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Law Library News for May 1, 2000

Mary Whisner, editor

Law Library News Archive


Study Tips

hate to bring this up, but the quarter is drawing to a close and finals will come up soon. The Pollyanna in me wants to note that it is always rewarding to pull together all you have learned in a class and remind you that you chose to come to law school because you enjoy challenges. But let�s not be ridiculous here. Preparing for finals is a lot of work, and taking them is no walk in the park.

I�d like to offer some study tips in this column. For instance, you might find it useful to sit down with a couple of classmates and talk through an old exam, available on the Library�s website. (The Law Library posts whatever exams professors give us. If you find that your professor�s exams are not online, you might ask your professor to give a copy of the exam to Library staff.) You and your classmates might even use one of the Library�s group study rooms for your review session. (Groups have priority: a student studying alone should defer to a group of students who want to use the room together.) Maybe you would also find it helpful to skim a Nutshell, a Gilbert�s, or another study aid we have on Reserve. (Here is a good search in MARIAN: Search for keywords=property, then LIMIT your search to WHERE item is located=Reserve and Words in the Subject=outlines.)

Those are some of my tips. What are yours? Send them to me at and I�ll run them in a future column. I�m open to any sort of tip, whether scholarly ("outline your class notes with cross-references to your casebook") or not ("take a Snickers bar to the exam in case you get hungry"). Tell me if you would like your name used or if you�d rather have your tips be anonymous. Also please tell me your class (1L, 2L, 3L, LL.M.). I have prizes for students who participate.

Consider a Career in Law Librarianship

Beatrice A. Tice, Law Librarianship Intern

Hi there! I�m one of the Law Library�s Reference Interns. You may have seen me wearing a "Student Reference Librarian" badge in the Reference Office and wondered what that was all about. Well, I am an attorney, no longer in traditional practice, who is studying at the University of Washington to become a law librarian.

Law librarianship is a wonderfully diverse and exciting career. Law librarians work in academic institutions (like here) assisting faculty and students in research and curricular endeavors. If you have ever worked as an associate in a law firm, you already know how helpful the firm librarian can be, with everything from LEXIS-NEXIS training to research assignments! Law librarians also work in county law libraries, helping members of the bar and the public use legal materials. Law librarians work with the judiciary in court libraries. They also work in major corporations that maintain law libraries � and that�s almost every major corporation! In fact, virtually anywhere you can imagine a need for access to legal information of any kind, you�ll probably find a law librarian!

No matter where law librarians practice, they may be involved in every aspect of the process of providing access to legal information. This includes choosing which materials to add to a collection and processing those materials when they arrive at the library.

A law librarian�s most visible function is helping library users gain access to materials by answering questions at the Reference and Circulation desks. Sometimes questions can be simple, such as "Where are the ALRs?" Sometimes questions can involve complex research projects requiring the librarian to draw on numerous print and online sources. Most questions are intellectually challenging, and all questions provide a satisfying opportunity to help someone in need of information.

Most professional law librarians hold a Masters of Library and Information Science (or the equivalent), a degree program that takes one or two years. Although most library schools do not offer more than one or two classes specifically related to law librarianship, the University of Washington School of Library and Information Science offers a complete Law Librarianship Program, the only one of its kind in the country. Under the directorship of Law Librarian and Professor of Law Penny Hazelton, we law librarianship students take various core library science and special law librarianship courses. (The law librarianship courses are taught in Condon Hall and two � Legal Research I and II, taught by Mary Hotchkiss � are cross-listed with the Law School.) Most law librarianship students have an internship in which we work part-time in each of the major departments of the Law Library, including the Reference Office. Although a JD is not required in order pursue law librarianship as a career or to take the UW�s law librarianship classes, the law degree is a prerequisite for entry into the Law Librarianship Program.

So why did I choose to leave a career in litigation after more than six years and become a law librarian instead? Simple: I enjoy the field of law, I love helping people, I�m intellectually curious, and I got tired of hassling with nasty opposing counsel! If these traits apply to you as well�and you don�t think you�ll ever want to deal with opposing counsel, nasty or otherwise�consider a career in law librarianship! The salaries may not be as great as those offered by major law firms, but the rewards can definitely make up the difference!

For more information about law librarianship as a career, see Choosing Law Librarianship: Thoughts for People Contemplating a Career Move, an article written by Mary Whisner, at Also see the website for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the professional association for law librarians. For information about law librarianship education, see AALL�s Task Force to Enhance Law Librarianship Education web page. For information about the UW�s Law Librarianship Program, see the School of Library and Information Science website.

Do you still have questions about law librarianship, or do you just want to talk human-to-human about the profession? Catch any of us in the Reference Office or in the Law Library � we students and the professional law librarians all love what we do, and we�d be delighted to chat with you about it!