The Roundtable on Legal Research met on Tuesday, July 18, 2000, from 12:15-1:30. The 29 participants present had an intense, informative, and wide-ranging discussion on many topics related to teaching an Advanced Legal Research course. The goal of the meeting, as set by ALL-SIS Chair Tory Trotta, was to build on the momentum started in the Roundtable held at the 1999 AALL Annual Meeting as well as to develop ideas for how ALL-SIS could fill a leadership role within AALL on the teaching of Advanced Legal Research.
CREATING AN ALL-SIS LEADERSHIP ROLE:
Faye Jones, Roundtable leader, opened the discussion by asking participants to present ideas on how to create a leadership role for ALL-SIS. Here is a synopsis of the ideas suggested:
Sara Robbins asked that unique or unusually effective ideas on teaching be passed along to her in preparation for a text on Advanced Legal Research which she plans to work on during her sabbatical next year.
GAINING APPROVAL TO TEACH A COURSE:
The discussion then turned to how to gain approval to teach an Advanced Legal Research course since such a course is not offered at all schools. The following is a summary of the ideas presented on how to gain approval based on the experiences of participants:
Look for support in a forthcoming article by Ann Hemmens, UW, who is updating Blair Kaufman's article on Advanced Legal Research course for her MLS thesis.
The Roundtable then spent some time discussing "What have our successes been?" Here are some things to lift your spirits on a slow day:
A discussion followed on student feedback on course construction. A common complaint of students is that Advanced Legal Research courses are lots of work for too little credit. As a result, some faculty have gone away from "treasure hunts" to basing the grade on a major pathfinder at the end of the semester with a series of smaller projects in between which were submitted and evaluated separately from the final project. Suggestions for meeting student needs included:
The Roundtable returned to the original topic of how to develop a leadership role for ALL-SIS in teaching Advanced Legal Research and made these suggestions:
Watch for new materials on the ALL-SIS home page to be posted by David Burch. These developments will also be covered in the ALL-SIS Newsletter. Faye Jones, Roundtable Leader, will create an email address list for all participants to allow more communication. (I hope to have this done by the end of September.) Please send me an email if you were unable to attend but would like to have your email address included. Finally, if I left out a great idea that was mentioned at the Roundtable, please let me know so I can pass it along to the participants or put it in another Newsletter article. Thanks to all of the participants in the Roundtable for their enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment to the teaching of Advanced Legal Research!
Legal Research Roundtable