The Practitioners’ Council: Connecting Legal Research Instruction and Current Legal Research Practice
Law Library Journal, Vol. 103, Fall 2011
44 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 29, 2011
The ivory tower is the home of academic law librarians who teach legal research. But, because of the practical nature of legal research, legal research professors must make sure they reach outside of the ivory tower to connect with contemporary legal research practice. This connection to the “real world” allows legal research professors to better prepare law students to research in the “real world.”
This desire to stay connected to current legal research practice outside of the academy led the authors to form the Practitioners’ Council. This Council, made up of seven practicing attorneys, acts as an advisory board regarding current legal research practice and provides “real world” insight and experiences that enhance legal research instruction. This connection has helped the authors improve their legal research curriculum, better motivate students, and align legal research instruction with current legal research practice.
This article explores the need for academic law librarians teaching legal research to connect with contemporary legal research practice and examines how the Practitioners’ Council meets that need. It also details the creation and use of the Council, including the benefits derived from the Council. Finally, the authors offer tips for running a successful Council and other ways in which they plan to use the Practitioners’ Council in the future.
Keywords: legal research, practitioners’ council, instruction, advisory board, legal research pedagogy
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