Recognizing the growing demand for law librarianship and legal information professionals, the University of Arizona School of Information and the James E. Rogers College of Law have partnered to offer two new, accelerated law, library and information science degrees.
Legal information professionals are uniquely qualified to guide the legal industry through today’s artificial intelligence revolution in such areas as legal research, judicial analytics, linguistics analysis, document discovery review, knowledge management and competitive intelligence. Though Juris Doctorate (JD) and Master of Arts in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degrees by themselves touch upon facets of the digital revolution, combined the degrees provide an even greater breadth and depth of knowledge required to impact the rapidly evolving discipline of law librarianship.
The new JD/MLIS dual degree bridges legal studies with library and information science studies in a compressed time frame and at a lower overall cost, better serving historically marginalized student populations. With the dual degree, law students begin the study of information and library science in their second year (of three years) of law school, and finish both degrees in four years rather than five or more.
“The MA in Library and Information Science is the only American Library Association-accredited degree offered in Arizona,” says Jennifer Rochelle, an iSchool assistant professor of practice and MLIS coordinator and advisor. “With the new JD/MLIS and BA in Law/MLIS AMP degrees, students can leverage more than 50 years of cutting-edge library and information science pedagogy and graduate poised to thrive in the legal information revolution.”
Bachelor of Arts in Law students may now fast-track their legal careers with a focus on library and information science through the Master of Arts in Library and Information Science accelerated master’s program (AMP). The AMP allows current BA in Law students to begin taking master’s courses in their senior year, reducing the amount of time and money it would otherwise take to earn their MLIS. These graduates will be uniquely positioned as legal information professionals sought after by law firms, courts, libraries and others.
According to Teresa Miguel-Stearns, director of the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library and professor of law with affiliate faculty status at the iSchool, “Law libraries of all types—law firm, county, court and academic—are struggling to fill open positions with qualified legal information professionals. While a JD is not required for the majority of legal information positions, some legal training or education is, and the BA in Law is a perfect foundation to launch a career in legal information and law librarianship.”