Dennis Sears of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU.
At the AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in Chicago this year, PLI celebrated the global reach of Discover PLUS–which is now being accessed from all 50 states and more than 65 countries–by raffling off a $1,000 Orbitz gift card at our booth. Dennis Sears of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University won the raffle. Check out our interview with Dennis below!
Tell me a little about yourself. Why did you become a librarian?
I worked in the law library during my time as a student in law school. After graduating, I clerked for a judge and then as a hearing officer for the the Salt Lake County Tax Administration. A position came open and I was approached about joining the law library faculty. Evidently, they liked the work I did for them while I was in law school.
What do you like most about your job at BYU Law?
Working with the students and teaching legal research. Having clerked for a judge, I became acutely aware of how important effective, efficient, and accurate legal research is and to be effective and efficient, you have to be familiar with the secondary sources out there so that you don’t reinvent the wheel every time you get another research project.
What is the most common research question of law students?
Probably, where do I go to begin my research? Usually, by this time, students have thrashed about on their own looking for cases and statutes (maybe successfully, but maybe unsuccessfully) but they don’t know where to go from there.
Have you used PLI publications for your own research? Which ones?
Yes, I used the trial practice materials, such as jury instructions, depositions, etc. as well as appellant materials dealing with brief writing and oral argument. Now, I search for whatever will help students in the trial and appellant practice courses and even help professors find materials for the courses and their research.
What did you think of AALL 2016? Did you do any sightseeing in Chicago?
I thought the annual meeting was a good experience. The workshop I attended was outstanding. There was good programming and a lot to learn in the exhibit hall. I did visit the Chicago Institute of Art the afternoon that I arrived for a couple of hours.
Tell me about your best vacation ever.
My best vacation was after the annual meeting in Boston (which was also great for sightseeing historical sights) to Plymouth, Massachusetts. I had never traveled in the northeast, but visiting Plymouth, Plimoth Plantation, and Mayflower II and drinking in the ambiance of that area was a real treat for me and my wife.
Where do you plan on traveling with your Orbitz gift card?
To be honest with you, I was so caught off guard by winning this gift card that my mind has been in a whirl.
Thank you, Dennis. And bon, voyage!