The Legal Division is proud to feature Howard E. Trivers in its February/March Profiles in Law Librarianship series:
A Little Bit About Howard:
Howard E. Trivers has been a librarian for 18 years at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP (formerly Baker & Daniels, LLP) in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started as a Reference Librarian – when we used books – and has held various titles along the way. His title changed to Research Librarian after the merger of Baker & Daniels and Faegre & Benson. This merger created Faegre Baker Daniels in 2012 as a AmLaw 100 firm with over 750 attorneys.
Previous to his stint at Faegre Baker Daniels, Trivers was a branch librarian for Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C. While working his way up the ladder in Washington D.C. he held numerous para-professional jobs, which included such exciting work as filing loose leafs, shelving books, locating old files and interlibrary-loans.
Trivers’ claim to fame is that he is known as the “dirtmeister” within Faegre and SLA legal division. He is a frequent author and presenter to lawyers, paralegals, law librarians, and information professionals on research related topics. He presented “Find Facts Fast, Free or for a Fee: Successful Due Diligence and Investigation Research,” at the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries (ORALL) in Cincinnati, OH, (October, 2011). The largest audiences were present at “Law Librarian: The New Private Investigator”, American Association of Law Libraries’ conference in Washington D.C. (July 2009), and “Information Professional: The New Private Investigator”, Special Libraries Association annual conference in Seattle, WA (2008). Both presentations drew large, enthusiastic crowds and rave reviews.
Trivers has published numerous articles on research related topics. He authored “Conference Review: Delivering Value: Making an Impact on Your Firm,” 18 Legal Division Quarterly #3, Summer 2011 and “People-Finder Database: Which Ones to Use and Why,” 21 Legal Information Alert #7, July/Aug. 2002, p.1.
Trivers has been a long-time member of SLA. He was President Elect, President, and currently serves as Past President of the Indiana Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. In addition to the presentations mentioned, Trivers has given his time freely to SLA sponsored events either for regional, local and annual conferences.
Trivers received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Russian History from Indiana University-Bloomington. He earned an M.S.L.S. from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
A Few Questions for Howard:
What brought you to the legal information industry?
My story is interesting, but different. I went to Washington, D.C. to get my fame and fortune. Armed with an M.A. in Russian history degree, I hoped to land a position in the intelligence field. I had studied the Soviet Union (remember them) and Russian language at Indiana University-Bloomington. While waiting for the review process to be completed (it can take up to two years to get security clearance), I took a job with a temporary library staffing agency. I had enjoyed library work in graduate school so this seemed to be a good fit.
The staffing agency sent me to a large law firm library for many months. Six weeks before I was to marry, the intelligence agency rescinded their offer and, soon after, a glorious library career began in 1986.
Where do you see our industry in 10 years?
After the economic meltdown of 2008, I am quite bearish on the future of the legal industry and law librarians in particular. Frankly, law firms and corporations are going to need less librarians, lawyers and paralegals in the future. Simply put, automation is the reason. It is a dirty word that the politicians do not want to discuss because automation helps to create and sustain high levels of unemployment. As information professionals, we are more productive than we used to be. In the last two years alone, I can perform more tasks in greater speed thus leading to the need for fewer librarians to manage the same workload
The technical services side of law libraries is diminishing as we move more and more to Web access. Less people are needed to process, catalogue or distribute print material. I work in a cavernous library built in 1989 with predominantly books, periodicals and treatises that have been superseded. It is a beautiful place to work, but does little to bolster confidence for long-term employment.
What are you doing to get Future Ready?
Change was forced upon me by the merger of Faegre & Benson LLP and Baker & Daniels LLP. The Faegre side was more technologically advanced than the Baker side. This forced me to learn new software programs and databases in record speed. On a personal side note, I joined the 21st century with the purchase of an iPhone. The iPhone opened up a whole new way of living. There is no doubt that mobile is the trend.
It is a struggle to stay on top of the increasing changes in my professional and personal world. SLA webinars with Scott Brown and August Jackson are helpful as well as professional journals, blogs and listservs. Finally, I try to stay current on capital markets and business trends since I am an investor in companies through my 401(k) and brokerage accounts. I also pay particular attention to local companies because many of these businesses are our clients.
Do you have any advice for people looking to break into the legal information industry?
Get to know people by networking. Contact information professionals in your area to be visible. Ask them to go to lunch. Use LinkedIn as a personal marketing tool – I am a huge fan of LinkedIn. Attend local and national SLA events. Finally, I end with a success story. In 2011, my supervisor received an email introduction from a business librarian who had been laid off from a local newspaper. A couple months later, we suddenly had a need for a temporary researcher dealing with the numerous conflicts arising because of the Faegre & Benson LLP and Baker & Daniels LLP pending merger. He was interviewed and hired. We kept him on our staff for eight months. While the work was not glamorous, it took the sting of being laid off away and was a good segue into full time employment.