Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services | Sidley Austin LLP

Posted on Oct 15, 2019


The Firmwide Director of Library and Research Services is responsible for directing all aspects of library operations, including long-range strategic planning, collection development in digital and print formats, management of the library’s physical space, budget development and control, cost recovery initiatives, personnel management and professional development, legal research instruction, technology development, and active support of information needs of attorneys and administrative departments.


  • Lead and direct firm wide library operations, establish short and long-range strategies, goals, and objectives, develop and implement consistent and effective policies and procedures, and ensure the highest level of support for the firm’s client needs and business strategies in a context of continuous improvement.
  • Lead and foster library services in a rapidly changing legal environment and continuing the library’s evolution, by leveraging technology and orchestrating the availability of cost-effective, high quality electronic materials, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the firm’s electronic resources.
  • Foster communications and develop strategic alliances with attorneys in all offices to ensure that the various practice groups are receiving the services and resources needed to support their practices.
  • Work closely with other departments and firm management to promote and facilitate the exchange of information across the firm to support the business needs of the clients and the Firm.
  • Develop, manage and monitor department budget, and maintain financial controls for library expenditures across departments, including cost recovery options. Provide oversight of the acquisitions process at all stages, including final approval.
  • Assess firm and client needs through proven techniques and recommend optimal resources in a cost-effective manner.
  • Evaluate databases, coordinate and facilitate the procurement process. Manage online services, including evaluation, installation, implementation, and training plans. Monitor terms of contracts and license agreements to assure compliance.
  • Market and promote the library to maximize effective use of electronic and print research tools and related technologies.
  • Recruit, mentor, and guide professional and administrative library personnel, include ongoing coaching and evaluation.
  • Coordinate the development and application of library technology Monitor new technology developments as they affect the Firm’s delivery of information resources and make recommendations for new purchases.
  • Develop long term plan for research services on firm portal and work closely with technology, practice support and practice groups to provide a user friendly and robust platform.
  • Network with professional colleagues through seminars, conferences, meetings, and be in the forefront of developments that affect law firm management. Contribute to professional organizations through active participation.




To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform the Duties and Responsibilities (Duties) above satisfactorily and meet the requirements below. The requirements listed below are representative of the minimum knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job. If you need such an accommodation, please email (current employees should contact Human Resources).

Education and/or Experience:


  • Four-year undergraduate degree in any field plus an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree from an ALA-accredited library or information science program.
  • Ten years of progressively more responsible relevant library experience, with at least 5 years in a managerial role.
  • Significant hands-on experience managing all aspects of a global, multi-office library, including automation and technology, reference and research services, cataloging and technical services, and human resource management.
  • Experience managing multi-branch libraries and off-site and contract employees.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of information technology, including integrated library and workflow systems, and enterprise applications, and experience working collaboratively with technology departments to implement systems and programs. Demonstrated skills in the use of a variety of computer software and electronic and web-based resources.
  • Knowledge of the systems of cataloging, metadata, indexing, classification standards and methods used to organize recorded knowledge and information in a variety of media.
  • Working knowledge of a wide-range of legal, business and general information resources in all media, including print, online databases and the Internet, resourcefulness in obtaining needed materials and information, and the ability to read, analyze and interpret legal and business material.
  • Demonstrated professional development and staying current with library and information services and technology.
  • Proven leadership skills, including the ability to lead by example, motivate, coach and mentor staff, foster a collaborative environment and delegate assignments fairly.
  • Successful experience as a supervisor and substantial working knowledge of effective personnel supervision. Ability to assess skills and align with responsibilities, and evaluate performance.
  • Experience with outreach initiatives based on a thorough understanding of the information needs of the Firm and the active support of all practice group and department projects.
  • Experience with contract negotiations and fostering productive relationships with vendors.
  • Fiscal management experience, including the acquisitions and budgeting processes, and all aspects of law firm financial management.


  • Juris Doctorate in addition to an MLS or MLIS or equivalent degree.
  • Law firm experience preferred.
  • Experience with online course management systems and related emerging technologies. Hands on teaching experience and successful development of a sustainable education program.

Other Skills and Abilities:

The following will also be required of the successful candidate:

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Good judgment
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Able to work harmoniously and effectively with others
  • Able to preserve confidentiality and exercise discretion
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Able to manage multiple projects with competing deadlines and priorities

Sidley Austin LLP is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.



Sidley Austin LLP
One South Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60603
United States

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