MALL 2011 Legal Research Institute

There’s still time to learn how to help patrons with those legal information questions. Sign up for one or more of the Legal Research sessions offered by the Minnesota Association of Law Libraries.

To gain basic legal research skills, library staff typically have three choices:
*take a course in legal bibliography from a local library school
*take a legal research course for paralegals at a local community college
*learn as you go on the job

In Minnesota, there’s another option – the Legal Research Institute. Brief, targeted sessions taught by local law librarians and colleagues. $50 a session or $250 for 5 or more (students: $35 a session or $185 for entire institute) . Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:45 p.m. at Hamline University Law School in St. Paul. (Free parking!)

Schedule & Session Descriptions:

Session One, September 13
The American Legal System
Mary Wells, Research Librarian, Schoenecker Law Library, University of St. Thomas
The first session covers the basics of the legal system of the United States. While not covering any legal sources or legal research processes, it will serve as an introduction and foundation for the rest of the series. Topics include the Constitution, the structure of America’s government, the relationships among governmental branches and between the state and federal governments, and the functions, processes and products of the three branches. Examples, illustrations, and streaming audio and video will enhance the learning experience.

Session Two, September 20
Secondary Legal Materials
Megan Jens, J.D., Reference Librarian, Hamline University Law Library
This two-hour presentation covers sources that analyze and explain or aid in finding the law. It offers techniques for finding and using treatises, periodicals, reference works and practice materials.

Session Three, September 27
Researching Case Law
Karen Westwood, J.D., Head of Reference
Warren E. Burger Library, William Mitchell College of Law
This presentation describes commercial and official reports emanating from American courts at all levels, and includes techniques for finding, using and updating federal and state court decisions.

Session Four, October 4
Federal Statutory Law and Legislative Histories
Sarah G. Mulligan, J.D., Law Librarian, Faegre & Benson LLP
Grace Mills, J.D., Law Library Director and Associate Professor of Law, Hamline University Law Library
This session will cover the federal legislative process, from a bill’s introduction to its codification as law, and emphasizes how to find laws and the documents generated in the lawmaking process. Free and fee sources for these documents will be presented, plus ways to track bills.

Session Five, October 11
Administrative Law
Suzanne Thorpe, J.D., Associate Director for Faculty Reseach & Instructional Services
University of Minnesota Law Library
This presentation describes the legal publications emanating from federal administrative agencies and discusses techniques for finding and using federal regulations and administrative decisions in both hard copy and electronic resources.

Session Six, October 18
Minnesota Law & Legislative History
Vicente E. Garces, J.D., Reference Librarian, University of Minnesota Law Library
Paul VanCura, Reference Librarian, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library
This session focuses on the use of primary and secondary sources to research Minnesota law. Statutes, cases and administrative law resources will be examined and discussed in the context of research strategy. A practical overview of how to conduct Minnesota legislative history research will be presented, and electronic resources will be highlighted.

Session Seven, October 25
Intellectual Property Law
Jody Pizzala, Senior Paralegal, Merchant & Gould PC
Hope Porter, Head Librarian, Merchant & Gould PC
This course will discuss the phases of a patent litigation and the ways that librarians and information resources support that process. Examples of searches for patent records will be provided.

Session Eight, November 1
Disaster Law
Neal Axton, J.D., Reference Librarian
Warren E. Burger Library, William Mitchell College of Law
This session provides an overview of federal and Minnesota law related to emergency management, including statutes, agency regulations and Presidential Homeland Security Directives. Emergencies discussed will include floods, snowstorms, earthquakes, pandemics and terrorism. The concept of cascading disasters will also be covered.

Session Nine, November 8
Debtor-Creditor Law and Ethics
Randall Ryder, J.D., The Ryder Law Firm LLC
William G. Cottrell, J.D., Cottrell Law Firm PA
Paul Healey, J.D., Senior Instructional Librarian, Jenner Law Library, and
Associate Professor of Library Instruction, University of Illinois College of Law
Randall Ryder will discuss the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and resources for both consumers and creditors to learn more about their legal rights and obligations. Bill Cottrell will present the steps involved in collecting a debt through the legal system. He will take questions from the audience and provide an overview of what typically goes on when collecting a debt or defending against it. Paul Healey’s presentation will explore the concept of professionals ethics, specifically as it applies to providing legal reference services. Specific areas of ethical concern will be addressed, to help librarians understand how to deal appropriately with such issues.

Build a skill set. Build an extended network of colleagues.

For more info and to register:

The MLIS Student Governance Organization offers the SGO Professional Development Fund. Find the form on the MLIS website in Kateway.

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