In the course of its work on multiple law school projects in the past few years, the SmithGroupJJR design team has come to understand that the traditional model of a law school is under pressure to evolve, due to changes in both the legal profession and higher education. To better understand these forces and the corresponding issues that law schools must address, SmithGroupJJR sponsored a Client Advisory Board (CAB) inviting law school librarians from across the country to share their concerns and observations.
As the heart of the law school, the library is particularly susceptible to the shifts in educational philosophy and technology. The CAB was held in 2013, in Seattle, directly across from the Seattle public library; a fitting example of just how far the traditional vision of a library can stretch. This paper summarizes the conversation that occurred at that meeting, and concludes with a series of design strategies for creating law libraries that remain a key component of both legal education and practice.