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Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section

Strategic Plans

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2014 - 2017 Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan Committee Members


  Thomas Mills, Chair (Cornell Law Library)

Luis Acosta (Law Library of Congress)
arina Condra (University of Denver Law Library)
Jim Hart (University of Cincinnati Law Library)
askia Mehlhorn (Norton Rose Fulbright)
teve Thorpe (Drexel University Law Library)
elly Vinopal (Crowell & Moring, LLP)




The 2014-2017 FCIL-SIS Strategic Planning Committee (SPC; “current SPC) was pleased to see that a number of goals from previous Strategic Plans, particularly regarding the FCIL-SIS website, have been met.  Therefore, the current SPC decided to focus on one issue, which in turn generated three goals for the current 2014-2017 strategic plan triennium.


Issue: Since the 2008/2009 economic downturn, law librarians across the profession have been dealing with fewer resources, combined with higher workloads, and increased demand for FCIL services.


Goals generated: the three 2014-2017 SPC goals are:


1.   The creation of an FCIL-SIS portal of resources;

2.   The holding of an FCIL education summit prior to the 2016 AALL Annual Meeting in


3.   The promotion of webinars as a means of Continuing Law Librarian Education (CLLE)

for all members of AALL.


The three goals are discussed in more detail, below.  The members of the SPC will remain active during the 2014-2017 triennium in order to assist with implementation of these goals.


Goal 1FCIL-SIS Portal


The repercussions of the post-2008 economic downturn show that even the largest law libraries are no longer able to collect as broadly or deeply as they once did.  In addition, most law libraries have fewer staff, with positions remaining unfilled for lengthy periods, if not being totally eliminated.  Nonetheless, the needs for FCIL materials and specialized reference services have grown.  In fact, law schools have increased the importance and number of course offerings on FCIL-related topics.  Thus, fewer law librarians have fewer resources to deal with increasing FCIL needs.

Accordingly, the first goal of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan is to enhance communications among FCIL specialists, and between the FCIL and general law librarian communities.  To that end, a portal would be developed that is similar in function (but not content) to ASILs EISIL database (also the work of law librarians).  Among the items that might be included in this proposed FCIL-SIS portal are:


     The names of specialists in relevant subjects;

     The specialists’ skills;

     Teaching that relates to the subject;

     Material that was created and used in the teaching;

     Publications in the field, including research guides, articles, books;

     Databases and collections, and the institutions that hold them;

     Collection development plans.


Previously this data was collected via surveys and is housed in different areas of the FCIL-SIS website or not at all.  Now, however, the current SPC proposes to bring together existing resources and collect new information by: 1) gathering what is available from webpages; 2) following up by directly contacting libraries for missing information; and, 3) creating the portal itself, which would display some information and point to other information. SPC hopes to attract portal users who will feel invested in seeing that the portal is regularly updated and maintained.


Goal 2 – FCIL-SIS Education Summit


In the past, AALL has held institutes devoted to FCIL topics. The last of these institutes was held in the 1990s. Since then, a new generation of law librarians has joined the profession and the information landscape has undergone profound changes, especially in terms of foreign and international law. Each year there are FCIL programs at the annual AALL conference; however, time and opportunities for FCIL programming are limited by competing programming and activities.


Therefore, the second goal of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan is to hold an FCIL Education Summit in 2016 before the AALL annual conference in Chicago. The 2016 conference was chosen because Chicago is centrally located, with more people therefore likely to attend.  The 2016 date will also provide enough lead time to plan the summit. Some possible options for a summit are listed below:


1) FCIL Education Summit held in conjunction with the Private Law Libraries (PLL) pre- conference at the AALL venue. (PLL has been contacted about this option and is interested in discussing the issue once the 2014 Annual Meeting is completed).


2) FCIL Education Summit held independently of the PLL pre-conference at the AALL



3) FCIL Education Summit hosted by a Chicago area law school before the AALL Annual Meeting.


4) FCIL Education Summit held at a place and time other than the AALL Annual



FCIL-SIS Considerations Regarding a Summit:


1. The cost to participants (in addition to the cost of attending the AALL Annual Meeting). What price should attendees be charged? What costs would be covered for presenters? What other

costs might there be in addition to venue, materials, food, etc.? AALL does not allow an SIS to get sponsors for pre-conferences, so would all expenses have to be covered by the pre- conference education summit registration fees?


2. The possibility of participants joining remotely through  a resource like Webex. Would online participants be charged a reduced fee to the education summit?


3. Should the pre-conference education summit presentations be recorded and made available for viewing after a period of time?


4. What topics might be covered at the education summit?  Possible topics might include the finer points of teaching, such as how to write exercises or exams.  Or, substance-related issues might be covered, like finding the best sources for draft legislation in selected large non-English- speaking jurisdictions.  These are just two of many possibilities.


5. Who would be available to present on specific topics?  In addition, should a presenter be able to give a presentation remotely via a resource such as Webex?


6. What sort of time and resources are required for creating a pre-summit website with materials for attendees?  How long would the website stay active?


7. If the FCIL-SIS education summit is not held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting, might it be held in conjunction with another regional association annual meeting?  Might such an approach eliminate problems dealing with the coordination of hotels, travel, and facilities?


Goal 3 – More FCIL-SIS Webinar Offerings Coordinated with AALL Headquarters


Recently, staff from AALL headquarters in Chicago contacted SIS Chairs in order to encourage SISs to promote subject-oriented webinars, to be coordinated with AALL headquarters so that costs are kept to a minimum.  The FCIL-SIS Chair discussed this proposal with the SPC, which hopes to get more information from AALL headquarters on this remote-access version of Continuing Law Librarian Education (CLLE), and to make this information available to the wider FCIL-SIS membership.


2012-2014 Strategic Plan


The Strategic Plan Committee, consisting of Molly Brownfield (Chair), Vicenç Feliú, Gabriela Femenia, Don Ford, Teresa Stanton and Jean Wenger, prepared the 2012-2014 Strategic Plan with input from the SIS membership, including the Executive Committee.

The Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions and hard work of earlier Strategic Planning Committees and the involvement of FCIL-SIS members in this important planning process.

Goal 1: Actively promote education in Foreign, Comparative and International Law and Law Librarianship for specialists and non-specialists.

Goal 1--Strategies:

  • Identify core competencies for FCIL Law Librarianship.
  • Submit to the AALL Annual Meeting Program Committee and to local chapters proposals for programs, institutes and workshops designed to help both new FCIL librarians and non-specialist librarians master these competencies.
  • Develop mentoring opportunities for new FCIL librarians, including exploring the possibility of establishing liaison programs with foreign law librarians in cooperation with IALL and pairing up new and experienced members to co-author articles for publication.
  • Offer programs and resources on improving research-oriented foreign language skills at the AALL Annual Meeting and through other means.
  • Incorporate information technology into all FCIL-SIS education efforts to deliver both training in basic skills and continuing education programs on substantive topics, including making effective use of interactive media and the FCIL web site.

Goal 2: Enhance Position of FCIL-SIS and Expand Recruitment of and Involvement by FCIL Members in Profession

Goal 2--Strategies:

  • Advertise FCIL in librarianship (MLS, MSIS, MLIS) programs as well as JD programs.
  • Work with AALL recruitment ambassadors to create relationships with career services personnel in both law schools and information science graduate programs to increase awareness of FCIL career opportunities.
  • Promote opportunities for participation in the SIS via active outreach among newer law librarians.
  • Invite AALL members to attend FCIL Business Meeting and educational events via discussion forums such as ALL, RIPS, TS, SCCLL.
  • Pursue collaborative cross-sectional SIS endeavors in areas of overlapping interest (collection development, instruction, rare books, etc.).
  • Extend recruitment and marketing efforts to broader audience by utilizing Web 2.0 technologies (Facebook, Twitter, blog, RSS feeds, etc.).
  • Explore opportunities to promote FCIL-SIS at the local level through regional and local chapters.
  • Capitalize on FCIL-SIS member presence in other associations (ASIL, IALL, ALLA, SLA, AALS, bar associations, etc.) to raise national and international recognition of FCIL and to develop educational opportunities throughout the year.
  • Increase participation opportunities for foreign members in AALL through both in-person and online interactions.
  • Continue to offer the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians and enhance promotion of the grant by having recipients submit account of their annual meeting experience to AALL Spectrum.
  • Expand the marketing of all FCIL-SIS educational efforts and increase outreach to both FCIL and non-FCIL members of AALL.

Goal 2--Action Items:

  • Formulate message from Chair requesting MLIS and JD programs to add FCIL SIS link to academic career services.
  • Ask CONELL organizers to highlight FCIL content.
  • Ask other associations to add link to FCIL website to their own site(s).
  • Solicit opportunities to author articles in other organizations’ newsletters.
  • Add career services section to FCIL with testimonials from FCIL librarians.
  • Add webcast component to “A Day in the Life of an FCIL Librarian” article to AALL Spectrum or the ALL-SIS newsletter.
  • Annual welcome letter from FCIL Chair to new FCIL librarians inviting them to join FCIL-SIS.

Goal 3: Revise and Expand FCIL-SIS Website

Goal 3--Strategies:

  • Create a committee to oversee implementation of the goals listed below re: development of FCIL-SIS Website development
  • Create a committee to develop programs on basic and advanced FCIL topics to be presented outside of the AALL Annual Meetings, including via webinars, online tutorials, and other distance learning methods.
  • Conduct ground-up revision of site map and display settings to improve visual appeal, ease of use, and inter-linking.
  • Perform content analysis to ensure materials are unique, current, relevant, and useful to intended audience.
  • Continue to collect and post FCIL teaching materials, collection development policies and collection profiles and make them publicly available on the FCIL-SIS website.
  • Implement analytics to measure website usage and navigation.
  • Create FCIL-SIS Blog with regularly assigned bloggers.
  • Develop FCIL-SIS Wiki to serve as a clearinghouse for websites produced pursuant to the world-wide trend toward open access to legal resources.

Goal 3--Action Items:

  • Analytical Report of Current Website: Use Google Analytics to analyze the current website. See who comes, what they do, where/when they leave. Also, check with current webmasters to see if there are analytical reports since the last redesign.
  • Web Site Maintenance: Strategize about web site maintenance needs of the redesigned website. Discuss skill sets required for a two person web maintenance team and what tools these people should try to access, possibly through their employers (for example, institutional access to the webinars on the website).
  • ROT Analysis (Redundant, Outdated, or Trivial Items): Discuss items on the current website that might be considered redundant or outdated (trivial items are probably not an issue). Contact any FCIL-SIS members with webpages, syllabi, exercises, or Power Point presentations, and ask if the current postings should be maintained.
  • Site Map Redesign and Tagging: Do an initial site map and tagging analysis. Use the Google keyword tool to analyze search optimization; meta-keywords; meta-descriptions; keywords to help with content indexing and tracking.
  • FCIL-SIS Blog: Discuss whether to have regularly assigned bloggers. Some blogs have various people blogging on specific days of the week, with occasional guest bloggers.
  • Particulars proposed:
    • Keep the top bar logo with map and extend the bar to full size along the top of the screen.
    • Adapt current homepage default size to current screen usage (at 100% screen size, the homepage display is small and hard to navigate).
    • Use the Swedish Parliament’s Translated Legislation webpage as a model for the revised FCIL-SIS webpage. Some of the grayscale used on the Swedish Parliament’s webpage is easy on the eyes (look at the grayscale in most of the boxes and in the header). We should consider lightening the headline and navigation back bars’ shading on our own website.
    • Our own FCIL-SIS blog should be displayed more prominently and have a blog roll including such sites as:
      • EJIL: Talk!
      • IntLawGrrls
      • Opinio Juris
      • Prawfsblog
      • SCOTUSblog
      • UN Dispatch
      • WSJ Lawblog
    • We suggest having the following links to sub-webpages:
      • Foreign Law Resources
      • Comparative Law Resources
      • International Law Resources
      • Legal Research Guide (“Pathfinder”) Resources
      • Library of Congress (US Government)
      • United States Federal Government--Executive Branch Resources
      • United States Federal Government--Legislative Branch Resources
      • United States Federal Government--Judicial Branch Resources
      • Language Translation Resources (with a carefully worded caveat translator policy)
      • Legal Citation Resources
    • We suggest having an FCIL wiki with restricted administration rights. Suggested resources could be emailed to the administrator(s). This wiki is inspired by FCIL-SIS member Marylin Raisch’s 40+ page collection of legal resource links. We hope the wiki becomes a clearinghouse for websites produced pursuant to the world-wide trend toward open access to legal resources.
    • The SPC might include a discussion of resource redundancy (i.e., having multiple resource access points on the webpage) as part of the webpage revision process.
    • FCIL-SIS member-oriented resources should continue as they are on the website. The SPC should discuss the feasibility/advisability of these parts of the website being user name and password protected. Example: Course materials such as syllabi, Power Point slides, and exercises being accessible only to AALL members.


2008-2011 Strategic Plan


The Strategic Plan Committee, consisting of Dan Wade, Barb Garavaglia, Carolyn McKelvey, Victor Essien, Molly Brownfield, and Mary Rumsey, prepared the 2007-2010 Strategic Plan with input from the SIS membership, including the Executive Committee.

The Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions and hard work of earlier Strategic Planning Committees and the involvement of FCIL-SIS members in this important planning process.

Goal 1: Promote Education in Foreign, Comparative and International Law for Specialists and Non-Specialists.

Goal 1--Strategies:

  • Propose to AALL a new program (consisting of workshops or other educational programs) designed to train librarians new to FCIL work.
  • Offer session at AALL Annual Meeting on how to improve foreign language skills of members.
  • Collect FCIL development policies and collection profiles and make them publicly available on the FCIL-SIS website.
  • Create a committee to develop programs on FCIL topics to be presented outside of the AALL Annual Meetings (e.g., through the web).

Goal 2: Increase Active and Broader Participation of FCIL-SIS Members

Goal 2--Strategies:

  • Develop materials showing the need for law schools to offer FCIL legal research courses; add to website.
  • Develop informational material for career services personnel in both law schools and information science graduate programs to increase awareness of FCIL career opportunities.
  • Pair up newer and older SIS members to co-author articles for publication, and to work together on proposals for AALL meeting programs.
  • Recruit newer librarians to write articles for FCIL-SIS newsletter.
  • Prepare information on publishing opportunities for FCIL-SIS members; add to website.

Goal 3: Enhance Position of FCIL SIS within AALL

Goal 3--Strategies:

  • Use FCIL-SIS electronic discussion list to promote candidacies of FCIL-SIS members seeking AALL offices.
  • Encourage FCIL librarians to submit “A Day in the Life of an FCIL Librarian” article to AALL Spectrum or the ALL-SIS newsletter.
  • Identify FCIL librarians and/or associations of FCIL librarians outside the US; work to make and strengthen connections with them.
  • At the FCIL-SIS website, provide critical substantive information for non-FCIL specialists.
  • In coordination with AALL, continue to offer the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians to bring one or more foreign law librarians to each annual meeting.


2003-2006 Strategic Plan


Ken Rudolf, FCIL SIS Chair, formed the Strategic Planning Committee to draft a strategic plan providing for revitalization of the SIS and a renewed course of action for the future. The Committee of Jean Davis, Jolande Goldberg, Mary Rumsey, Dan Wade and Jean Wenger, Committee Chair collaborated extensively by email and met twice during the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in April. The Committee greatly benefited from the work of earlier FCIL SIS Strategic Planning Committees dating back to 1998. The FCIL SIS Strategic Planning for Continuing Education and Professional Development (Draft document, July 2, 1999), the meeting notes of the October 27, 2000 FCIL SIS strategic planning meeting (New York City) and the responses to the March 1, 2001 survey formed the core resources relied upon by the Committee.

The Committee viewed a three-year plan as a manageable time frame to accomplish the goals presented and to permit the SIS to plan in a quickly changing environment. Three goals were targeted that were believed to be fundamental to the mission of the SIS and that would serve as a foundation for revitalizing the SIS. Strategic planning is a vital tool necessary to advance the needs, interests and skills of the members. In order to continue the critical process of planning, implementation, and evaluation, the 2002-2003 FCIL SIS Strategic Planning Committee proposes that the Executive Committee create a standing Strategic Planning Committee.

The Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions and hard work of earlier Strategic Planning Committees and the involvement of FCIL SIS members in this important planning process.

Mission Statement

The FCIL SIS is to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on foreign, comparative and international law. The SIS also represents members' interests and concerns with AALL.

    -- By-laws, Art. II, Section 1

FCIL-SIS Strategic Plan 2003-2006

Goal 1: Promote Education In Foreign, Comparative And International Law

Rationale: "The object of the Foreign, Comparative and International Law Section shall be to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information of foreign, comparative and international law...." (By-laws, Art. II, Section 1) This goal is our very raison d?être. It is the purpose of the SIS to provide information and skills in foreign, comparative and international law to those who provide assistance to the library patrons who access this law. This goal intends to encompass the educational needs of the entire range of professional experience, from the new librarian to the most senior specialist.


  1. Improve program and workshop development process by establishing an ongoing and permanent Education Committee.
  2. Create training opportunities for librarians entering the profession.
  3. Encourage the Executive Committee and Chairs of Interest Groups and Committees to sponsor speakers and to host other activities.
  4. Identify educational needs of FCIL SIS members through surveys, questionnaires and/or listserv.
  5. Use FCIL Newsletter and website for educational purposes.
  6. Maintain Int-Law.

Goal 2: Increase Active and Broader Participation of FCIL-SIS Members

Rationale: An increase in active and broader participation will enable FCIL SIS to complete more projects and will increase dues revenue to support more Section activities. An increase in participation also
will aid the comparatively small SIS Executive Committee in accomplishing its goals. A more active and involved membership enriches the educational and professional experience of all FCIL SIS members.


  1. Establish Membership Committee.
  2. Introduce newer librarians to SIS through FCIL Newsletter.
  3. Develop Public Relations materials for law library director to promote creation of Foreign & International Law Librarian positions.
  4. Direct Executive Committee and Committee Chairs to identify potential committee members.

Goal 3: Enhance Position of FCIL SIS within AALL

Rationale: Enhancing the position of FCIL SIS will improve the SIS's ability to represent members' interests and concerns within AALL. While SIS members share many interests with other AALL members, our work generates unique issues. To ensure that AALL recognizes our concerns and works with the SIS to meet our needs, we must work to make the FCIL SIS a highly visible force within the larger organization.


  1. Executive Committee encourage members to submit articles to Spectrum, Law Library Journal and other publications.
  2. Maintain FCIL Table in the Exhibit Hall.
  3. Develop brochures and/or handouts explaining role and function of the FCIL SIS.
  4. Continue to review and update contents of FCIL website.