Introducing …Meredith Capps as the December 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

1. Where did you grow up?

My father worked in the horse racing industry, so I grew up in the Triple Crown states—New York, Kentucky, and Maryland.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I worked at a student assistant in the Cataloging & Serials department in the law library at George Washington University when I was an undergraduate student at GW and loved it.  I found myself practicing at a big firm in DC for a number of years after I graduated from law school (at Vanderbilt!), but periodically found myself researching library science programs.  When I was ready to take a step back from legal practice, I finally acknowledged that nagging feeling that I should, perhaps, consider librarianship.  I’m fortunate that my husband (who is also a lawyer) thought it was a fantastic, and not entirely, crazy idea, and supported me as I went back to school and made the transition.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

I took several international law courses whilst getting my JD at Vanderbilt—public international law, EU law, human rights, international civil litigation.  The government investigations I helped to manage were almost entirely domestic in scope, so I’m excited that librarianship is now affording me the opportunity to immerse myself in FCIL.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there?

I just started working at Vanderbilt in October, so I’m very new to my current position!

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Very, very rudimentary Spanish.  So rudimentary as to hardly be worth mentioning.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I don’t know that quitting something can be considered an “achievement,” but it certainly took a lot of courage and planning to quit practicing and try something new professionally.  I know many readers of this publication have done the same, and probably also experienced sleepless nights and periodic nausea.   In general I’ve found that the times I helped people in concrete ways were the most personally satisfying, even when they weren’t the most challenging work.  I managed some complex investigations when I was practicing law that required patience, creativity, and long hours, but the client I remember most fondly was a pro bono asylum client, and I’m always happy when a student is appreciative of my help and returns for advice.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Sweets.  Peanut Butter M&Ms and anything covered in very sugary frosting, such as grocery store sheet cake.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

This could be an entire blog post!  Most recently noted myself doing this to Dancing Queen by ABBA.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

See question 5—I really wish that I had taken language instruction more seriously.  I also wish that I could play the piano, and did not experience anxiety when faced with numbers.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

Some kind of movement.  I’m a certified Pilates instructor and try to get on the equipment a few times a week, but also enjoy yoga and long walks or hiking.  I have foot and ankle issues from years of ballet/pointe, so I try to go really easy on my joints.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I’m really excited to join such a welcoming (and fun) professional community.  I attended IALL’s annual conference in Atlanta last week, and it was really encouraging to meet so many wonderful people and see how many resources I’ll have available to me.

FCIL-SIS Call for Nominations for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

WWI Irish recruitment posterThe Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section (FCIL-SIS) of AALL is seeking nominees for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect of FCIL-SIS.

The position of Vice Chair/Chair-Elect requires a three-year commitment, as the Vice Chair/Chair-Elect will transition to Chair and then to Immediate Past Chair.  The holder of this office is expected to attend the AALL Annual Meeting as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect and as Chair.  More information is available in the FCIL-SIS Bylaws.

Please communicate with the individual you would like to nominate to ensure his or her interest in serving before sending the nomination to the Committee.  Self-nominations are also welcome.

Nominations must be received by Friday, December 15, 2017. Results will be announced in the spring newsletter.

Please submit your nominations, and any questions to:
Gabriela Femenia, Chair, FCIL-SIS Nominating Committee
Amy Flick, Member, FCIL-SIS Nominating Committee
Kurt Carroll, Member, FCIL-SIS Nominating Committee

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

 

Introducing…Carlos Andrés Pagán as the November 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

Carlos Andrés Pagán (FCIL photo)

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born, and mostly raised, in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Growing up, I also lived in North Florida (Jacksonville) and South Florida (Boca Raton), where I went to elementary school to learn English. As an adolescent, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel abroad extensively, including tours in: South America, Australia, and Europe. I count these trips as part of my upbringing because they significantly shaped and defined my development from childhood to young adult.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

Between April 2013 and August 2015, I served as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation. From that position I was responsible for the supervision of the Academy personnel, as well as the direction of its multiple agendas, including the editing of the Academy Law Journal and the oversight of two key research projects on Puerto Rico’s legal history. The first focused on the recovery, editing, and publication of the civil sentences of the Real Audiencia Territorial de Puerto Rico, the highest court during the Spanish Regime’s presence on the Island. For the second project, I published and edited a book on the legislative records of the Cámara de Delegados de Puerto Rico, the first elected representative body of Puerto Rico. This work made me realize how a career as a legal researcher and librarian is a marvelous way to practice law and that’s when I decided to enroll in library school.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

Coming from Puerto Rico, a mixed-law jurisdiction, where common law and Spanish civil law intertwine, I have always been fascinated by the study of foreign and international law.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there?

I work at the amazing Boston University School of Law’s Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries! I started working there this past August and, so far, I love it!

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I am fluent in Spanish (native). I also read Portuguese and Catalan. I picked up Catalan while studying my Bachelor of Laws at the University of Barcelona in Catalonia and I owe learning Portuguese to my many friends from Brazil.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Receiving my LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School (HLS) allowed me to work in close concert with a highly diverse group of students. I had the privilege of serving as an LL.M. Class Representative in HLS’s Student Government, and was a member of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I was involved in numerous projects, ranging from research on faculty hiring practices to actions making HLS a safer and more inclusive environment for the LL.M. LGBT community. For my contributions, I was recognized with the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Mofongo de Platano Verde y Maduro (traditional mashed plantains green and sweet); no doubt about it.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Suavemente from Elvis Crespo. But honestly, I dance to most salsa and merengue songs out there. I really love dancing; I guess it’s my Caribbean heritage/DNA.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

Flying planes.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

Dark-roast coffee (no sugar, no milk.) If it comes from my family’s coffee plantation (located in the main mountain range in Puerto Rico), even better!

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I can’t wait to see you all at next year’s AALL’s Baltimore conference!

 

Introducing…Jessica Pierucci as the October 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

Jessica Pierucci

1. Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in California. I was born in San Francisco and lived there for the first two years of my life. I then lived in other cities in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout my childhood.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? 

I discovered law librarianship as a career path when I was working on a project under the supervision of the then dean of my law school, the UC Irvine School of Law, after graduation. I asked a couple questions of the law librarians when I came across some particularly perplexing questions in my research. I realized through these interactions that their job perfectly aligned with my interests and enjoyment of legal research. I spoke with them about my interest, and they were very supportive and encouraging.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law? 

My interest in foreign and international issues began in college, where I studied abroad in Namibia and Guatemala. My interest continued in law school, where I spent my first summer focusing on international human rights law and the next at a public interest immigration law firm working with clients born around the world.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there? 

I am the FCIL librarian at the UC Irvine School of Law Library. I started at the Law Library in 2014 and held positions in the reference, access, and collection development departments while I worked towards my MLIS degree from the online program at San José State University.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages? 

I speak some Spanish, but would like to be more conversant. I studied Spanish during college in courses and abroad in Guatemala. During winter break of my second year of law school, I returned to Guatemala for a short Spanish language program.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? 

I am proud of the fact that I have worked in each of the UCI Law Library’s departments—reference, access, and collection development—prior to becoming the FCIL Librarian. I was able to experience and learn the full operational and service spectrums of the Law Library and how the departments work together to help best serve students, faculty, and other patrons in my current role.

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

Sushi tops the list for me. But the list is quite long.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? 

I take Zumba fitness classes a few times a week at the gym down the street from where I live, so pretty much any song you can Zumba to!

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? 

Like many FCIL librarians, more language skills.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without? 

This question has me stumped. There’s nothing I can think of (besides basic necessities) that I really couldn’t go a day without. There are things I prefer to not go without though, like internet access. Related fun fact, the new 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style changes Internet to internet. I learned this from one of my colleagues at UCI Law.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us? 

I am very excited to join the FCIL community. I look forward to meeting and working with other FCIL librarians across the U.S. and the world. Please feel free to reach out any time!

Introducing…Jootaek (“Juice”) Lee as the September 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

Juice

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Seoul, Korea and moved to the U.S. in 2002.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

This was the job where I can effectively merge and apply all my various experience, education, knowledge, abilities and skills into one. I like teaching, researching, and writing.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

My interest in foreign, comparative, and international law started a long time ago when I started the Master’s program in international law at Korea University College of Law in 1999. The more I learned and researched foreign, comparative, and international law, the more I became constructively interested in those.  I spent two years to finish the program after passing graduation exams and writing a dissertation on cyberspace law and its international law jurisdiction.  And I studied more on American aspects of international and comparative law through the J.D. program at the Florida State University College of Law.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there?

I have been working for the Northeastern University School of Law for about six and half years. Previously, I had worked for the University of Miami School of Law for two years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Yes, I speak Korean, English, French, and a little bit of Spanish and Japanese.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

As a minority member of this American Society as a non-native immigrant Asian, I became a highly specialized foreign, comparative, and international law librarian, teaching research and doctrinal classes at a U.S. law school, and further, took many leadership positions in American Association of Law Libraries and American Society of International Law. And recently, I came in the top percent of authors on SSRN by total downloads and new downloads.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

I eat too fast and much.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

It’s My Life by Bon Jovi and Amazing Grace.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

I believe that I have a growth mindset, but I wish to continue to have it without being tired even if I don’t see any recognition or result soon.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

Coffee and praying.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

My first child, Suemin, was born about three months ago. She is the most precious gift I got in my life.

FCIL-SIS European Law Interest Group: Join the new MyCommunity Page

europe-political-mapDo you work in a law firm with branches or clients in Europe? Do you support law school faculty who are researching and studying the substantive law of European nations or the European Union?  Are you responsible for FCIL collections in your library and are curious about how to expand your knowledge of European legal issues?  Are you interested in questions of comparative or historic law in civil and common law jurisdictions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consider joining the new FCIL-SIS European Law Interest Group community page at http://community.aallnet.org/home. This community provides a space to share resources, gather feedback from other professionals on tricky questions, and get involved in European-related FCIL programming.

The European Law Interest Group is open to anyone interested in aspects of European law, including collection development, legal research, substantive law, and access to print or electronic materials. While the group originally focused on Eastern Europe, we now examine all of Europe, with recent programming on the European Union and Ukraine.

AALL 2017 Recaps: FCIL-SIS Book Club Discussion

By Gabriela Femenia

Book coverNow an FCIL-SIS standing tradition, the book club coordinated by Dan Wade met in Austin at 12:15pm on July 17 to discuss this year’s title: Richard Haass, A World in Disarray (Penguin Press, 2017). In attendance were Dan Wade (Yale), Dan Donahue (Houston), Alice Izumo (Columbia), Loren Turner (Minnesota), Susan Gualtier (Penn), and Gabriela Femenia (Penn).

Dan Wade opened the discussion by sharing an email from John Wilson (UCLA), who could not attend. The group appreciated and largely agreed with his review, concluding that it provides a good summary of 20th and 21st century U.S. foreign policy, offers apt critiques of our approach to the national debt, and advances an interesting concept of “sovereign obligation” as a framework for post-Cold War foreign relations, although the attendees also expressed some skepticism about the effectiveness of such a concept. In particular, the participants questioned whether the concept was sufficiently defined apart from being contrasted with traditional sovereignty on the one hand and “responsibility to protect” on the other, and thought that more illustrative examples would have been helpful in solidifying the distinctions. Haass’s failure to suggest an enforcement mechanism for sovereign obligation was also pointed out. The group also noted the lesser depth in treatment of the final third of the book compared with the first two thirds, which reflects the book’s origin as a series of lectures given at Cambridge.

The discussion then turned to the implications of the Trump administration’s policies, which were not discussed in the book as it was completed before the transition. For example, Haass favorably cites the Paris Accords as a model for foreign policy approach in a post-Cold War world, but the administration’s decision to withdraw from the climate accords casts some doubts on Haass’s predictions. Similarly, Haass’s favorable positions toward the Trans Pacific Partnership, a path to citizenship, and the importance of predictability in foreign policy, appear to clash with the administration’s practices and positions thus far.

The participants also offered a few additional critiques of Haass’s analysis, including whether the current moment is really as new and unprecedented as he claims, whether his view is too Western-centered, and whether it sufficiently addresses the role of international law vs. soft law. The discussion concluded with thanks to Dan Wade for establishing this useful annual discussion, and coordinating the meeting.

The book club is open to all interested participants! If you would be interested in participating in the discussion next year, keep an eye out for the call for title suggestions about a month before the AALL annual meeting, over the FCIL-SIS’s My Communities board and email.