Chicago-Kent and the AALL 2016 Annual Meeting

AALL 2016 Make it New LogoThe 109th Annual Meeting for the American Association of Law Libraries is being held here in Chicago July 16-19. This is the first time in 29
years that the meeting will be held in Chicago, which is also the home to AALL.

Chicago-Kent librarians and faculty will be very active in this year’s conference, speaking in programs, organizing events and welcoming law librarians from around the country to our city.

If you’re attending the conference, we hope you’ll find the sessions listed below helpful and of course you are welcome to tour our library in person or attend events like the CALL trivia night!

AALL President

The most active representative of Chicago-Kent at AALL 2016, of course, is Keith Ann Stiverson. She is not only our Library Director, but has also served as the 2015-2016 President of AALL. She shares the goal behind this year’s conference theme:

As the legal community and our profession continue to undergo massive change, let’s see it as an opportunity and react positively.

I chose Make It New: Create the Future for our 2016 theme to highlight the fact that we are the knowledge professionals who have more skills than most of our colleagues in the organizations we serve. We are the people who can truly help move our organizations forward into the future, so let’s do it.

Look around your organization to see what you can do to help solve its challenges, and then share your successes with all of us.

You can find the full conference program as a pdf or as an event app through the eventmobi program

Chicago-Kent Speakers at AALL 2016

Chicago-Kent librarians and faculty are presenting on a wide variety of research and technology themes at this year’s conference. Debbie Ginsberg was also very active in the Annual Meeting Program Committee that reviewed all the proposed sessions.

Sessions below are listed in chronological order – click on titles for session details.

  • Time & Location: Monday, July 18 at 9:45am – Hyatt-Regency Ballroom B
  • CK Speaker: Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian

Building Pro Bono Partnerships That Deliver

  • Time & Location: Monday, July 18 at 2pm – Hyatt-Columbus EF
  • CK Speaker: Ronald W. Staudt, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Access to Justice & Technology

Disruption in the Legal Industry: What’s Arrived, and What’s Coming

  • Time & Location: Monday, July 18 at 2pm – Hyatt-Regency Ballroom D
  • CK Speaker: Daniel Martin Katz, Associate Professor of Law and Director of The Law Lab

iSpy: Hot Topics in Internet Privacy

  • Time & Location: Monday, July 18 at 2pm – Hyatt Regency Ballroom B
  • CK Speaker: Lori Andrews, Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology

Scaling Initiatives into Larger Services

  • Time & Location: Monday, July 18 at 2pm – Hyatt-Grand Ballroom B
  • CK Speakers: Clare Gaynor Willis, Research Librarian and Emily Barney, Technology Development & Training Librarian

Innovations in Teaching with Technology

  • Time & Location: Tuesday, July 19 at 11am – Hyatt-Regency Ballroom C
  • CK Speaker: Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian

Welcoming Attendees

Any AALL 2016 attendees who are interested in touring our library are very welcome to stop by our service desk to pick up a self-guided tour as part of the Law School Library “Open Houses” event.

On Saturday, July 16, Chicago-Kent will also host two special pre-conference all-day workshops that were in high demand this year:

Our Research Librarian Scott Vanderlin served on the 2016 Annual Meeting Local Arrangements Committee and will be helping to host two of the local tours, which also filled up very quickly:

Trivia Fun

Clare Gaynor Willis has helped organize the CALL Trivia Night on Sunday, July 17 at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub at 8pm, an event with teams of librarians competing and local Quizmaster Dave acting as MC.

Scott Vanderlin will also be representing the Chicago Association of Law Libraries with an interactive trivia game at their display in the exhibition hall – stop by to test your knowledge of Chicago’s History, Geography, Entertainment, Science & Nature, and Sports!

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Expert Systems and Robot Lawyers

robot waves "hi:You may have read about the “Robot Lawyer” DoNotPay who can fix parking tickets (not in Chicago, sorry).  It sounds amazing, but the reality turns out to be quite simple.  The parking ticket regulations are pretty clear, and clients can get out of the ticket if they meet certain exceptions.  The “robot” asks a series of questions to determine if the client can meet any of those exceptions.

Is this the start of a new robot lawyer takeover?  Not exactly.  Products like these have been around for quite a while, answering all kinds of legal questions.  These “expert systems” ask clients a series of questions about their issue.  Based on a set of rules – or sometimes even sophisticated artificial intelligence – the systems then provide answers clients can use to resolve issues or even documents they can file in court.

One early example of an expert system is Chicago-Kent’s and CALI’s A2J Author software.  A2J Author was originally used to provide guidance for a simple divorce in Illinois.  Over time, CK students in the Justice and Technology Practicum have developed a variety of guided interview products, from discrimination complaint forms for the Illinois Department of Human Rights to child support documents for the California Administrative Office of the Court’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts.

Some of these systems can directly resolve disputes.  On eBay, buyers and sellers can use an automated system to resolve disputes.  No one wants to go to court over a $100 sale.  This system provides a convenient alternative.  The company that made this system – Modria – now creates resolution systems for other companies and organizations.

Do these systems compete with lawyers?  Not really.  Some lawyers offer systems like these on their own websites.  Potential clients may find that their issue can be resolved quickly with the online system.  The lawyer doesn’t make money, but now has a satisfied client who is likely to return.  Or clients may use the system to find that they need to hire a lawyer, something that’s often easier to hear from an impassive website than from a live person.

If you’d like to see more examples, check out this site from Neotoa Logic, a company that specializes in software for legal expert systems.


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Summer reading…had me a blast…

This could be you.

This could be you.

Ready to read for fun?  Well, then your first stop should be our Law and Popular Culture collection.  We have all of the ABA’s top law novels, a bunch of John Grisham titles, and other titles.  We also have DVD’s, including the ABA’s top law movies.

If you don’t find what you’d like here, you can borrow from over 80 academic library systems all across Illinois.  Yes, that’s right. And when you make a request online, they deliver directly to our library!

Or you can stop by an I-Share library while you’re out and about with your school ID and check out materials in person  (many Chicago-area universities are part of the program).

What can you borrow?

The items available depend on the policies of each library, but there are a huge variety of libraries in this system. Many of these libraries offer a wide variety of materials from textbooks to popular fiction to cookbooks to movies.

How long can you keep them?

Each item loan period is 4 weeks. Students can renew items 3 times (unless it is recalled by the library for one of their patrons) and staff and faculty can renew items 6 times. Continue reading

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CALIcon 2016

CALICon 2016 Logo

You’ve taken their lessons, and maybe even won one of their awards.  But during the summer, CALI doesn’t rest.  It’s annual conference, CALIcon, is coming up this week, from Thursday, June 16, through Saturday, June 18.

The conference is hosted by a different school every year.  This year, we’ll be heading to Atlanta to see the new law school building at Georgia State University.

Continue reading

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Summer Construction in the Library

construction sign 2016If you haven’t visited our library since exams ended, you may be surprised to see the major changes that have occurred over the last few weeks. As our campus prepares to welcome the IIT Institute of Design to this building, two floors in the library have been cleared to allow them to create new flexible workspaces.

Reorganizing materials has been a complicated project, but with careful planning we have preserved access to the library’s research materials and are working to maximize study space for our students as well.

8th floor microfiche & study room

8th flr. microfiche study room

Special services like the Media Room and the New Mothers room are located on the 8th floor and will not be affected by the change.

The microfiche storage from the 6th floor has been incorporated into an 8th floor study space. The Rare Books area on the 6th floor was relocated last summer as part of the archives move to the 985 suite.

Before & After – Images of the Move

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Preparing the Collection

Librarians have been preparing for these changes since the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. They started by identifying which volumes on the shelves were already duplicated in our online collections.

This was a simpler project for the sixth and seventh floors because of the types of collections they held. The 7th floor held primarily law reviews and journals, which were almost all already avail20160526CK Law Library 6th floor 43able through HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw. The 6th floor held our state materials and other books.

Although most duplicated materials were identified quickly, librarians also reviewed the collection by hand to identify materials that we would need to move to other areas of the library, primarily the 8th floor.

2016 Library Materials move

During the move, materials kept in the building were carefully marked and separated from items to be donated.

The next step was to contact other legal research collections and companies to see how we could donate print materials for various preservation projects. Many of the volumes were accepted by PALMPrint, a “collaborative [..] project aimed at developing a shared, circulating collection of primary U.S. legal materials in print,” while others will be sent to HeinOnline to supplement their scanning of historical legal materials.

Moving Process

With spreadsheets and maps carefully laid out by the Chicago-Kent librarians, professional movers began reorganizing the collections in May shortly after the end of exams. Items to be moved within the building were marked out separately, while items to be donated were prepared for removal from the building.

Library staff have followed through after the movers to remove the labelling system and perform our own quality control to review placement of the books.

What’s Next

Over the summer, the 6th and 7th floor library spaces will be renovated for the IIT Institute of Design and the internal library elevator will only go between the 8th and 9th floors. A few more bookshelves will be moved on the 9th floor to make room for additional study tables.

We look forward to welcoming the Institute of Design and will cover their arrival (scheduled by August 1) and their interesting, varied work in later posts.

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Library Services for Alumni

Alumni Card Back

This past weekend, Chicago-Kent was proud to send yet another class of students into the world of legal practice, armed with the skills and tools that they will need to succeed.  The library would like to congratulate all newly-minted alumni on their achievement. We would also remind them that we are still here if you need us.

Has your new boss asked you to find a regulation, and you can’t quite remember where to look?  Contact the reference desk!  Did you forget where to find a form for a contract you need to draft?  There’s a guide for that!  Just want to chat about the good old days in library?  We’d love to hear from you!

If there is anything that the library can help you with, just know that we are still here for alumni just as we are for current students.  Check out the alumni services page of our website.

Congratulations, Graduates!

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New Tools in Legal Research: Ravel Law Judge Analytics

Ravel Law is a free tool for legal research (like Google Scholar and casetext).  Ravel Law has added a feature not found in most legal research resources –  analytics.  Ravel’s Judge Analytics data provides detailed information about how individual judges think and rule on particular matters.  This tool recently won an award for best new product of the year.

The tool is powerful, yet very easy to use.  Users select a judge to research. Ravel can analyze that judge’s opinions to discover:

  • Which opinions the judge cites most often (and the language cited from those opinions)
  • Which jurisdictions the judge cites most often
  • Which other judges the judge cites most often

Continue reading

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April Authors at Chicago-Kent

One week in April brought us three book talks with authors discussing their latest works. The topics discussed at these events ranged from the looming crisis in personal savings and financial literacy to the role activists play in affecting constitutional law to a historical review of our first female U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Did you miss attending these events? I’ve summarized the discussions and Q&A from two events here and a video of the third event, along with links to help you borrow the books via libraries or purchase them online. Continue reading

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Summer and Post-Graduation Access to Westlaw, Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law

As summer approaches, many students and soon-to-be graduates wonder whether they will still have access to their favorite subscription databases over the summer.  Here is a summary of the access that will be offered during the summer of 2016:


Continuing students will be able to extend their passwords over the summer for academic purposes, including school work, moot court, unpaid internship/externships, law review, and research assistant positions.  As long as the work is related to school or for school credit, a student can use their Westlaw account.  Students can extend their passwords here.

While students can use their academic accounts for the purposes listed above, if a student will be working for a firm or other organization they should use the Westlaw account provided to them by their employer.

Graduates will also be able to extend their passwords through the end of November for academic purposes and bar examination preparation.  Graduating students can extend their passwords at this page.

Lexis Advance

  • Lexis Advance Summer Access – All students have Full Access with their law school ID all summer. This includes BOTH academic use and work use (no restrictions). No need to register – full access is automatically provided.
  • Lexis Advance IDs: Spring 2016 graduates have full access to Lexis Advance via their law school IDs through December 31, 2016. This ID also grants them access to the Graduate Home Page (detailed below).
  • Spring Graduate New Home Page: On July 1st, Spring graduates’ view of the Law School Home Page will switch from its current appearance to the “graduate view”. This new view will provide helpful information for your careers and job search.

Bloomberg Law

Bloomberg Law offers students unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law over the summer and for 6 months following graduation.  No special registration is required.


If you have any questions regarding access to any of these services, please feel free to contact our account representatives:

Westlaw – Dennis Elverman (
LexisNexis – Jonnell Simpson (
Bloomberg Law – Valerie Carullo (

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Teaching Technology in the Academy

Prof. Daniel Katz: “Let’s scale this stuff!”

In my last blog post about the ABA TECHSHOW, I mentioned that one of the conference’s workshops would be hosted at Chicago-Kent: Dean’s Roundtable: Teaching Technology in the Academy. This half-day program, held the morning of March 16, focused on the ways law schools are teaching technology concepts to law students, as well as which concepts are most important.

Continue reading

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