no longer dictate how client value is identified. The market will transform as alternative service providers begin to provide routine legal services. As clients take advantage of these cheaper alternatives, billable hours will diminish. Legal technology and artificial intelligence will become increasingly innovative and capable. Routine services will become automated and firm profitability will be further reduced. Finally, law firm culture will experience a generational shift. As millennials take over, firm culture will shift toward a strong focus on client satisfaction.
The Legal Intelligence Era
Client expectations, evolving markets, and firm transformations will dominate the legal market of the future. Success with each of these elements will depend on gathering, understanding, and acting on relevant information, data, and knowledge. Given the prominence of information, Furlong describes the future market as a legal intelligence era. Law librarians, Furlong notes, will have a leading role to play with regards to client intelligence, firm intelligence, and market intelligence.
Legal information professionals can play a role in gathering critical intelligence about clients and making that intelligence easily accessible to the firm. Client intelligence could include client profiles, matter summaries, and satisfaction surveys. Taking advantage of legal information professionals will help save firm lawyers’ time, maintain firm profitability, achieve better client outcomes, and ensure higher client satisfaction.
Law librarians can produce internal intelligence about firm practices, processes, and procedures. Furlong explains that firms often know little about themselves and how they operate internally. Firm intelligence could include profitability reports and process improvement recommendations. This type of in-house intelligence is critical as it will help make existing firm processes more cost efficient and sustainable.
Finally, market intelligence will be crucial. With expert business research skills, information professionals are uniquely positioned to produce competitor reports, scouting reports, and trend overviews for the firm. Accurate market intelligence like this will enable a firm to gain advantages over its competitors and successfully prepare for tumultuous market forces.
In the legal market, knowledge is power.
This blog post was inspired by a session at CALL/ACBD 2018: Knowledge is Power: The Role of Law Librarians in the Future Legal Market presented by Jordan Furlong.
Furlong, J. (2018). Knowledge is Power: The Role of Law Librarians in the Future Legal Market. Plenary Session at CALL/ACBD 2018.
By Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick
In Fall 2017, the Law Society Library launched Primo, our new catalogue and Integrated Library System. In doing so, the Law Society Library took a big step towards the future of modern legal information services. Our goal is for you to be able to access the entirety of our services and resources – print and digital – through a single convenient portal. Primo is going to be your one-stop shop for legal information in Saskatchewan: ebooks, textbooks, articles, databases, case law, websites, and more.
If Primo seems familiar to you, don’t be surprised. Many libraries, including the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and Saskatchewan Legislative Library, are using Primo as well, and for good reasons. Primo will ensure the Law Society Library continues to excel at customer service, provide robust and responsive legal information services, and offer members competitive return on investment.
If you have not already, we urge you to watch our free recorded CPD webinar on using Primo:
Free Webinar: Primo (CPD-178) December 14, 2017
Presenters: Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick
Qualifies for 1 CPD hour
On that note, here are a few tips to help you maximize Primo’s potential:
First, make sure to sign in. Primo has many features that are not active unless you sign in. Look for the word “Guest” in the top right corner of your screen, and click on it. You will be directed to the Members Section sign-in screen, then, having signed in, you will be redirected back to Primo.
Searching will go much better if you know your search operators. Primo does not display its operators, but it does recognize the following operators displayed in the table below. In Primo, operators are case-sensitive. This means that you must capitalize the letters of the operator for the search to work.
Primo automatically identifies term variants, applies truncation, recognizes compound words, and corrects spelling errors. There are advantages and disadvantages to such highly mediated searching. Novice searchers will tend to get better results. A major drawback is that not knowing exactly how a search engine works sometimes makes it difficult to refine a search.
Once you have some search results, you can sort and filter them in various ways. Note sorting and filtering options on right side of screen. The default sort option is relevance, but you may also select date, reverse date, author or title. You can also limit your results by applying one or more filters such as subject, material type, or library location.
And finally, since you are signed in, take advantage. Primo allows you to organize your records into different folders. In the search results screen, click on the pin icons to the right of a few hits. These records are now in your favourites. Now look to the top right of the screen and find the pin icon just to the left of your name. The Favourites screen allows you to add labels to your records so you can store related ones together. You can also save your searches and re-run previous ones.
Just before Christmas, the Law Society Library launched Primo, our new cataloguing system. Going forward, Primo will be the best way to locate legal information in Saskatchewan: ebooks, textbooks, articles, case law, precedents, government documents – everything! It’s your key to discovering all the resources in the Law Society Library’s legal collection.
Our previous cataloguing system was limited in that it only allowed users to search the library’s print materials. However, the Law Society offers many more resources for both our members and the public. The new system will allow one-stop-shopping to all our current and future resources – including direct links to materials. In phases over the next year, we will be including the following in the catalogue:
- All Law Society created materials – including those found on our Practice Resource page, Publications page, and Members’ Section
- All commercial databases and online resources housed in the Members’ Section
- CPD materials – including recorded versions of webinars
- Any future resources or documents added to the Law Society website
- Resources from outside sources and include links. For example, we can include all PLEA resources.
So if you are searching for a particular subject area, such as will and estates, the catalogue will list all print, online, CPD or outside source we have entered. Stay tuned for updates throughout the year on the progress of this project. In the meantime, please watch the free recorded webinar on Primo to learn how to best use the system. The webinar qualifies for 1 CPD hour.
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
The Saskatchewan Association of Library Technicians (SALT) recently named our very own Sarah Roussel-Lewis as the Library Technician of the Year! The Library Technician/Assistant of the Year Award is presented to a Saskatchewan Library Technician or Library Assistant who has made a notable contribution to their library of employment or the library field. Sarah has been a Library Technician at our Regina branch for just over 5 years and is an invaluable member of our team.
Congratulations Sarah! You’ve made us proud.