This month we feature Susan Nevelow Mart, author of The Boulder Statements on Legal Research Pedagogy: The Intersection of Intellectual and Practical Skills and the new Legal Information Review journal.
Susan will also be presenting on her publications at the Hein Booth (#203) at AALL on Sunday, July 19 at 11:10 AM! Be sure to stop by if you’re attending! View the full schedule here »
Everyone comes to law librarianship on an individual path, and that path impacts the direction your career takes. For me, I came to law librarianship after almost twenty years as a practicing attorney, doing both civil litigation and transactional work. I had a passion for creative research and a strong commitment to both advocacy and teaching. These interests followed me to library school.
I couldn’t imagine a professional life without writing, so I just kept doing it. The first article I published started as a library school paper. The second article I wrote because, in a probably alcohol-fueled attempt at networking, I introduced myself to the then-editor of the Law Library Journal, and started a discussion about an article that had just been published. Frank Houdek challenged me to respond to the article in writing, and I did.
I just kept on writing from there. From the state of legal research instruction to the law and politics of legal information, there was always something that stimulated my interest. I can’t recommend writing highly enough as a way to be engaged with our profession. When I think about my career, it has really been writing- and the workshops and presentations about that writing -that have created long-standing friendships, opened doors, and connected me to the profession.
The most important influence for me has been, without a doubt, the Boulder Conferences on Legal Information, started in 2009 by Barbara Bintliff. These works-in-progress events for law librarians created a venue both to support our writing in a scholarly fashion that had simply not existed before, and created an involved group to discuss and create the Boulder Statements on Legal Research, which were the first attempts to define the basic legal research knowledge every law student needs, the signature pedagogy for legal research, and best practices for teaching. The Conferences are still going on. I will be moderating the 7th Annual Boulder Conference on Legal Information, which is being hosted by the Biddle Law Library at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, just before AALL this July.
The collective work at the Boulder Conferences inspired a book, pitched to and published by Hein: The Boulder Statements on Legal Research Pedagogy: The Intersection of Intellectual and Practical Skills. Along with eight other participants from the conferences, I contributed a chapter on using the principles of the Boulder Statements in teaching legal research. I wrote about an interest of mine that had been percolating since library school: the roles of humans and machines in legal research, and how to use those roles in teaching legal information literacy. This was also my first foray into editing a book. It was both interesting and fun, and I leveraged that interest into editing a new peer-reviewed journal dedicated to legal information studies, the Legal Information Review, to be published by Hein. So now there is a new venue for law librarians to publish. So follow your interests, the reasons you became a law librarian in the first place, and send in the papers you write!
About the author:
Susan Nevelow Mart is an Associate Professor and Director of the Law Library at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. Her scholarly and teaching interests center on legal informatics. She has written and presented nationally and locally on legal information policy, national security and libraries, access to information, computer information retrieval systems, and legal research pedagogy.
Before joining Colorado Law, Professor Mart served as the Faculty Services Librarian and adjunct professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to her work at Hastings, Professor Mart practiced law for seventeen years. Her law practice focused on construction litigation, complex real estate transactions, and partnership and corporate dissolution.
Professor Mart holds an M.L.I.S. from San Jose State University, a J.D. from Berkeley Law School at the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She can be reached at susan dot mart at Colorado dot edu
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The Boulder Statements on Legal Research Education
The Intersection of Intellectual and Practical Skills
The Boulder Statements on Legal Research Education envision legal research education as an intellectual, analytical, and iterative process. The statements’ goal is to teach students to think strategically about their research processes, understand the sources they are using and why they are useful, analyze their results, and engage in continual adjustment of their strategy and evaluation of their results until reaching a resolution to the research problem. The pedagogy based on the statements is intended to emphasize the intellectual aspect of legal research and its pivotal place in legal education. Continue to brochure»
Item #: 347980
Published: Buffalo; William S. Hein & Co., Inc.; 2014