Meet the ALLA (WA) Committee 2017-2018: Judy Allan

With a new Committee working hard, we thought it was time to share a little bit about who the Committee is behind the scenes. Over the next few weeks each committee member will answer a few questions so you can get to know them better. Don't forget you can meet them in real life at our events

Judy Allan, ALLA (WA) Committee Member 2017-2018

Judy Allan
Who is a hero who has inspired you in your career?
There are three people who have influenced me greatly and to whom I am grateful for their help and support: Judy Clayden, my lecturer in cataloguing at ECU who made a particularly challenging subject interesting; Megan Evans who gave me my current job and who gently introduced me to law and mentored me to the point where I was competent; and last, but not least, Deb Harvey, my current boss, who is a very warm and incredibly generous person who is helpful and supportive of such aims and ambitions as I have.

What is the proudest moment in your professional life?
There isn’t a ‘proudest moment’ but the moments that I treasure are when clients respond to my efforts on their behalf with a comment such as “you’re a flamin’ marvel!”. We usually receive a “thank you” but we do appreciate it when they take the trouble to let us know that the results of our hard work have been especially helpful.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?
Be prepared to try anything – I went back to study after finding I enjoyed being in my children’s primary school library – but apart from a prac and some relief work while studying, didn’t work in schools. I came to Legal Aid for the tail end of a parental leave contract, which obviously wasn’t coveted by anyone with a permanent position – and I am still here 15 years later. I had thought that work in a law library would be boring – I was wrong!

What’s your favourite legal research tool?
The Australian Digest was my lifesaver when I first began searching for cases and really didn’t know where to start, and when we moved to online searching, I really liked being able to put a citation into First Point and use the resulting trail of index terms to find more cases on point, with the added bonus that ordering the results by Jurisdiction (Reverse) put WA at the top.

If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
Only one? That sounds a bit boring, unless it was a multi-faceted project. One of the things I like about my job is the variety of tasks but if I could choose just one thing to do, it would probably be to create training materials that can be distributed to our staff who never have time to come to training sessions. The trick then would be to make them find the time to use the materials.

Library cliché: What is your favourite book? (Or one of your favourite books?)
It is ‘one of’; A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry still tugs at my heart. It truly is a fine balance between happiness and sorrow that I was unable to put down.

If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?
Definitely a cat – I could, absolutely, spend the whole day on a cushion in a sunny window. I’d want to be a cat-who-could-read though.

Why did you join the ALLA (WA) Committee?
There was a call for committee members and I felt that it was about time I stepped up and did my bit after being a non-contributing (i.e. enjoying the benefits) ALLA(WA) member for so long.


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