Jill Bradshaw never realized law firms had libraries until she got a job in one.
While pursuing her master’s degree in library science from Kent State University in Ohio, she turned to a temp agency for help finding work. She was eventually placed in a position at a local firm’s law library.
“I didn’t know that law firm libraries existed, but I started working there and it just clicked,” Bradshaw said. “I was as surprised as the next person that you can be librarian for a law firm.”
Bradshaw, who today manages the law library at Godfrey & Kahn’s Madison office, oversees the firm’s collection and looks up information for attorneys. She said the research is what she likes best about the job.
“I look at legal histories, regulatory histories, legislative histories — whatever the attorney needs,” Bradshaw said. “It is always something different, and that keeps it fun.”
Brady Williamson, a shareholder in Godfrey & Kahn’s Madison office, called Bradshaw “indispensable” to the firm’s office. Her familiarity with rules and standards of the U.S. Supreme Court and Wisconsin Supreme Court is something attorneys take advantage of when they file briefs, he said.
“She not only ‘checks’ citations and formatting, for example, but suggests alternatives for creative and unusual supporting materials,” Williamson said. “In the firm’s Madison office, few would consider filing an appellate brief or a significant trial-court pleading without her involvement.”
Librarians use a number of sources, both paper and electronic, in their research, Bradshaw said.
“I read a lot to keep up to date on the latest resources available,” she said. “I view myself as a problem-solver and I’m very process-orientated.”
She’s also very organized.
When Bradshaw receives a research request, she looks it over, factors in how long it will take and puts it in her queue to get it done.
Mary Koshollek, director of information and records at Godfrey & Kahn, said Bradshaw plays a vital role in helping attorneys prepare for both trial and client meetings. She does this, in the main, by making sure lawyers have not only up-to-date information but also information that has been put into context.
Bradshaw does her job “with humor, enthusiasm and a conscientious approach” and “consistently going above and beyond the task at hand,” Koshollek said.