Introducing…Beau Steenken as the January 2018 FCIL Librarian of the Month


1. Where did you grow up? 

My family moved around a bit when I was small, but I lived in Memphis, TN, from 4th grade through high school.

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

I’ve always been a huge history nerd. While studying English history in college, I became interested in the law and legal history. There didn’t appear to be a whole lot of jobs in legal history, but I viewed law librarianship as a career that would also support my interests.

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

It was an outgrowth of my history nerdiness. I took a legal class in law school at the University of Texas called the Emergence of Modern European Law. It inspired me to spend my third year of law school on an exchange program to the University of Nottingham, where I obtained an LL.M. in Public International Law. I mean, what is evidence of customary state practice other than history?

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

I have worked at the University of Kentucky College of Law for just over seven years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages? 

Speak, not so much. I can mostly read French, though I’m better at reading legal texts and formal writing than anything with informal language or slang. 

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? My duties include both FCIL work and general instruction, so I’ll include two achievements, one for each (mostly so I can work in a shameless plug). On the FCIL side, I successfully proposed and taught an upper level FCIL research course, which was a first for the University of Kentucky. In terms of general instruction, <shameless plug> I wrote a 1L Legal Research e-textbook with one of my colleagues that is available through CALI’s eLangdell press. If you find yourself in the market for a 1L research text, it’s called Sources of American Law: an Introduction to Legal Research, is completely free for students, and is published under a creative commons license, so you’d be able to modify it to suit your individual class needs. </shameless plug>

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

Pretty much anything spicy. I don’t know that I would have survived my year in England if it weren’t for the presence of Indian restaurants to supplement the traditional British fare.

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

Tobacco Island by Flogging Molly

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


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

That depends. Does coffee count as a basic necessity?

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

Yes, I’m chairing the Teaching FCIL IG this year, so if you teach an FCIL class and have a syllabus, assignment, rubric, or any other teaching material you would be willing to share, please email it to me to put into our database. I know all the syllabi in the database were extremely helpful when I was designing my course! My email is