From inception, an important aspect of Lawlaplaooza is vendor participation. The research fair is an opportunity for future practitioners to make connections with industry content providers—who better to market and provide insight into the content and functions of an online research platform than the vendor representative? The reality is that outside of advanced research courses or one-on-one librarian interactions, most students do not receive training on databases beyond Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg. Students leave the research fair with, at a minimum, an improved knowledge of relevant resources and hopefully a future contact. Vendor representatives benefit from product promotion and potential insight into user needs and expectations. Vendor participation has obvious benefits for the library as well. The library can showcase resources in an interactive format and provide an opportunity to engage students in fun, informal ways. For all involved, the research fair has proven to be a win-win.
We extend invitations to representatives from every database vendor with whom we maintain a current subscription. Through the years the library has had a consistent group of vendor participants with a rotating list of new faces year to year. If a vendor cannot be physically present at the fair, we encourage them to send materials that can be distributed to students. For those that are able to attend, we provide them with a table, table skirt, electrical outlet, power strip, extension cord, and internet access.
In addition to attending the fair, vendors have also sponsored some of the food offerings that have been provided. The first few years, vendors sponsored the pizza, but in 2014 the library determined that it was easier logistically to have them sponsor coffee, water, and snacks.
Vendor Participant Testimonials
"GW's annual Lawlapalooza event is unique within law schools. It is sure to copied by others!"
"Thanks to the GW Law Library for increasing student awareness of the many research tools at their disposal. Lawlapalooza was a great opportunity for us to engage with students directly and better understand their needs."
"I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful 2013 Lawlawpalooza Research Fair! I thought it was an awesome turnout and it is such a unique event that you do for the GW law students. I had a lot of students stop by my table and was really great to be able to showcase to students the [product] to help them organize their research, as well as advertise my online, [trainings] ... Thanks for organizing and putting together the event, ... Can’t wait for next year ... J)[.]"