FALL 2013

Law Librarians in the Classroom

Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room
Boston College Law Library

BC Law reference librarians fill dual roles as both instructors in semester-long research courses and as research librarians assisting assigned faculty members and students. All the BC Law reference librarians hold J.D. and M.L.S. degrees; "lecturer in law" is part of their job title. During academic year 2012-2013, the law librarians taught the following 2 credit courses: Environmental Legal Research, Immigration Law Research, Insurance & Civil Litigation Research, Intellectual Property Research, Research for Criminal Law Practice, and Tax Law Research. In addition, the law librarians taught 6 sections of the Advanced Legal Research, a 3 credit course.

Our approaches to teaching legal research are constantly evolving. We participated in the BC pilot program, "Tablets in the Classroom", and wrote an article about our experiences.

We adopted a flipped classroom model for selected research classes in the last academic year and we plan to expand this approach in Fall 2013. The flipped classroom model is based on students' completion of preparatory assignments prior to class; class time is then devoted to students working collaboratively through research problems with instructor support. This approach is sometimes known as the "No Lecture" model.

The BC law librarians' use of technology in teaching and our flipped classroom approach to legal research instruction was highlighted at the American Association of Law Libraries conference in July 2013. We were excited to see the interest shown by our BC Libraries colleagues, too, in our flipped classroom poster during Library Staff Day on August 8, 2013.

We see our active learning model as a means to fulfill the current demand in legal education to prepare "practice-ready" law students. All the BC Law legal research courses fulfill the Law School's practical skills course requirement. Student response to our teaching innovations has been very positive; students appreciate the fact that they are acquiring critical research skills and learning to work collaboratively.

Mary Ann Neary
Associate Librarian for Education and Reference, Lecturer in Law
Boston College Law Library