Legal Research Instruction Program – Call for Volunteers

Do you know a lot about legal research? Do you want to share your knowledge with others?

If the answer is yes, then consider volunteering to teach a section of the Legal Research Instruction Program. Currently LLNE needs volunteers to teach Statutes, Administrative Law, as well as Transactional & Business Law this spring. There is also a need for substitute instructors who can fill in at the last minute if needed.

The course is taught by different law librarians from the membership of LLNE, with a different librarian teaching each section. Brian Flaherty from New England Law oversees the program and is there to lend support for all of the sessions.

The course runs on six Tuesday evenings from March 14 to April 25, 2017 (no class on 4/18) from 5:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Suffolk Law in Boston.

Teaching legal research is a great way to contribute to the field of law librarianship while developing your teaching skills. Please consider volunteering your time for this great program. Contact Brian Flaherty for more information.​

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Exciting News about the LLNE Legal Research Instruction Program

By Ellen Phillips, LLNE Education Committee Co-Chair

Each Spring LLNE offers a six-week legal research instruction program for librarians in the New England area who would like to learn about law librarianship. For many years, this unique course has been offering instruction in various legal topics.

Beginning this year, one class of the Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP), the section on Case Law, will be taught online. The rest of the classes will be held in person on Tuesday evenings at Suffolk Law in Boston as it has been for the past two years.

Each topic is taught by academic law librarians who are members of LLNE and is overseen by Reference Librarian Brian Flaherty from New England Law.

Currently Brian, along with Susan Vaughn, a legal information librarian from Boston College Law Library, is working together to create a lesson plan to teach caselaw online.  All of the instructors volunteer to donate their time to participate in LRIP, and the students have the benefit of being taught by a variety of information professionals who are also experts in their field.

Class participants are varied in their background and career goals. The class traditionally has an even mix of public, academic, and law firm librarians, as well as the occasional pupil who is considering library school. This ensures a lively mix of skills and experience, but it was noted that the majority of the participants are from the greater Boston area. It is hoped that by offering a hybrid format, LLNE will be able to encourage librarians who live further away to consider attending.

This year’s Legal Instruction class will run from March 14th through April 25th. Classes will not be held on April 18th. A description the program is available at the LLNE website. The deadline to register is Friday, March 7th.

The Education Committee is excited about this change and welcomes any feedback. The members of the committee are Greg Ewing, Brian Flaherty, Bonnie Gallagher, Elliott Hibbler, Jessica Lundgren, Ellen Phillips, and Susan Vaughn.

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Save the Date!

The LLNE Spring Meeting will be held Friday, June 9th at Boston University Law School. It will be a joint meeting with ABLL. The topic will be Professional Development. More information will be coming.

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Service Committee Drive for Project Smile: Wrap-Up

“Thank you so much- those stuffed animals were beautiful! Thank you for your efforts in collecting them for us.” – Catherine Piscane, Director of Project Smile

As part of the Fall Meeting, the Service Committee set a goal of collecting 70 stuffed animals for Project Smile to celebrate LLNE’s 70th anniversary.  With Bear leading the way and armed with the hashtag, #LLNE70forSmile, members took to social media to show their support and post photos of the stuffed animals in route to Maine.  With your help, the LLNE Service Committee was able to surpass their goal and donate over 150 stuffed animals to Project Smile.  Now, due to your hard work and generosity, a lot of children will receive comfort when they need it most.

Thank you to the members of the LLNE Service Committee for organizing the Project Smile Drive.  The Service Committee is always looking for more volunteers!  If interested, go to

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Fall 2016 Meeting Service Project – Project Smile


Dear LLNE Member,

My name is Bear and I am getting ready to go on an adventure. My first stop will be the LLNE meeting on October 28th at The Westin Portland Harborview. While you all are learning about law library assessment, I am going to meet with other stuffed animals to discuss best practices for making boys and girls smile and how to be extra huggable. We are preparing to go to Project Smile, which will deploy us to children who are going through a traumatic experience.

I am a little nervous about this journey, and hope you will help by sending lots of nice friends to join me. Since it is LLNE’s 70th anniversary, we’re hoping to send at least 70 of us to Project Smile.

How Can I Help?

  • Bring a new stuffed animal to the meeting.
    • Stuffed animal must be under 20 inches in length
    • Stuffed animal cannot have a year sewn on it
    • Stuffed animal cannot have a battery compartment or make noise (sorry Tickle Me Elmo)
  • Mail a new stuffed animal to:

Joshua LaPorte

University of Connecticut

School of Law Library

Access Services

39 Elizabeth Street

Hartford, CT 06105


  • Bring or mail a monetary donation, and the Service Committee will purchase stuffed animals for Project Smile.

Although Project Smile notes that Build-A-Bears are very popular, you don’t have to break the bank to help out. Here are some stuffed animals under $10:

As I mentioned before, I’m a little nervous about this journey, and I would love to connect with some of my soon-to-be friends before the meeting. If you’re bringing a stuffed animal, please take a picture and post to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.




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Voting Day Bills of Rights

Election day is less than a month away.  Did you know several states have voting day bills of rights?  In New England, these states include Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont.  Find out your rights on election day and make sure you’re registered to vote!

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Updated: Fall 2016 Meeting

The LLNE Fall Meeting will be held in Portland Maine, at the Westin Harborview Hotel on Friday October 28, 2016.  For links to the conference and hotel reservations see:

The program, entitled By The Numbers: Law Library Assessment, will focus on the tools used for data collection in law libraries and assessment of all segments of law librarianship.  Teresa Migel-Sterns, Director of the Yale Law Library will talk about ALLStAR Benchmarking, a tool to be used in academic law libraries for data collection and analysis.

Scott Bailey, Director of Research Services at Squire Sanders in D.C., will be discussing a project he and the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals SIS of AALL has developed for assessing the work of private law libraries.

A third session will be an UN-Conference focusing on the new ABA Standards for Outcome Assessments and what academic law librarians are doing to comply with these standards in their legal research instruction.  This will be led by Stephanie Weigmann, Associate Director for Research, Faculty Services and Educational Technology at Boston University School of Law.

Last, but certainly not least, the afternoon will be capped off with a celebration of LLNE’s 70th Anniversary.  There will be cake and champagne and displays filled with LLNE memories!  So reach out to the retired members you still keep in touch with and invite them to join us in our celebration!

Registration for the meeting will be 40.00 per person, with a reduced rate for retired LLNE members and students (20.00).  There is a block of rooms set aside for this meeting at the Westin Harborview Hotel to be reserved at a reduced rate.

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LLNE Social Media Survey

Please help LLNE to find new and better ways to reach all of you regularly by completing this very short Social Media Survey. This survey is only five questions and will only take about five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact


LLNE Communications and Technology Committee

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Fall 2016 LLNE Meeting

By The Numbers—Law Library Assessment

In this era where libraries MUST prove their worth and value to the institutions they serve, data collection and library assessment has become an essential duty we must all undertake.  Data collection and analysis will allow librarians to better understand and quantify the library’s strengths and weaknesses, determine the drivers of demand on the library’s resources, along with changes in those demands, and to properly allocate resources.  Improved understanding of the data generated will allow librarians to justify resources needed, motivate staff, and better plan for the future.

At the fall LLNE meeting, attendees will be introduced to tools used for law library data collection and assessment for all segments of law librarianship.  We will also be celebrating LLNE’s 70th Anniversary with a program highlighting LLNE’s history and accomplishments.  Please be on the lookout for more details as they develop.

The meeting will be held at the Westin Portland Haborview Hotel in Portland Maine ( on October 28, 2016.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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A Deep Dive into Big Data

A Deep Dive into Big Data

Brian Flaherty

I have a colleague who now and again laughs about the time “when we were wizards.”  When we reference librarians would wave our wands (or eyes) over digests or (worse yet) shepards – gibberish to mere muggles – and come up with citations to relevant legal authority crowned with the title “good law.”  He points out that we are no longer wizards – that with google scholar & well chosen search terms, people unfamiliar with the law are able to do adequate legal research (of course, I’m quick to point out that “adequate legal research” just doesn’t cut it these days).

I say this because just now, I think some librarians look at “big data” as mystical, and at the folks who can harvest and manipulate it as magicians.  But demystifying it is, I think, essential for a clear understanding of what’s behind it, how powerful it is, and how it can be used.  The “Deep dive” on big data went a long way towards doing this.  I am going to attempt a short summary, but what I write here will be inadequate.  I urge everyone to get the powerpoints and reading lists from the AALL site when they’re available, and become familiar with this.  The overused phrase fits here: it is the future of the law practice.

Briefly: Big Data are information sets that are too large or complex for traditional processing models.  For example: a data set including every federal case would be “Big data.”  Robert Kingan from Bloomberg Law began the program with a great definition of what constitutes big data, and a discussion of just how difficult it is to collect it in a form that is useful for any kind of analysis.  He said that some 80-90% of the work for any kind of a project is just collecting and cleaning the data, putting it into a format where it can be used.  Think, for example, of getting the aforementioned set of all federal cases into a spreadsheet, where one column was “Judges name” and you begin to get a feel for how huge an endeavor this is.  Daniel Lewis from Ravel talked a bit about how they go about manipulating the data once they’ve got it – with a short discussion of the uses of SQL and NoSQL (“Not Only SQL”) and the benefits of both.  Irina Matveeva from NexLP gave a short discussion of Language Processing – what would seem to be the next step of data analysis – where there are programs that can do document analysis, email forensics, and other linguistic manipulation extremely quickly.

Following this introduction, and a brief discussion of how BloomberLaw (Robert), Ravel (Daniel) and NextLP harness Big Data in the resources they provide, we were given the opportunity to explore what planning a “Big Data”project would be like.  Folks got into groups at tables and devised a possible project, a list of some of the resources they would need, and a list of some of the necessary players (e.g. librarians, programmers, 3rd party vendors).  Some of the ideas were fantastic: one table talked about creating a predictive tool that could be used to determine whether a law enforcement officer would be likely to be accused of a civil rights violation – and what kind of data sources would be necessary to create such a tool (personal history? Demographic information?).  At our table, one person was engaged in creating a resource that would predict the likelihood that a piece of legislation would pass – and so we talked about the data necessary to do that: the sponsor’s history, party affiliation, words in bill titles that have passed, public sentiment (retrieved from news sources & social media).

In all, Big Data is fascinating stuff – incredibly useful for its predictive value of everything from the outcome of a court case, to the passage of legislation.  Not only should we be paying attention, we should be “deep diving” into it, to understand what it can do for us and the legal community.

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