Category Archives: Law Libraries

New Episode! The Practising Law Librarian Podcast

The Practising Law Librarian, part of the PLI Ever Current podcast, brings you conversations with — and for — the law librarian community.

Episode #6: Ellyssa Valenti Kroski on Sharing Knowledge Sustainably

Host Karen Oesterle chats with Ellyssa Valenti Kroski, the Director of Innovation & Engagement at the New York Law Institute and an award-winning editor and author of 75 books, including Law Librarianship in the Age of AI, which won AALL’s 2020 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award. Tune in to hear Ellyssa share how she pursues work-life balance while working remotely from a rural homestead, how her commitment to repurposing knowledge led her to connect escape rooms and libraries, and more.

New Episode! The Practising Law Librarian Podcast

The Practising Law Librarian, part of the PLI Ever Current podcast, brings you conversations with — and for — the law librarian community.

Episode #5: Harris Crooks’ Open-Minded Career

In the latest episode, host Karen Oesterle chats with Harris Crooks, whose background in finance — and affinity for “assisting attorneys with weird and bizarre questions” — have led him to interesting roles at Stroock, where he serves as Director of Knowledge & Resource Services, and before that, at Skadden, where he was a Corporate Library Specialist. Tune in to hear more about Harris’ career path and advice for law librarians.

PLI Librarians in Beantown: Highlights from AALL 2023

Earlier this month, the PLI librarians enjoyed connecting with law librarians from across the country at the 2023 American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting & Conference in Boston.

At the PLI Booth, we provided demos of PLI PLUS, answered questions about the PLI Press catalog of publications, and shared our new podcast PLI Ever Current: The Practising Law Librarian. Hosted by Karen Oesterle, PLI’s associate director of legal research development, The Practising Law Librarian features interviews with movers and shakers in the law librarian community – many of whom were at the conference – including Cornell H. Winston, the incoming vice president/president-elect of AALL, and Becky Katz, whose poster “On the Right Track: A New Approach to Access to Justice in the District of Columbia” was on display in the exhibit hall.

At PLI’s Lunch & Learn, attendees watched a demonstration of PLI PLUS that highlighted several new enhancements added to the platform in the last year including an archival titles filter, Ever Current links, the trending titles and topics display, and more. Check out the slides from the presentation.

Trisha Petitt, Foley & Lardner LLP’s technical services librarian, pictured here next to PLI’s associate director of library relations Kay Mitchell (on the left), was the lucky winner of this year’s Lunch & Learn raffle.

It was great seeing so many of our colleagues in Boston this year! For anyone who couldn’t attend, check out these flyers from our booth:

Introducing PLI Ever Current: The Practising Law Librarian Podcast

Calling all law librarians! We are very excited to announce the launch of PLI Ever Current: The Practising Law Librarian, a new podcast for – and about – the law librarian community. Hosted by our very own Karen Oesterle, PLI’s associate director of legal research development, The Practising Law Librarian features interviews with movers and shakers in the law librarian field about new and emerging trends, useful resources, and legal developments, interspersed with tales and hard-earned advice from the storied careers of today’s leading law librarians.

The first four episodes are available now with more to come! Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify.

Episode 1: Cornell Winston’s 11th CommandmentKaren chats with Cornell H. Winston, the Law Librarian and Records Center Supervisor for the United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, as well as the incoming Vice President/President-Elect of AALL, about his career path from student worker at the Harbor-UCLA medical library, to circulation clerk at Whittier Law, to library roles at law firms, to his current home at the Department of Justice. Hear about the “11th Commandment” he applies to every class or presentation he leads, as well as a discussion about the enormous increase in the complexity and breadth of legal research today.

Episode 2: Gen Z Research With Olivia Smith SchlinckAs Head of Research Instruction and a reference librarian at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Olivia Smith Schlinck has some unique insights on Generation Z law students. She joins Karen to talk about her article “OK, Zoomer: Teaching Legal Research to Gen Z,” recently published in AALL’s Law Library Journal, as well as her tools for teaching introductory and advanced legal research at Columbia Law and Cardozo School of Law.

Episode 3: Music, Math, and More With Elaine KnechtElaine Knecht is not only the sole librarian for the 300-attorney firm Barclay Damon in New York — she is also a trained musician, opera singer, school librarian, and public radio classical music program host. In this episode, Karen explores the connections between music, mathematics, logic, and legal research with Elaine, and they discuss Elaine’s Summer Associate Research Academy and growing library of five-minute training videos on all matters library related.

Episode 4: Rebecca Katz on Access to Legal Research– Becky Katz’s lifelong commitment to serving those in need led her to found JusticeAccess, a free online law library for Washington, D.C. residents who need a law library but lack access to one. Among the library’s long-term plans is providing training to non-librarians so they can learn to do legal research and show others how to find the answers they need.

AALL 2023: Visit Us at Booth #403 Exhibit Hall C!

Next week Practising Law Institute will be at the 2023 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in Boston, celebrating our profession and the experts who provide meaning to our organizations. We know with all the interesting sessions and networking events taking place, your conference schedules may get booked fast—so be sure to save some time to visit the PLI booth!

You’ll find us at booth 403 in Exhibit Hall C, where you can learn all about the exciting new projects we have been working on in the past year, including new enhancements to PLI PLUS and new publications from PLI Press. Celebrate the launch of our brand new podcast PLI Ever Current: The Practising Law Librarian by entering our raffle to win a pair of Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – perfect for podcast listening!

Save the Date: PLI’s Lunch & Learn @ AALL Boston

Are you attending the 2023 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in Boston this summer? Join us for a luncheon to reconnect and learn what is new with PLI, including enhancements and upgrades to PLI PLUS. 

The luncheon will take place on Sunday, July 16 from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.

Email us at to RSVP if you will attend, and we will include location details in your confirmation email. 

Happy National Library Week from Our Library Team to Yours!

Back row: Alexa Robertson (left), Ian Galloway, Annie Coreno, Emily Valentine, Kim Roma, Kay Mitchell; front row: Karen Oesterle (left), Mary MacLeod, Jennifer Fiore, Nora Elkind, Christina D’Ercole.

As information professionals living in the information age, librarians are more vital than ever. We are proud to work with so many amazing librarians and knowledge workers to provide attorneys, students, and legal professionals access to expert-authored legal analysis and practice-oriented content.

Meet Our AALL 2022 Raffle Winner: Tom Kimbrough

At the 2022 AALL Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, PLI raffled off a gift certificate to Spa Finder. We are pleased to announce this year’s winner is Tom Kimbrough, Associate Director for Collection Development at Underwood Law Library at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. In keeping with tradition, Tom kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog. Read on to learn more about Tom’s work at Southern Methodist University, his start in international law, the article that changed his life/career, and more.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become a librarian?

Prior to becoming a law librarian, I spent eleven years as a transactional lawyer at four different law firms in three countries, including as a senior associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Korea practice groups at the Hong Kong office of Baker & McKenzie and as an associate in the Corporate Finance, China, and Korea practice groups at the Beijing office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.  I regularly worked on projects in China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Guam.  That fun pretty much ended once my second child came along and I basically had a choice of whether to try to save my law career or save my marriage/family life.  The precise moment of truth came in December 2003 when the partner I worked for the most told me I needed to relocate to New Delhi for four-to-six months for a big new project (representing Samsung Electronics in a new mobile phone supply network contract with an Indian counterparty).  My reply was to submit my resignation.

I had no idea what I would do next until I stumbled across (“googled across?”) Mary Whisner’s wonderful article “Choosing Law Librarianship: Thoughts for People Contemplating a Career Move,” which changed my life.  I moved from Hong Kong to Seattle/Mukilteo, spent a year as a volunteer working with Lettice Parker at the Snohomish County Law Library in Everett, and then enrolled in the University of Washington’s law librarianship program.  After graduating from UW, I was offered a job as a Foreign & International Reference Law Librarian at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and now, sixteen years later, I am still very happily at the SMU Underwood Law Library as the Associate Director for Collection Development.

What do you like most about your job as Associate Director for Collection Development at SMU’s Underwood Law Library?

I enjoy the diverse combination of teaching students, doing research projects for faculty, and selecting new materials (print and electronic) for our law library’s collection.  This mix of various responsibilities keeps the work fresh and exciting.  And I am very fortunate to work with an extremely talented and kind group of colleagues who get along fantastically and thoroughly respect each other’s abilities and expertise.  It is by far the most harmonious work environment I have ever experienced, and I hope to go on for another decade at least.

Which PLI publication do you most frequently recommend to students and/or faculty?

I teach a course on International & Foreign Legal Research (three credits) in the SMU Law School.  I spend one class session discussing the legal systems of four very different non-U.S. jurisdictions (P.R. China, Iran, Kenya, and North Korea) from a comparative perspective.  When I discuss China I often refer my students to the interesting and useful panel discussion provided in PLI’s Doing Business in and With China 2021, which I enthusiastically recommend to my students as providing valuable information on many legal and practical issues facing lawyers who advise clients with projects in China.  Because this excellent resource is available on the PLI PLUS platform to which the SMU Law Library subscribes, it is easy for my students to access it.

What did you think of this year’s conference? What was the highlight for you?

I greatly enjoyed and learned from this year’s AALL conference in Denver.  For me the highlight was AALL Program H-4 “Shameless Self-Promotion for Law Librarians: How to Get Visible, Benefit Your Career, and Impact Your Profession (While Having Fun).”  I am currently trying to promote, especially to law students and young lawyers, my recently-published law journal article “Law Firm Dynamics: Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game,” 75 SMU L. Rev. F. 241 (2022). I believe that my article provides useful advice to lawyers working in, or planning to work in, law firms, and I greatly appreciated the suggestions that the panelists at this AALL program provided me to try to enhance the visibility of my article.  If you know any law students or young lawyers, please consider forwarding the link to my article to them. 🙂

PLI Librarians Head West: A 2022 AALL Photo Essay

Earlier this month, the PLI librarians traveled to Denver, Colorado, to attend the 2022 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference. Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

At the Colorado Convention Center, where this year’s conference was held, we were greeted by a Big Blue Bear.
PLI’s president, Sharon L. Crane, speaking at the luncheon we hosted to celebrate the PLI PLUS platform’s 10th anniversary. Alexa Robertson, senior director of legal info serv & electronic publishing, also spoke at the event, followed by Kay Mitchell, associate director of library relations, who gave a live demonstration of the newly designed PLI PLUS platform.
PLI was proud to sponsor the inaugural Diversity Reception for Social Justice hosted by the Black Law Librarians SIS.
PLI President Sharon Crane speaking to attendees of the inaugural Diversity Reception for Social Justice, hosted by the Black Law Librarians SIS.
Karen Oesterle, PLI’s associate director of legal research development, poses at the conference’s photo booth.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth. It was great to see you! Visit our Training Center for digital versions of all the flyers and booklets from our booth.