Law library information budgets and full-time law library staff are both increasing, according to the AALL Biennial Salary Survey & Organizational Characteristics study conducted by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).
The study, the 13th conducted by AALL, provides the only comprehensive, comparative salary information designed by and for legal information professionals at law schools, law firm/corporate law offices and government law libraries.
“In addition to contextualizing the average income of certain library information roles across multiple U.S. regions, this comprehensive analysis of our industry demonstrates that the value of law library information professionals and services is on the rise,” noted AALL President Greg Lambert. “Contrary to many assumptions tied to the digitization of law libraries, the need for these professionals and legal research resources continues to grow.”
The 146-page report revealed the average total information budget for law libraries increased for the first time since 2009, rising by 4.1 percent compared to the AALL Salary Survey findings of 2015. Total government and law firm/corporate law information budgets grew the most, rising 27 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Respondents reported spending on premium electronic information resources as an overall percentage of the information budget continues to increase in all settings, rising from an average of 33.3 percent in 2007 to 51.3 percent in 2017. These tools include specialized legal research databases that provide verified information that cannot be found for free online.
The survey also revealed the median annual salary for a director or chief librarian in academic law libraries was $157,746, $125,000 in private law firms, and $92,935 in government law libraries.
Salaries for chief knowledge officers (CKOs) and chief library officers (CLOs) in private law firms jumped 32.1 percent from 2015 to $191,000. The survey includes mean, median, and first and third quartile salary data based on a range of roles within the industry.
Additional findings included the average number of full-time professionals per library increased to 5.5 in 2017, compared to 5.06 in 2015. The average number of full-time paraprofessionals also increased, reaching an average of 3.01 compared to 2.38 in 2015. The average number of years of experience those professionals provide included 18.04 years for law firm or corporate law librarians, 14.10 years for law school librarians and 13.44 years for government law librarians.
Education characteristics, institutional benefits offered, staffing numbers, and average hard copy and electronic information budgets, among other details, were also analyzed.
The survey was distributed to 793 law libraries, with 502 surveys completed—an overall response rate of 63.3 percent. The complete survey is available as a complimentary digital edition to AALL members. Hard copies may be purchased by non-members for $250.00. Details are available on the AALL website.