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.

Introducing…Dennis Sears as the November 2019 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month

Sears, Dennis FCIL1. Where did you grow up?

Salt Lake City, UT

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

I worked as a reference assistant during law school and my career headed that way soon after that.

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

I have always had an interest in history and the humanities, especially European.  My interest in foreign, comparative, and international law grew out of that.

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

My current employer is Brigham Young University,  I have worked there for thirty years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak German.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Teaching legal research at the Law School.  I have loved teaching first year legal research as well as advanced legal research, federal tax research, and international research.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Chocolate

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

“The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha

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

I wish I were more creative.

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

Time to ponder.  If I don’t/can’t take that time, my day just seems to fall apart.

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

I find working with people in the FCIL-SIS one of the most fulfilling parts of my profession.

Introducing…Stephanie Wilson as the October 2019 FCIL Member of the Month

Stephanie Wilson1. Where did you grow up? I grew up in California; first in Brookdale, in the Santa Cruz Mountains; then eventually in Carmel.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? When I went to CUNY Law School to get my JD I worked as a research assistant for several professors who were doing ground breaking work in women’s reproductive health and domestic violence issues.  I discovered that I loved researching. I graduated and worked as a lawyer for five years; my last stint was as a lawyer with the Juvenile Rights Division of New York City’s Legal Aid Society, and I realized the power of research in crafting arguments and outcomes. I hated litigation, but still found the law interesting and full of mysteries. Librarianship seemed like the perfect fit for me. And it still is!

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law? I developed this interest way back in law school, when I took a course in the international law of human rights.  I felt like a secret passage had been opened and here was an entire world of different legal structures, diverse cultures, norms, and concepts.  I was hooked from then on.  More recently I’ve had the opportunity to research questions in international human rights and also international arbitration for our faculty.  I find this work very gratifying.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there? I am the Head of Reference Services at Seattle University School of Law, and I have been here since 2001.  I started working with our international law professors and learning more about international legal research about four years ago.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages? I do not, but I wish I did!

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? Our faculty includes Professor Lorraine Bannai, who was a lawyer on the Fred Korematsu coram nobis case.  In my years working with Professor Bannai I created two extensive exhibits for our library, one about Fred Korematsu and the other about Gordon Hirabayashi. To make the exhibits I did extensive research in archives, news sources, and legal documents, and brought them together with photographs, and family artifacts to tell a compelling story. The exhibits have traveled and been shown in other libraries and colleges.  I also did extensive research for Professor Bannai’s biography of Fred Korematsu. All of these experiences are my favorite professional achievements because I was able to combine extensive research, investigation, and creativity to make educational exhibits and bring an important book to light.

7. What is your biggest food weakness? Harry and David’s Moose Munch.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? That changes frequently.  Right now it is Juice by Lizzo.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? I wish I could speak and read Japanese, for personal reasons (some of my family is Japanese) and because I dream about working there during a sabbatical.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without? A hug from my 11 year old son. Better yet, a hug and a joke.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us? I only recently joined this SIS and have found the members to be very friendly and welcoming.   Thank you!

Introducing…Sola Babatunde as the September 2019 FCIL Member of the Month

sola

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Nigeria where I also studied law. I later earned a LLM degree in Comparative and International Law from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

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

It was fortuitous. I had the fortune of knowing very wonderful and kind-hearted law librarians at a time when my possible career direction was in a flux. First on the list is the former library director at the Underwood Law Library, SMU, the very kind Gail M. Daly.  She was very supportive of my career. The second was Greg Ivy who succeeded her. He has always been a source of inspiration to me. And I still regard him as my informal mentor. There was also the immense support and guidance I received from Professor Yvonne Chandler. In addition to these fabulous people I received tremendous encouragement from Femi Cadmus. Allen R. Moye of DePaul Law Library graciously served as my mentor in midwifing my career as a law librarian. Mr. Moye helped me to find my feet in law librarianship. Yes, I selected law librarianship (and I am glad I did) probably because of the indirect influences of all these wonderful people who believed in me. In a sense, I am following in their footsteps. And every step of the way, it has been an exciting professional journey!

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

My view of law has always been cosmopolitan. First off, I hold a law degree from Nigeria. Nigerian law is a smorgasbord of British common law and traditional law and customs.  Second, my areas of legal specialization are: Comparative Conflict of Laws, Comparative Constitutional Laws,   Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure, and, Law of the Sea. My interest in comparative and international law is the offshoot of my legal training.

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

Liberty University School of Law. This is my seventh year at Liberty Law!

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

My native tongue is Yoruba, a language widely spoken in the southwestern part of Nigeria but the mode of instruction in schools (in Nigeria) is English.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Successfully managed my department’s transition to a new Integrated Library System (ILS).

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

I will always cherish banana split ice cream.

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

I am an acute introvert. No, I am not blessed with either the ability to dance or sing even if I wanted to. I will rather curl up in a quiet place with a nice literary work.

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

To play the keyboard.

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

Absolutely that will be coffee.

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

I hold the degree of Master of Divinity with focus on Pastoral Counseling.