One of the greatest benefits of volunteering with AALL is the opportunity to meet new and interesting information professionals. I recently had the privilege of meeting up with the new Chair of the AALL Latinx Caucus in person in downtown Los Angeles. He has a lot of energy and charisma. I’m thrilled to work with him in the coming term, and excited to see how his career unfolds. He was gracious enough to participate in this little written Q&A, so we can all get to know him a little better. Without further ado, please welcome Victor Chavez II, Legal Research Specialist at Sheppard Mullin, and the 2022-2023 Chair of the Latinx Caucus.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What was your law librarianship path?
I grew up in libraries but never knew I would make a living working in one. Born and raised in San Diego, my parents took my four siblings and I to the library whenever they had the chance. In high school, I volunteered at the public library where I helped maintain the catalog, checkout/return books, and read whenever I could! The library became a kingdom where peace and quiet ruled and knowledge was plentiful.
I moved to Los Angeles for my undergraduate studies, where I spent hours in the library learning about psychology and trying to impress my future wife. After graduating, I attended law school where I (surprise, surprise) spent even more hours in the library. I first heard the phrase “law firm librarian” in my legal research class. Prior to that, I never knew positions such as my current one existed. Legal research and the database knowledge/management side of the law were the highlight of my law school experience. I felt enjoyment and pride digging through case law and analysis to find the winning argument or to show a peer the best place to find information on a topic. After graduating, I tried litigation at a small law firm where I made the all-important realization that learning the law and practicing it are two different things. When I came across an ad for the role of “Legal Research Specialist” at Sheppard Mullin, where the duties would consist primarily of research and database management, the highlights of my legal studies, I knew I had to apply and the rest is history.
How did you find out about Latinx Caucus?
I was fortunate enough to join a very friendly team of seasoned librarians at Sheppard Mullin. Not having any prior law library experience, my boss, Martin Korn was a very patient and knowledgeable mentor and introduced me to AALL. My colleague Daisy De Anda is active in different AALL roles as well and encouraged me to get involved by joining the Latinx Caucus.
What motivated you to be a part of Latinx Caucus?
I have worked in the law librarian field for three years now. While still a novice, I feel comfortable now to branch out and help where I can. When Daisy informed me of the Latinx Caucus’ open board positions, the timing seemed perfect so I made the leap.
The inclusion and recognition of the many trials and experiences we all possess has never been more important. We each have overcome many barriers and while there are many more to go, we all contribute to progress each and every day. My leap to join the Latinx Caucus is a concrete step for me to help foster our the Latinx community support and relationships while encouraging diversity and inclusion in our field.
Any ideas you have in mind as the new Chair of the Caucus?
My philosophy as Chair is to learn and to lead. I will learn by listening to our members as we talk, brainstorm, and work collaboratively towards a positive contribution to AALL and our field. I will lead by helping to organize and follow through with the execution of the actions we wish to take. My concrete goals are to organize an in-person meeting at the next AALL Conference so that we can begin to revitalize our community and to host virtual meetings before then. I am excited about Vice-Chair Elaine Blanco’s idea to raise awareness of our field by presenting an introduction to the librarian field at schools around the nation. Along this journey, I hope to hear from you, the Caucus itself, about what we can strive towards together.
Anything else you’d like to share with the group?
Thank you very much for this opportunity and for your commitment to the community. Together we are strong.
Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.