April 20, 2018

Genie Tyburski | Movers & Shakers 2004

Seizing Opportunities


Genie Tyburski didn’t set out to be a law librarian. When asked at Drexel’s library school what kind of librarian she wanted to be, she was surprised that ‘a good one’ was not one of the options.

But six weeks into the semester, she landed a part-time cataloging job at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia; six months later she was the library director.

She didn’t set out to be an Internet guru, either. She later joined the firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, as a research librarian, and ‘I first discovered the net by accident after connecting to the library catalog. I was looking for a book, but what I found was so much more interesting!’

In 1996 she created a personal homepage she christened The Virtual Chase (TVC). At first, she shared information with local librarians. She also used it to store her presentations on legal research, as well as what have become two of the most popular features on TVC: ‘Legal and Factual Research on the Internet’ and ‘Government Resources on the Internet.’ When her law firm became the sponsor of TVC, she dropped her other work to run the site full time.

She didn’t set out to build a marketing tool for her law firm, but that’s what TVC has become. What made the firm’s partners grasp the importance of TVC was when they recruited new lawyers, and these young hot shots already knew about the firm because they’d used TVC all the way through law school.

She didn’t set out to be ahead of the curve on content syndication, but as one who had pioneered customized current awareness for her attorneys, it was a natural extension. Steven Cohen of Library Stuff, an early proponent of RSS feeds says, ‘We had lunch–and within three days, TVC was RSS-ified. Genie knows a good thing when she sees it.’

Tyburski didn’t set out to be legal research adviser to the world, but she’s happy it happened. Her motto could be the words of Tammany politician George Washington Plunkitt: ‘I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.’ Because she did, librarians and lawyers worldwide have gotten the benefits.




Current Position: Web Manager, The Virtual Chase, Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, Philadelphia
Degree: M.S. Information Studies, Drexel University, 1985
Web site: The Virtual Chase: Teaching Legal Professionals How To Do Research (www.virtualchase.com )
Author: ‘The Tyburski Files’ has been a regular feature in Law Office Computing since 1998