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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
11/17/2014 5:39:51 PM

Does your law library own the ten best legal movies of all time?

As we all know, law libraries aren’t just about books. We like to share our materials in all shapes, sizes, and formats. DVDs, eBooks, Websites, traditional print materials, etc. Today’s post focuses on a format , and resource, that law libraries of all types should be aware of—the top 10 legal movies of all time*—on DVD!

Here they are, in a countdown from #10 to #1.

10. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

9. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

8. Philadelphia (1993)

7. Erin Brockovich (2000)

6. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

5. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

4. The Verdict (1982)

3. 12 Angry Men (1957)

2. A Few Good Men (1992)

And, drumroll please. The #1 legal movie of all time:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Also interesting, the legal movie which garnered the most money was The Firm (1993) at $270,248.367.

*This list courtesy of abovethelaw.com.

The State Law Library of Montana possesses all of these top ten legal movies and they circulate regularly. Next up for the State Law Library—a legal film series “Reel Justice” in which local criminal and film college professors discuss the merits of each individual legal film to an eager group of pre-law undergrads and local attorneys.

BONUS: I saw this recently in the Summer 2014 WestPac News and had to try it out. Catalog Card Generator is a free Web application that lets you create a digital picture of your own customized catalog card. You just fill in the form and “make it.” We’ve used our library card as a handout for new employees to the Montana Judicial Branch. Love it!

Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson

State Law Librarian and Director, State Law Library of Montana

Montana Supreme Court, Helena, MT


Posted By Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson at 11/17/2014 5:39:51 PM  0 Comments
11/14/2014 4:52:39 PM



The AALL Leadership Development Committee calls for nominations for the 2015 Emerging Leader Award. The award recognizes newer members in their first 10 years of law library experience who have already made significant contributions to the Association and/or to the profession and have demonstrated the potential for leadership and continuing service. The Emerging Leader Award is presented to the recipient at AALL Annual Meeting. It is given in the name of the Association and carries with it a $500 cash prize.

Full descriptions of the award, the selection criteria, application information and past recipients are available at: http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Member-Resources/AALLawards/award-ela.html.   Nominations must be received by February 1, 2015, and the selection process will be completed by March 21, 2015.  If you have any questions, please contact Michele Finerty, chair of the Leadership Development Committee, at mfinerty3782@gmail.com.

Posted By Michele Finerty at 11/14/2014 4:52:39 PM  0 Comments
11/14/2014 11:29:58 AM

A Librarian or An Island?

I’ve been working as a law librarian in some capacity or another for the past four years.  In my previous positions I’ve always had other librarians and/or staff that I worked with directly on a daily basis.  This year I transitioned to a position where I am a solo law librarian in a private firm.  I’ve found so far that this type of position has its advantages and disadvantages. 

By far the biggest upside is the autonomy I’m afforded by my firm.  Decisions regarding the library are left entirely up to me.  I can add materials and cancel subscriptions to my heart’s content, within my budget, of course.  I recently made the decision to go entirely digital on a good chunk of our regularly updated material.  The process was very simple.  I made the decision, discussed it briefly with our Chief Operating Officer and then rang up my vendor to get the best deal.  Of course, the immediate downside to that is the library buck stops with me.  When there’s an attorney who’s cranky about having a print title switched to digital that goes to me too. 

Being a solo law librarian also means I get an enormous variety of research requests.  My firm’s practice areas cover a lot of different topics.  That means one day I’m looking up municipal codes for a property sale and that same day I’m also researching multi-state sales and use tax issues.  I personally enjoy the variety, but I can see how that would be easily stressful.  I also had to adjust from having immediate access to just about any material I could think of to having to operate within a much smaller access plan and find creative ways to get the information I am looking for.

I also wear more than just the standard law librarian hat.  I’m the marketing coordinator, webmaster, data room architect, digitization maven, event planner, photographer and, if you can frame a task that has anything to do with ‘information’, it could easily be assigned to me. 

I enjoy the work while I do miss having a workplace full of librarians to enjoy it with.  In short, probably not an island.  

© Jennifer Waite Haas. 2014. Law Librarian, Weiss Berzowski Brady LLP, Milwaukee, WI.

Posted By Jennifer Waite Haas at 11/14/2014 11:29:58 AM  0 Comments