Introducing…Sue Silverman as the September 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Sue Silverman

1. Where did you grow up? Freehold, NJ

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? I was a young, miserable lawyer and my roommate at the time was a librarian. She encouraged me to consider librarianship because I loved research, but I was wary of making a career change. So I bugged several NYC law librarians for informational interviews and much to my surprise they all loved their jobs so I went for it.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and/or international law? I’ve always had an interest in it! When I went to law school, I had visions of practicing international law, but things didn’t quite work out as I had planned. Fast forward to over 10 years since graduating law school, I was offered the opportunity to teach an FCIL course, which in my opinion, is even better than practicing, as I love teaching.   

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there? Brooklyn Law School, almost 2 years.

5. Do you speak or read any foreign languages? I can read Spanish (sort of)    

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? It’s only been two years, so for now, successfully teaching one full semester of international and foreign law research (and during a pandemic!)

7. What is your biggest food weakness? Nutella. I will eat the whole container and then open a second.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance With Somebody

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? A photographic memory.  I read a lot and it would be wonderful if I actually retained any of it!

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?  A hug (virtual if I’m not home) from my 2-year old son.  

11. Anything else you would like to share with us? I feel incredibly lucky to be here!

FCIL-SIS 2020 Business Meeting Recap: FCIL-SIS Awards

The FCIL-SIS hosted its annual business meeting on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. It was our first ever virtual meeting and it gave us all an opportunity to connect with and celebrate each other in these trying times. Several of our members received FCIL-SIS awards for their outstanding achievements this year.

kuehlDANIEL L. WADE OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD

The Daniel L. Wade Outstanding Service Award honors a FCIL-SIS member who has made outstanding contributions to the Section in the areas of section activity and professional service.  

Heidi Frostestad Kuehl is the 2020 recipient of this prestigious award. Heidi is the Director of the Northern Illinois University David C. Shapiro Memorial Law Library. Before her current position, she was the FCIL librarian and Associate Director at Northwestern Prizker School of Law Library.  Despite her busy day job(s), Heidi consistently volunteers in service of the FCIL-SIS.  She served as our webmaster back in 2005 and received a Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Award for her service in 2007.  In 2008, she began serving a six year tenure as a member of the FCIL-SIS executive board: Secretary/Treasurer (2008-2011); Vice Chair/Chair Elect (2011-2012); Chair (2012-2013); and Past Chair (2013-2014). She has served as a speaker for numerous FCIL-SIS sponsored programs, including last year’s pre-conference workshop. She’s also quite prolific.  Heidi recently co-wrote a textbook with fellow FCIL-SIS member, Megan O’Brien, called International Legal Research in a Global Community. This book earned Heidi (and Megan) the 2018 Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores FCIL-SIS Publications Award, which honors the FCIL-SIS member who has greatly contributed to the professional development of their AALL colleagues during any given year.  Overall, Heidi’s contributions to both the FCIL-SIS and the field of FCIL librarianship have indeed been exceptional. Congratulations, Heidi!

 

Thomas Mills

THOMAS H. REYNOLDS & ARTURO A. FLORES FCIL-SIS PUBLICATIONS AWARD

The Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores FCIL-SIS Publication Award is named after the indomitable Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores, the authors of the Foreign Law Guide: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World, better known as “Reynolds & Flores” to the many grateful FCIL Librarians who habitually use the Foreign Law Guide. It honors a FCIL-SIS member who has greatly contributed to the professional development of his/her colleagues during any given year.

Thomas Mills is the 2020 recipient of this prestigious award. Thomas is the Director of the Kresge Law Library at the University of Notre Dame Law School. Before his current position, he was the Director of Collections and Faculty Services at Cornell Law Library.  Thomas received the 2020 Reynolds & Flores FCIL-SIS Publication award due to his long tenure as the book review editor of the book review column on the International Journal of Legal Information. His efforts to recruit us to read FCIL books and write book reviews about those books certainly contributed to our professional development.  Congratulations, Thomas!

 

SPIRIT OF THE FCIL-SIS AWARD

The Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Award honors members whose work furthers our mission, serves the entire FCIL-SIS, and inspires to act.  We celebrated three Spirit Award recipients this year!

Caitlin HunterCaitlin received the first of our 2020 Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Awards. She is a reference librarian at UCLA Law Library and the inaugural Chair of our FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee.  Under Caitlin’s leadership, the Continuing Education Committee has already produced several educational webinars for our members (satisfying Goal #1 of our FCIL-SIS Strategic Plan 2018-2021). Additionally, thanks to Caitlin’s exceptional organization skills and tech competence, the FCIL-SIS workshop, Demystifying Civil Legal Systems for a Common Law Audience: Historical Traditions, Modern Developments, and Practical Research & Instruction Applications, occurred without a hitch (furthering Goal #2 of our FCIL-SIS Strategic Plan 2018-2021).  Caitlin has plans to produce more webinars for our members in the upcoming year, so we can look forward to those.  In the meantime, join me in congratulating Caitlin!

 

jessica-pierucciJessica Pierucci, the research librarian for foreign, comparative, and international law at the University of California Irvine Law Library and co-Chair of our FCIL-SIS Publicity Committee, also received a Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Award this year.  Jessica has done a phenomenal job maintaining the global reach of our FCIL-SIS blog, DipLawMatic Dialogues, and contributing to the blog with her own scholarship. Jessica also served as a moderator last December for a webinar on Cross-Border Cultural Competency (produced by the FCIL-SIS Continuing Education Committee). Thank you, Jessica and congratulations!

 

marceloLast, but not least, Marcelo Rodriguez, the research and training librarian at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Chair of our Latin American Law Interest Group, received the third of our 2020 Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Awards. Marcelo is a recent member of the FCIL-SIS and he has already invigorated our Section with his energy and enthusiasm.  His particular gift is to gather together librarians within and outside of the FCIL-SIS to create projects, programs, and webinars of interest to all. For example, he recruited and organized a group of law librarians to track  government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America & the Caribbean. This project resulted in webinars and scholarship on the topic as well as inspiration for other FCIL-SIS jurisdiction interest groups, who initiated their own tracking projects related to their jurisdictions of focus. In addition to doing all that, Marcelo also regularly proposes and creates presentations for the AALL Annual Meeting on FCIL-related topics.  He is a fantastic asset to our Section. Congratulations, Marcelo!

 

Shea-Alison_9908_1

FCIL-SIS BLOG POST OF THE YEAR AWARD

The FCIL-SIS Blog Post of the Year Award is a new award that honors an AALL member who contributes an outstanding article for the FCIL-SIS blog, DipLawMatic Dialogues.

This year, Alison Shea, the Research & Instructional Law Librarian for Foreign, Comparative & International Law at Cornell University Library and Chair of our FCIL-SIS European Law Interest Group received the Blog Post of the Year Award with her article, Locating UK and EU Guidance on Brexit. Congratulations, Alison!

 

julienne

FCIL-SIS NEWSLETTER ARTICLE OF THE YEAR AWARD

The FCIL-SIS Newsletter Article of the Year Award is another new award this year.  It honors an AALL member who contributes an outstanding article for the FCIL-SIS Newsletter. 

Julienne Grant, the Reference Librarian/Foreign and International Research Specialist at Loyola University Chicago School of Law Library, received the Newsletter Article of the Year Award this year with her prescient article, An Introduction to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Legal Heritage & Carpenter v. MurphyCongratulations, Julienne!

 

 

 

Latin AmericaFCIL-SIS COMMITTEE/INTEREST GROUP PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD

The FCIL-SIS Committee/Interest Group Project of the Year Award is our third new award this year. It honors a FCIL-SIS Committee/Interest Group that produces an outstanding project for the benefit of FCIL-SIS and/or AALL members. 

Our Latin American Law Interest Group, chaired by Marcelo Rodriguez (see above), received the FCIL-SIS Committee/Interest Group Project of the Year Award this year for its collaboration with the Latino Caucus to monitor the legal response in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Congratulations to this consistently productive group for initiating this timely and collaborative project.

thank you

Congratulations and thank you to all the award recipients for their dedication and enthusiasm. We appreciate you!

Introducing…Renu Sagreiya as the August 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Renu Sagreiya

1. Where did you grow up?

For the first five years of my life, I bounced around various cities due to the medical residencies of my Asian immigrant parents, ranging from Queens in New York City to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville and Cherokee in North Carolina. However, I spent most of my childhood in the Philadelphia suburbs, in particular, a town called Ambler.  I attended undergraduate at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, and law school at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, PA. 

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

During my Juris Doctor program, I was solidly set on a career in public interest law, such as public defense or working in legal aid for the indigent.  My internship and pro bono experiences during law school, such as my clinic at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, reflected this desire.  I ended up taking several advanced legal research courses taught by dual-degreed law librarians, which I found to be my absolute favorites due to their practicality, as well as a fun course in Anglo-American Legal History, which included a field trip to a rare book collection!  I found that I had a knack for legal research. This sounds nerdy, but finding an obscure legal source brings me so much personal satisfaction.  Lifestyle concerns influenced my decision too, as well as a strong desire to teach and publish. I have yet to publish, however, from 2018 to 2019, I developed and taught a multi-session Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course called “Spanish for Lawyers” for a county bar association in response to the growing need for Spanish-speaking attorneys and support staff.  The course covered commonly used Spanish words and phrases in courtrooms and law offices, and students actively participated in exercises pertaining to vocabulary and grammar. In addition, my course discussed how to bridge cultural gaps with Latin American clients, who come from a civil law system.  This course helped students communicate with Hispanic clients regarding legal matters including domestic relations, immigration, criminal law, etc. Students received comprehensive glossaries of technical terms, and each session included an improvisational element, allowing students to interview mock clients in Spanish.  I am passionate about increasing access to justice.  My course assisted attorneys in providing linguistically and culturally competent services to Latino clients.  In addition, it bolstered my pedagogical skills, which are very pertinent for my goal of academic law librarianship. 

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

My pre-law internships and volunteer work in human rights non-profit organizations abroad sowed the seeds of my passion for foreign, comparative, and international law.  For instance, in summer 2008 through the NGO, Cross-Cultural Solutions, I interned in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India at an anganwadi (“courtyard shelter” in Hindi), a governmental child welfare and public health program for youth of low socioeconomic status and/or caste.  In India, I also tutored Tibetan exile monks, nuns, and laypersons through small group English conversation classes at a then up-and-coming NGO called Tibet Hope Center, which piqued my interest in refugee work.  My coursework during law school, such as Refugee & Asylum Law taught by an Immigration Judge, also fed this interest.  In addition, I performed especially well in a course called Immigration Legal Research, which included units on foreign, international, and comparative law and hands-on experience searching foreign law databases, such as Légifrance. The law librarian who taught that class has been a true inspiration and still provides me mentorship and guidance as I switch gears to law librarianship. Lastly, during law school, I served as a keynote speaker for a student organization event called “Buddhism & the Law”, and I really enjoyed researching for my talk.  

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

I am presently clerking for the Superior Court of New Jersey in Elizabeth, NJ.  During my time there, I have dealt with fascinating family law cases implicating the Hague Convention against international child abduction. I am pleased to announce that in October 2020, I will begin a Reference Librarian position at Western State College of Law in sunny Orange County, California. 

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Yes! I am trilingual at the moment. My native language is Hindi, which I learned simultaneously along with English.  My experience growing up bilingual led to a facility with picking up languages. I began learning  Spanish in elementary school, and continued studying it through middle school and high school, and minoring in the subject in college.  I started learning French in 2019, but I am very much a beginner at this point. I’ve heard French referred to as the “language of diplomacy”, so I figured learning it would be useful in foreign, comparative and international law librarianship.  

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Winning AALL’s George A. Strait Minority Scholarship to fund my library science graduate program at Rutgers University. 

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Ma Po Tofu. I like it on the spicy side!

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

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure fills me with jubilation.  

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

Astral projection, or in other words, the ability of a person’s spirit to travel to distant places. It’s gotten stronger during the pandemic, for sure! 

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

 Journaling-I find it so therapeutic!  

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

During summer 2019, I lived as a nun at the Southern Shaolin Temple in Fujian Province, China through the Woodenfish Foundation’s Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program.  I spent my days meditating, practicing martial arts, chanting, completing coursework on Buddhist and Daoist philosophy, and painting calligraphy.  The program culminated in a pilgrimage tour at Mount Putuo, a holy site on an island dedicated to Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of compassion.

Introducing…Melissa Hyland as the July 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Atlas Lighting

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South Florida, but I moved to North Carolina for college and ended up staying! I really love that you can visit both the mountains and the beach, but never actually have to leave your home state.

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

While I was in law school, the law librarians really mentored me. I worked as a reference desk assistant during my 2L and 3L years, and I was fascinated by the types of services provided by the law librarians. I just knew it was the type of work that I would enjoy doing. After law school, I practiced litigation for a couple years, but I always kept in the back of my mind the thought that law librarianship was an awesome option. When the opportunity to return to UNC to get my MSLS and work as a graduate assistant popped up, I jumped on it!

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

I developed an interest in FCIL research pretty early into my MSLS program. Once I started full-time as a reference librarian, I volunteered for every FCIL-related opportunity that came up and started to develop my skills in this area. I really enjoy the challenge of FCIL research, but I also love that you get to learn about the countries, their histories, and a bit of their culture, through FCIL research.

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

I currently work as the Reference and Faculty Research Services Librarian at the University of North Carolina School of Law. I’ve been in this position for 3 years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I’m working on improving my Spanish language skills. I’m much better at reading in Spanish than I am at speaking, so I’ve been trying to find more ways to practice my communication skills with friends and language partners. I also have this mini-goal in mind to study Japanese – mostly because I love the culture and hope to visit there one day soon.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I manage our law library’s Faculty Research Service program, and I’ve tried to be very intentional about building relationships with our faculty and ensuring that we provide them with stellar work product. I’m so pleased with the growth of the program over the past three years, and I’ve also loved getting to know our law faculty better through it.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Chocolate chip cookies! I will order a chocolate chip cookie whenever it is on the menu, even at a fancy bakery. I’m probably missing out on lots of other amazing baking creations, but you just can’t go wrong with a good ol’ chocolate chipper.

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

My nerdiness is going to be so obvious here, but I love Disney movie soundtracks. Maybe I can blame this on growing up in Florida and spending a good part of my childhood at Disney World. I can go toe-to-toe on song lyrics with the best of Disney fans – but I find myself singing “I’ve Got a Dream” from Tangled a lot lately.

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

I think many people on this blog talk about improving their language skills. I agree – I’d love to improve what little skill I currently have, and I’d like to study new languages.

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

Books! It’s a good thing that I work in a university law library, because I have a library card that allows me to get my hands on so many out of print and older titles. It’s amazing.

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

I’m excited to be here!

Introducing…Sabrina Sondhi as the June 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Sondhi photo 2019

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in the Midwest, but we moved to Southern California when I was nine.  I was so miserably homesick all through fourth grade!  But now I can’t imagine having grown up anywhere else.

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

Random chance!  No, really.  I was working in Sacramento as a litigator and I was both flirting with burnout and suspicious that my firm’s parent company was going to be bought out.  I was too scared to quit without a plan, so I thought I’d hide out in graduate school (of any kind) for a year and then return to practice elsewhere.  When I looked it up online, the University of Washington’s Law Librarianship program application deadline was about a month away and they didn’t require the GRE, just my old LSAT score.  It took me about six months into the program to realize that I wanted to switch careers after all.  (And I’d been right; the company was bought out and almost everyone in my old office got let go.)

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

I was lucky enough to get hired by Columbia University’s Diamond Law Library straight out of library school.  Their FCIL print collection is amazing — both in terms of breadth and depth.  I spent 10 years there fielding questions from journal students, faculty, and major law firms (via Columbia’s Fee-Based Services).

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

I’m now at Cornell Law Library and I’ve been here since August 2018.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Not well at all.  I studied Spanish in junior high and high school, and studied French in college.  I started studying Japanese during law school and continued for a couple years after.  For a while I could read manga and converse at a tourist level, but that’s mostly gone now.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

People keep electing me to leadership roles in AALL SISes!  I’m glad because it shows that people think I’m doing a good job at it.  I chaired LHRB-SIS (2014-2015), was Secretary/Treasurer for FCIL-SIS (2017-2019), and now I’ll get to chair ALL-SIS starting in July.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Bread.  Both chewy sourdough and squishy breads like Hawaiian egg bread or challah are really hard to resist.

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

I listen to very little music these days.  When I owned a car (see above in Sacramento) and drove several hours a week that was my music space.  I made lots of J-pop mix-CDs and switched between them and KROQ on the radio.  Due to the magic of repetition, I could sing along with almost every song (and I did).

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

A greater aptitude for learning languages.  To build on what I mentioned above, I can use French and Spanish written materials still, but I’ve found it harder and harder to acquire new languages as I’ve grown older.  While at Columbia I tried to learn German and Latin but with no great success.  Due to lack of practice, my ability to speak foreign languages has also degraded (vocabulary, accent, etc.) from the level I once had.

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

Something to read.  I’m not picky though; a book, my iPad, my phone, anything works.  I can’t watch TV for more than an hour or two without getting restless.  But put a good book or series of articles/longreads/blogs in my hands and I can spend a whole day on my couch.

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

Thanks for inviting me to do this!

Introducing…Marcelo Rodriguez as the May 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

elevator_Marcelo1. Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

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

I’ve always been interested in the law and legal research without ever wanting to be a lawyer. Law librarianship seems like the perfect fit.

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

My upbringing and language skills have always seemed a natural fit for any FCIL research questions. I’d like to think that my open mindedness and keen observations also play a part.

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

I currently work as a Research and Training Librarian at the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit located in New York, NY. I have been in this position for the last two years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Spanish is my mother tongue. Besides English, I also speak French very fluently. And I have some reading fluency in Hebrew and German.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

In the last two years, I have managed to coordinate 4 panels for the AALL Annual Meetings. This coming summer, I may be coordinating 4 more. Not only it has been a significant professional achievement, it has also been a transformative experience to network and exchange ideas with people equally passionate on the rule of law and legal information.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Pizza. I can eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even in between meals. Please do not share this questionnaire with my mother or my doctor.

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

Si tú te vas by Juan Luis Guerra. It’s the best thing ever! It reminds me of Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, friends and family gatherings.

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

American Sign Language (ASL). I would love to one day begin classes and become somewhat fluent.

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

Coffee. No sugar, no milk, no nothing, just pitch black coffee. I can always drink coffee and for all kinds of reasons either because I have to stay awake or even after a meal to just soothe myself.

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

If anyone is interested in Puerto Rican literature, I’m happy to recommend the following: Macho Camacho’s Beat by Luis Rafael Sánchez, Sirena Selena by Mayra Santos Febres and/or Eccentric Neighborhoods by Rosario Ferré and in Poetry: anything by Julia de Burgos.

Introducing…Maggie Adams as the April 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

MaggieAdams

1. Where did you grow up?

Newark, Delaware where I continue to live today.

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

 
I  have always enjoyed doing research and have several family members in the legal field so I applied to the law school library when I was looking for my first library job.

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

 
Part of the fun of being a law librarian is the breadth of topics you get to research. We have several faculty members who research and write on foreign and international law topics and their projects are always challenging and interesting to work on.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there?
 
I work for Delaware Law School, Widener University. I’ve been here for 20 years, starting as a library assistant.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
 
Unfortunately not.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?
 
Helping to develop the curriculum for and teach legal research labs to our first year students has been very rewarding.pastries


7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Pastries! 

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

Any pop music from the 80s [Here’s a YouTube compilation!]

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?
 
The ability to sing well. I’m married to a musician so it would be nice if we could sing harmonies together but I cannot carry a tune to save my life.

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

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?
 
I really enjoy being a part of a profession that is so willing to help, teach and collaborate.

Introducing…Errol Adams as the March 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Errol Adams 120619-3

1.  Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Georgetown, Guyana – a country located in South America.

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

I selected law librarianship as a career after a former supervisor at the New York Civil Courtreferred me to a full MLS scholarship (law focused) at St. John’s University. She told me to apply for a scholarship. I had been working as a Senior Law Librarian at the Civil Court of New York City without a MLS degree. I successfully completed the program and received my MLS.

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

I developed an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law when I was hired as a law librarian at the College of the Bahamas, now University of the Bahamas in Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas. I attended the Caribbean Association of Law Libraries Conference and that propelled me into this arena as most of the countries in the Caribbean follow/ed the UK legal system.

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

My current employer is Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University Law Library.  I have worked there for six months, but prior to this position, I was at Pace Law School Library for three and a half years.

5.  Do you speak any foreign languages?

Not really. I do understand some French and Spanish, though.

6.  What is your most significant professional achievement?

Graduating law school almost immediately after migrating to the U.S.

7.  What is your biggest food weakness?

Almost any kind of lamb…

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

Too many to list.  I do like a variety of music, including Bollywood music…[editor’s note: here are some Bollywood music listicles :)]

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

The ability to fly a plane.

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

Actual sugar.

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

Yes. I love to travel. I am very passionate about diversity initiatives. I created the first diversity & inclusion committee at the Law Librarians Association of Greater New York. I will be leading a panel discussion on cultural competence at AALL’s upcoming conference in New Orleans.

Introducing…Anne Abramson as the February 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

02.04.20 anne abramson

1. Where did you grow up?

Chicago

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

I attended a career change course at NYU and librarianship was one of the careers recommended.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law? I have always had an interest in all things international, starting with foreign language studies before and during college and majoring in International Relations at Stanford.

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

UIC John Marshall (fka John Marshall) since 1997

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

French, Spanish, some German

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I am proud of my International Legal Research LibGuide, which I am in the process of updating, as well as the International legal research class that I developed and taught for three years. The LibGuide is like a textbook for the class.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Popcorn. I can’t stop eating it!

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

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? There are so many, but I would say music (ability to read and play and instrument and/or sing) and math/science skills just for starters.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without? Getting outdoors & yoga or some form of movement/exercise.

11 Anything else you would like to share with us?

I am a home cook and yogi. I love international travel especially if it includes cooking and/or yoga classes. I also love birds and nature and am trying to find ways to experience even in a big urban environment like Chicago.

Introducing…Bianca Anderson as the January 2020 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up three miles from where I work now, in Miami.  I count myself very lucky to be able to be able to not only work at my alma mater but to live in a community in which I have deep roots.

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

I practiced immigration law mostly in a non-profit setting for almost ten years focusing mainly on deportation defense.  While I felt it was deeply important work that made a real impact on a personal level for my clients,  I became increasingly frustrated by inefficiency and inequity in the immigration system.  I decided it was a good time to make a career change.  My brother and sister-in-law were already librarians, and I always admired their dedication to the needs of their patrons and the contribution they as librarians could make on their patron’s lives.  I viewed law librarianship as an opportunity to use my legal education and knowledge while still in service of others, the aspect I found most appealing of my immigration practice.  The last two years, I have had the opportunity to teach an Introduction to Legal Research course tailored to non-native English speakers in our LLM programs, in addition to Foreign & International Legal Research.  Teaching is an entirely different aspect of law  librarianship, with a  whole new world of challenges and opportunities that continue to present themselves.  I am truly enjoying this new role and am more certain than ever that I made the right choice all those years ago.

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

As a natural consequence of my immigration practice, I often had to research foreign and international laws, particularly in regards to international human rights norms, country condition information, and foreign laws related to marriage and family.  In the years that I have been the Foreign & International Law Librarian here at UM, I have developed a deep fondness for the field.  The field is so diverse and rich, my work is never boring, and I love learning something new with every project I assist on.  I can’t deny that I also love the thrill of the chase, and I very much enjoy finding obscure materials that a student or faculty member regarded “unfindable.”  It’s a superpower!

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

I am Librarian Assistant Professor & Lecturer in Law at the University of Miami.  I have worked here a little over seven years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

As the child of Cuban immigrants, I speak Spanish fluently.  My knowledge of Spanish deepened in my immigration practice as it was invaluable to communicate with my clients in their native language.  I have a reading fluency of French, having studied it for five years in high school and university.  Unfortunately, I have not had as much opportunity as I would’ve liked to improve my spoken French, but it does remain a goal of mine.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I am probably proudest of my role in designing the Fall research workshop series for our library.  We found ourselves without an Instructional Services Librarian one Fall, and I was asked to design and run the workshop series.  In the past, the workshop series covered mostly substantive topic research sessions based on course offerings specifically for that semester.  I designed a Fall workshop series structured around basic skills needed to conduct legal research, based on AALL’s Principles and Standards for Legal Research Competency.  I called it the Legal Research Toolbox, and offered the following workshops: Creating a Research Plan, Keyword Selection, Terms and Connectors, Citators, Using Annotations Effectively, and Weight of Authority.  I was astounded and delighted by the overwhelmingly positive response.  In  the first semester we presented the Legal Research Toolbox Series, we had 63% increase in attendance to the year before and a 127% increase to the year before that. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that in we only offered six workshops, whereas in previous semesters we offered an average of nine.  I once again planned and coordinated the workshop series the following Fall, and our attendance levels continued to increase.  The coordination of the workshop series returned to the Instructional Services Librarian once the position was filled, and the new librarian in the role has continued to employ the structure and topics that I implemented for the Fall workshops, with the additions of workshops on Evaluating Sources, and Artificial Intelligence in Legal Research, which I have co-taught with him.  The attendance levels still continue to increase each Fall.  I am so glad to have been able to contribute to a service that students seek out and find helpful as they develop and improve their research skills.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Dessert!  I definitely have a sweet tooth and to me, a meal feels incomplete without a touch of something sweet at the end.  I have a particular weakness for lemon desserts- lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon soufflé.  I can’t say no!

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

I struggled way too long contemplating this, so I’ll break the rules and name a few.

My obsession over the last few years has been cast recording of the musical Hamilton.  I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a true genius. Among my prized possessions are copies of the Hamilton and In the Heights librettos, signed by Mr. Miranda.   I’ve been lucky enough to see the show in Chicago  and on tour in Fort Lauderdale, and I have tickets to see the tour again in Miami in March! Much to my children’s shame and embarrassment, particularly my teenager, I like to break out into song, and lately, it is usually a song from Hamilton.  One of my standards at karaoke is “My Shot.”  I’ve been told it is truly an experience to witness!

Besides that I love all sorts of music- some favorites in no particular order- the Beatles, Beach Boys, Phoenix, Adele, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Iron & Wine.  There are a few songs I just can’t resist dancing to, a couple recent ones are “Uptown Funk”by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson and “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift.

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

Can it be a make believe skill?  I wish I could teleport.  Just snap my fingers and be where I need to be in an instant.  I have a 4 year old and a 13 year old, and, well- most parents know the drill- there are dance classes, art classes, soccer practices, baseball practices, school events, parent teacher conferences, PTA meetings, homework, and projects, that all need to be attended to- and that’s just your typical Wednesday!

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

I am a bit ashamed to admit this, but I feel like I am missing a limb without my phone.  My entire existence (and my family’s!) is kept organize on that little device- calendars, reminders, to do lists, maps, notes, photos, emails, chats, all of it!  I do try to be aware of how much I use the phone and set rules for myself that I hope my kids will emulate- 1) no phone at the dinner table- the person sitting in front of you is more important than the screen, 2) not every minute of every day needs to be captured by a photo- I’d rather experience the moment than capture a picture of it, and 3) do only one thing at a time- no driving and cell phone, no watching television and cell phone, no walking and cell phone.

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

I very much appreciate this group and my colleagues in the FCIL-SIS.  I never fail to be awed and inspired by the work all of you do, and I count myself fortunate to part of such a collaborative and supportive community.