The Access to Justice Committee has been reviewing and updating the Legal Link section of the LLNE website. Legal Link gathers general resources on legal information and research as well as state-specific resources for all New England states. It focuses on information about free and low-cost legal help, law libraries open to the public, and how to answer legal reference questions, making it a valuable resource for public librarians who have patrons with legal questions. Legal Link also contains information about free sources of legal information, basic legal research information, and guides to each state’s legislative process.
The Committee has reviewed all five New England states and identified a number of updates, which are in the process of being added to the website. Please consider promoting Legal Link in your public library community!
All public librarians are encouraged to apply for a scholarship, sponsored by the LLNE Access to Justice Committee, to attend our chapter’s Legal Research Instruction Program.
The Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP) is a six-week online seminar geared towards public librarians interested in learning more about law librarianship. Each week, a different aspect of legal research is covered — everything from an overview of the U.S. legal system, to finding business transactional documents. The class will run on Wednesday evenings from March 23 — April 27, 2022. For more information about the LRIP course, go to https://llne.org/legalresearchinstruction/ or contact Brian Flaherty directly at email@example.com.
The LLNE Access to Justice Committee is providing two scholarships to cover the cost of registration. Applicants must be public (non-law) librarians from the New England region.
Applications should be submitted through this Google form https://forms.gle/Wdyy1hiYQJtzNwY89 by Friday, March 18, 2022. Scholarship recipients will be notified by Monday, March 21, 2022.
We encourage all LLNE members to share this scholarship opportunity with their local public libraries and any public librarians that would be interested in this excellent professional development opportunity.
I am Anne Rajotte, the chair of the Access to Justice Committee. I am joined this year by three members: Dana Lucisano, Misty Peltz-Steele, and Sara McMahon. The Committee is actively seeking opportunities for outreach to public libraries and the community generally. Some possible initiatives this year include creating additional informational resources through Legal Link and submitting proposals to present at regional library conferences on topics related to assisting public library patrons with locating reliable legal information.
This fall’s virtual meeting, which focuses on technology and access to justice, should provide some inspiration and ideas for how law librarians can use their skills and resources to begin to bridge the justice gap. As our profession combines information seeking, legal knowledge, and technological innovation, we are natural participants in the movement to increase access to justice.
The Access to Justice Committee welcomes new members! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining us.
As the new LLNE president I wanted to take a moment and welcome everyone to this new membership year. In many ways, this year seems dishearteningly similar to last year, with all the uncertainty, anxiety, and apprehension about how the pandemic might affect our personal and professional lives. Our immediate past president, Nicole Dyszlewski, along with LLNE volunteers on and off the Executive Board, dedicated enormous quantities of time and energy to provide opportunities for us to continue to learn, engage with each other, and enjoy each other’s company — even without the luxury of face-to-face gatherings. Special thanks to all of you as well as to the following outgoing members of the Executive Board:
Bob de Fabrizio, outgoing past president, Manager of Law Libraries, MA Trial Courts
Ellen Frenzen, outgoing co-chair of the Communications Committee, Assistant Dean for Administration at Boston University Law School
Anne McDonald, outgoing co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Law Library Coordinator, Rhode Island Dept. of the Attorney General
AnnaKatherine Wherren: outgoing chair of Scholarships Committee, Legal Research Librarian, Suffolk University Law School
I’d also like to welcome the incoming board members:
Catherine Biondo, co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Research Librarian, Harvard Law Library
Kaitlin Connolly, co-chair of the Service Committee, Reference Librarian, State Library of Massachusetts
Josh LaPorte, vice president, president-elect, Head of Access Services, Boston University Law Library
Anne Rajotte, chair of the Access to Justice Committee, Head of Reference Services, University of Connecticut Law Library
Dawn Smith, chair of the Scholarships Committee, Head of Acquisitions, Yale Law School
LLNE means different things to each of us. For the 2012 version of me, membership simply meant seasonal meetings and the potential for engaging more with the LLNE community – once my infant and toddler daughters got a little older. In 2021, it means working with and learning from a group of awesome people from across New England. It’s also meant drawing cartoon llamas with other LLNE families and getting a glimpse of what executive board members’ canine companions think of them. Whatever this year brings, I hope we are able to find ways to continue to connect with each other.
Hi! We are Phoebe and Rupert and Josh LaPorte is our person!
Ellen: Hi, Phoebe and Rupert. Thanks for sitting down with us today.
Sara: Thank you for granting us this exclusive interview.
Ellen: We want to get to know the real Josh better and we thought we could start by asking you a few questions.
Phoebe: I really don’t understand why you want to talk to me about Josh when you could talk to me about myself, but whatever cranks your tractor.
Rupert: I love Josh, he is my favorite human. What would you like to know?
Sara: What does Josh do for fun?
Phoebe: Josh likes to cook and I always supervise him in the kitchen. He bakes a lot of bread and will never give us any of the dough because he read that it can expand in our stomachs and make us blow up but I think that is an unproven theory and the only way we can prove it is incorrect is if Josh gives me some dough.
Rupert: Josh knows I love vegetable scraps and always gives them to me when Phoebe isn’t looking. If she sees she steals them.
Phoebe: Those two are thick as thieves. Men always sticking up for each other. I should get those scraps!
Ellen: What is your favorite thing about Josh?
Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time on the couch watching 1980s tv; The Golden Girls, Dynasty, Designing Women, Murder She Wrote. He lets me snuggle on the couch with him. I love big hair and shoulder pads and time on the couch.
Phoebe: Josh is very easy for me to boss around. He is such a sucker for cute looks, which means I get more things to eat. And yes, those people in the 1980s lived by my motto (paraphrasing Dolly Parton): The bigger the hair, the closer to God.
Sara: What is your least favorite thing about Josh?
Phoebe: Josh simply refuses to acknowledge that I am a grown dog and can make my own decisions. I have to bark a lot to get through to him. He also fails to see that I need several meals a day; after all, one must keep one’s strength up!
Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time at this place he calls “work.” I really hate when he goes anywhere without me and it’s been nice having him spending more time at home with me because of what he calls “the pandemic,” whatever that is.
Ellen: What is Josh’s favorite guilty pleasure?
Phoebe: Josh is always listening to Céline Dion. If I have to listen to “where does my heart beat now” one more time I will eat Josh’s slippers just to teach him a lesson. Do you know all the lyrics to “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi?” Unfortunately, I do. I also know that Céline won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988 with that awful song. Josh even makes us watch the terrible video with Céline wearing a grotesque and horrible white ballerina skirt with a double-breasted blazer and terrible permed hair. Emetic!
Rupert: I don’t mind if Josh listens to Céline Dion, as long as he lets me snuggle on the couch with him while he does it. But his real favorite guilty pleasure is baths. He is always in the tub and it bothers me because I can’t get in with him so I just lie on the bathmat until he gets out.
Sara: This brings us to our final question: If Josh won the lottery what would he do with the money?
Phoebe: Josh is always yammering on about community organizing and collective power. I think he would use the money to fund organizing efforts. This is dumb, he should use the money to buy a house with a big yard I can run free in!
Rupert: I agree with Phoebe. But I also hope that Josh will get a ramp so I can get on the couch by myself, I can’t jump up by myself anymore.
On Sunday, October 28th, members of the LLNE A2J Committee and the LLNE Service Committee presented at the New England Library Association Conference (NELA) in Warwick, RI. The presentation titled “Law, Technology, and Access to Justice” discussed the access to justice gap in both New England and the United States and how technology is being developed to help bridge the gap. The presenters showcased a variety of current and upcoming technologies that are focused on helping self-represented litigants prepare for court, such as RePresent, Objection! Your Honor, and the Odyssey Guide and File. The session also tackled ethical concerns and the unauthorized practice of law with presenters role-playing common legal reference scenarios to show setting boundaries with patrons. Finally, and most importantly, the presenters discussed LLNE’s Legal Link resource for providing legal reference and referrals. The session was well-received and the attendees were engaged with the material. The slides from the session have been uploaded and shared on the NELA website.
For those of you interested in Access to Justice, SNELLA’s Spring Meeting is focused on A2J issues in Connecticut. Please see details, below.
The Southern New England Law Libraries Association (SNELLA) will host our Spring Meeting at UCONN Law’s campus on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. The day promises to be an great day of practical information about legal services to the public in Connecticut. If you aren’t a member and are interested in joining or you have any questions you talk to me or you can fill out the form here.
A2J: Law Libraries and Service to the Public
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 | 9:30-2:30
UConn Law School, Starr Reading Room, 55 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105
10:15-11:15: A2J in the Courts: Connecticut Court Service Centers. Presenters, Desiree Biggs, manager Court Service Center in Hartford & Alexandra Gillett, Program Manager for the Court Service Center Program.
11:30-12:30: A2J Education: Law libraries and public librarians. Presenters, Anne Rajotte, Head of Reference Services, University of Connecticut School of Law & Christopher Roy, Law Librarian II, Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Library at New Britain.
1:30-2:30: A2J in Public Libraries: Redefining Access to Legal Assistance for Immigrants. Presenters from The American Place Adult Education & Immigration Services at the Hartford Public Library
I’m writing to relay a change to the LLNE Service Committee approved by a vote of the attending members at the Fall meeting in Salem, MA.
In an effort to more effectively pursue two divergent initiatives (service projects and Legal Link), LLNE’s Service Committee has become two committees. The Service Committee will remain focused on planning and executing the public service projects associated with LLNE’s Fall and Spring meetings. A new Access to Justice (A2J) Committee has been created to continue the work on Legal Link and to pursue projects promoting access to and understanding of legal information.
The committee’s charge is copied, below.
Jessica Dziedzic Almeida, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Law School, is chairing the Service Committee. If you’d like to volunteer for the Service Committee, please contact Jessica at email@example.com. Mike VanderHeijden, Yale Law School, is chairing the A2J Committee.
Members of the A2J Committee:
Sherry Xin Chen (Boston College School of Law);
Nicole Dyszlewski (Roger Williams University School of Law);
Suzanne Hoey (Barnstable Law Library);
Jessica Pisano Jones (Social Law Library);
Natalia May (Vermont Law School);
Sara McMahon (Western New England School of Law);
Misty Peltz-Steele (University of Massachusetts School of Law);
Jennifer Robble (Boston University School of Law)
Mike VanderHeijden (Yale Law School)
Access to Justice Committee Charge:
The Access to Justice Committee shall consist of a chair, or co-chairs, and such additional members as the President shall designate.
Recognizing the acute need in many New England communities for access to legal information and recognizing the unique training, expertise, and resources of New England’s law librarians, the Access to Justice Committee shall partner with public librarians, court personnel and others to leverage collections, professional knowledge and skills to promote access to justice through greater understanding and availability of legal information.
Further recognizing that there are many as-yet unidentified opportunities to partner with Access to Justice communities of interest, the Committee shall not limit itself to familiar librarian roles. Rather, the Committee shall remain open to new and alternative modes and methods of supporting the Access to Justice movement.