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If your legal career strays from the traditional path, how should you approach it? The advice from law librarian June Liebert:
June’s first job after graduating from college was at a small computer consulting firm. There, she helped create a database system that stored information about asbestos litigation claimants. At the time, this was revolutionary, because most lawyers were not storing this type of data digitally. With this system, lawyers could immediately find information about every plaintiff instead of having a paralegal pour over the physical files. June enjoyed working with the lawyers, paralegals and secretaries who used the system. They ultimately inspired her to attend law school.
When June was offered the opportunity to build a reimagined IT department at the University of Texas, School of Law, some of her librarian colleagues thought she was crazy to leave the library. Some said she would never become a library director if she didn’t follow the traditional reference librarian track. Despite the naysayers, June took the opportunity.
“Running the IT department gave me an opportunity to hone my technology, management, and customer service skills. These are skills that I have used in every job since. Given my personal experiences, I strongly encourage people to take (or at least investigate) every opportunity they are given, because the most difficult and challenging experiences are the ones we learn from the most.”
June’s circuitous path to her current position serves as a reminder to always be on the lookout for new opportunities.
June also encourages people to try something new even if it makes them uncomfortable.
June Liebert is the Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services at Sidley Austin, LLP. The law firm, with over 1900 lawyers world-wide, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Coming from a family of musicians, June plays the violin in a community orchestra and can’t imagine her life without it.