President’s Letter

kelly_dennis10fa4a4a8f6bd683ab184ff000040cfadVolume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)
By Joan Stringfellow

Happy Spring!

Wow, I can’t believe my year as President of SWALL is almost over. It has been a busy year—listserv problems and disappearing emails, many fake emails attempting to get our money, discrimination laws (aka bathroom laws), Hurricane Harvey and massive flooding—okay these might seem negative for my last letter. Alas, no. These are just examples of how great we are as a group! I want to thank all of our committees and members for a great year, but I’d like to send a shout out to the following:

Emily Lawson did a great job working with AALL and keeping us going during the listserv fiasco, transitioning to the new website platform, and keeping our website above par—thanks Emily!

Carla Cates was not going to let anyone get our money and always knew a phishing email when she saw it—thanks Carla!

Chris Dykes and the Grants Committee worked hard to make sure that we continue to honor our successor librarians by keeping our named grants—thanks Chris, David, and Wendy!

Alyson Drake and the Publications Committee have also had a busy year creating the new WordPress site for our SWALL Bulletin—thanks to Alyson, Jamie, Bailey, and Lela!

Then there was Harvey.  When Hurricane Harvey hit (and kept hitting), everyone jumped in to help, whether it was making a donation, sending supplies, or volunteering.  Hurricanes and floods are tough, but we are tougher—thanks to all!

I would finally like to thank and the Local Arrangements Committee and Program Committees for all of their hard work on our upcoming SWALL/HALL 2018 Annual Meeting in Houston #Diversify—thanks to Monica, Katy, Margaret, Lori-Ann, Richard, Heather, Joe, Mariann, Mary Ann, Jeff, Michelle, Stacy, Monica, DeCarlous, and Chris.

It’s also a big year for both groups:  SWALL turns 60 and HALL turns 40!  The program looks fantastic and I know that our Houston librarians know how to host like no other!!

thanksIt has truly been an honor to serve you all this year!!  I hope to see you all in a few weeks!!


Joan Stringfellow
Head of Technical & Electronic Services
Texas A&M University School of Law


Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018) Table of Contents



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Teaching in Poland: 4 Questions with Jeff Woodmansee

Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)
By Jeff B. Woodmansee, 2017-2018 SWALL Vice President/President-Elect

The School of U.S. Law is a new international course of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Silesia. It is being organized in cooperation with the law faculties of three different universities based in the United States:

  1. Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
  2. UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law
  3. University of Toledo College of Law

The course is comprised of ten sessions, which take place on one weekend each month. Each weekend session is led by professors specializing in particular areas of U.S. law, delegated by the law faculty of one of the partner universities. The classes are conducted solely in English. Program description:

Professor Jeff B. Woodmansee, J.D., M.L.S., was one of four Bowen faculty members who participated in the inaugural edition of the School of U.S. Law program in conjunction with the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. He taught Specialized Legal Research in U.S. Criminal Law in 2016. Course sections had 35 enrolled students and were taught in English during live sessions. These courses covered approximately 16 hours of content over a two-day period each month.


This class was designed to equip students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary for effective legal research, with a specific focus on the legal research materials and strategies used in the practice of criminal law for students interested in becoming criminal prosecutors or defense attorneys. The course reviewed the basic concepts of research and foundational primary sources of federal criminal law, including the Constitution, statutes, case opinions, and specialized materials relevant for criminal law research. The class emphasized research methods in a variety of online formats, including modern database searching via Westlaw, Lexis Advance, Bloomberg Law, Fastcase, Google Scholar, and Justia, as well as relevant federal government websites and online sources for factual investigation.

  1. What are your thoughts on the School of U.S. Law?

The collaborative effort on the part of the participating faculty from Bowen and colleagues from the other law schools, partnering with the amazing team of faculty and staff from the University of Silesia, has made for a truly meaningful cultural exchange and enriching legal education program for those students who enrolled in the inaugural year of the program. Without a doubt, this course became much more than a study of U.S. criminal law research and comparative legal systems. The program brought together a diverse background of American educators along with law students and active legal practitioners from all over Poland (and other parts of Europe) to make for a truly enriching exchange of ideas, culture, and new methods of teaching and relating to others. Everyone – myself included – learned so much from this experience.

  1. How was your teaching experience?

The first group of students comprised of wide range of ages, personal and professional backgrounds, and previous international experiences. Collectively, these students quickly exceeded my expectations and any uncertainty I had about communicating content and making connections. Most were quite fluent English-speakers who arrived eager to learn and were very thoughtful and engaging. They came in with a surprisingly keen awareness of American popular culture and the basics of our criminal law system – at least the way it is portrayed in the media and Hollywood.

The students were interested in the substance of the class, but were equally curious about the U.S. legal education system and legal processes.  As a result, each day’s sessions of structured content presentations and related class activities worked well in this format. Perhaps some of the most impactful moments arose from the several “unplanned” free-flowing class discussions that gave students an open forum and provided me with many opportunities to assess their interests and skills and adapt our approach as we moved through session material. For example, having both a practicing judge and an experienced criminal defense attorney among attendees led to several  “mock trial” activities. Informal discussions about student use of Westlaw for class led to comparisons of the major databases primarily used in Poland and Europe and a student-led demonstration of their two major platforms. Students also knew a lot about the O.J. Simpson murder case because of two recent American television series which led to a lot of questions and discussion about our system. It was particularly helpful that the University and attendees were very flexible in how session hours were structured and our time was allotted over the two days, including making some minor adjustments to the schedule as we moved through the content and class activities that went longer than anticipated.


  1. Did you enjoy your time in Poland?

Silesia’s hosts made it a fantastic experience and I was made to feel incredibly welcome from the moment I was met at the airport. The law school’s supporting faculty and staff, particularly my international liaison Tomasz Chabryzk, went above and beyond in literally every aspect of my visit. This includes everything from airport and hotel fees to logistics and collegial and technical support on-site throughout class sessions. They also showed such great concern for my personal needs, comfort, and particular interests while visiting. One of the highlights of the experience was being taken out for dinner and drinks by Tomasz, Anna Lichosik, and other colleagues after the first day of teaching, including a trip to the top floor of the SkyBar overlooking the city. Tomasz also arranged a wonderful downtown walking tour on my final night that I will never forget. While I wish I could have planned to visit Krakow or Warsaw while in the country, Katowice was a beautiful city with an interesting blend of old and new architecture. More than buildings, the long conversations about our respective cultural perceptions and personal paths to the legal profession were so enlightening.  I can honestly say that I have never been treated so well. I was so grateful to have such a thoughtful “right hand man” assisting me at every turn, particularly since this was my first trip to Europe and there so much going on over those couple of days.

  1. Is there anything you would like to add?

I have shared a personal email communication with Michal Pyrzowski, one of the half-dozen or so students I struck up a friendship with during my time there, who I have kept in contact with via email and social media since April. I have others, but this email from Michal, below, is illustrative of some of the good relationships started during my short stay. He indicated to me that he would be happy for any of his quotes to be included in a write-up about this program if it would be useful.


“Dear Professor,

Thank you very much for those warm words. You must know, that from all of the subjects so far in this course, yours was the most valuable, practical and I have to say important for every lawyer to attend. The atmosphere you created, [and the] discussion and the content you provided for us was one-of-[a]-kind. And for that, thank you very much.

And if you ever need any assistance or reference I could help with please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,
Michal Pyrzowski”



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Let’s Celebrate in Houston!

Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)
By Monica Ortale

SWALL is turning 60 and HALL is turning 40!  Come join your colleagues in Houston, April 5th to April 7th at the Magnolia Hotel.

The Program Committee has put together a fabulous list of topics that will appeal to everyone and the Local Arrangements Committee has put together some fun events. Check them out at the SWALL/HALL Conference Website.

Everything kicks off at Thursday’s opening lunch, featuring Jim Bradley, Acting Director of the Government Publishing Office. Following an afternoon of terrific sessions, there will be, not one, but two, receptions for you to choose from, followed by tapas and salsa dancing at Andalucia’s.

Friday and Saturday will be equally eventful with more sessions and opportunities to visit some of Houston’s fabulous restaurants or to watch the World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, in action against the San Diego Padres.

April is a beautiful time to visit Houston! In an effort to save the environment, let’s create a smaller footprint — please bring an old SWALL or AALL conference bag with you, and perhaps a lanyard or name tag holder.

Since the weather will be so nice, take the opportunity to visit the museums and sights around the third largest city in the U.S.

Highlights inside the 610 Loop include:

Just outside of the 610 Loop, must-see sights include:



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SWALL Election Results

Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)

Please join us in congratulating our new Board of Directors for 2018-2019:

Vice-President/President-Elect: Stacy Fowler, St. Mary’s School of Law Library
Secretary: Cassie DuBay, Southern Methodist University, Underwood Law Library
Treasurer: Jamie Baker, Texas Tech University School of Law Library

Many thanks to the Nominations Committee for finding a wonderful slate of candidates!


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SWALL Committee News

Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)

Publications Committee

We are looking for attendees to write recaps of SWALL/HALL 2018 conference sessions. Recaps will be posted on the SWALL Bulletin site, where members who aren’t able to attend the conference can share in the professional development and exchange of ideas.

Recommended length for blog posts should be 400-700 words, and bloggers should include at least one photograph from the session they are recapping. Posts should be submitted as soon as possible after the conference closes, but no later than Monday, April 23rd. Photos should be submitted as email attachments, not embedded in emails or word processing documents.

If you are interested in blogging, please email Alyson Drake, SWALL Bulletin editor, with the name(s) of which program(s) you are interested in recapping. You can find a full list of the programs here.

So far the following programs are covered:

  • Adapting Steenken & Brooks’ Sources of American Law (Tracy Eaton)
  • Big and Little Success Strategies for Every Government Library (Stewart Caton)
  • Preparing Students for Summer Externships and Employment (Ed Hart)
  • Putting the “Person” Back Into “Personnel”: Emotional Intelligence in Law Libraries (Alyson Drake)
  • Developing Cultural Intelligence, Parts 1 & 2 (Chris Galeczka)
  • Accessing Government Records: Overview of the PIA Request Process (Joe Lawson)
  • Video Outreach & Editing Deep Dive (Deb Hamilton)

If everyone volunteered to blog one program they’re attending, we could bring nearly the full conference experience to those who are unable to attend!

Even if you’re not blogging, you can still help share with those who can’t attend by tweeting using the conference hashtag #swall2018!


LISP Committee

Community Service at SWALL: Inside Books Project

Inside Books Project LogoLISP & the HALL Community Service Committee are collecting new and gently used books for the Inside Books Project. Collection containers will be available on site at the SWALL Annual Meeting. For more information about the Inside Books Project and a list of books need (and not needed), please visit  If you have any questions, please contact Heather Holmes.

The Inside Books Project is an Austin-based community service volunteer organization that sends free books and educational materials to prisoners in Texas. Inside Books is the only books-to-prisoners program in Texas, where over 140,000 people are incarcerated. Inside Books Project works to promote reading, literacy, and education among incarcerated individuals and to educate the general public on issues of incarceration.


LISP and the GLL Committee will jointly host an opening night reception at the SWALL Annual Meeting. The reception, which will be generously sponsored by the Thomson Reuters Government Group, will be held at the Harris County Law Library on April 5th at 5:30pm. All SWALL attendees are invited to the reception.


SWALL, in collaboration with HALL, is pleased to offer special registration opportunities for public, academic, and special librarians in the Houston area to attend the 2018 SWALL/HALL Annual Meeting. The Legal Information Services to the Public Committee (LISP) is providing a free seminar called Diversify Your Toolkit: Legal Research for Everyone, which will focus on providing legal research assistance in any library setting. Law librarians who assist patrons in public and academic libraries will provide insight into conducting reference interviews with patrons of diverse backgrounds, understanding the Texas court system, and locating appropriate legal resources. The Opening Lunch and Keynote Address, generously sponsored by LexisNexis, will follow the legal research seminar at noon at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Houston. Cynthia Etkin, Sr. Program Planning Specialist, Office of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office, will be the featured speaker. The cost to attend the Opening Lunch and Keynote Address is $45.


Life Membership and Memorials Committee

The Life Membership and Memorials committee would like to encourage anyone who would like to nominate someone for the SWALL life membership.  Please contact Karin Strohbeck, the chair of the committee, with any potential nominees.


Location for Future Meetings Committee

Attention Texas Law Libraries and Librarians: Have you considered hosting SWALL 2020?

SWALL is looking for a dedicated Local Arrangements Committee to host our meeting in 2020. Local Arrangements responsibilities include:

  • Selecting and making all arrangements with the conference hotel;
  • Recruiting sponsors;
  • Coordinating registration for attendees and exhibitors;
  • Making a gorgeous conference program;
  • Acting as the go-to resource for local information.

Fuller details are available upon request. There are many experienced SWALL meeting organizers available to consult with the Local Arrangements Committee, making the workflows easier to manage.  With all the help and support, Local Arrangements is a whole lot of fun!

If your organization and your city would like to host the SWALL 2020 meeting (and earn the eternal gratitude of your SWALL colleagues!), please submit a short statement of this fact that includes the following information:

  • Your name, your city, and your institution
  • Name of person who would act as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee
  • Number of people available to join the Local Arrangements Committee
  • Number of people expected to be available to work as volunteers at the meeting (at the registration desk and as tech support if appropriate)
  • Name of local law library and whether it can host a tour and reception
  • Anything else that communicated why your organization/city would like to host SWALL in 202

Please submit your information to Jennifer Laws before April 1st for fullest consideration.  Thank you!


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SWALL Member News

Volume 41, Issue 2 (Spring 2018)

Jamie J. Baker has been named Interim Director at the Texas Tech University School of Law Library.

Jamie J. Baker, Interim Director at the Texas Tech University School of Law Library, spoke at the South Carolina Law Review Symposium, “Surviving the AI Surge: Artificial Intelligence and the Practice of Law” on a panel entitled, “The Evolution of the Research Process.”

Alyson Drake, Assistant Director of Public Services at Texas Tech University School of Law Library, published several blog posts on DipLawMatic Dialogues, the blog of AALL’s Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section:

Edward T. Hart
, Assistant Professor of Law and Assistant Dean for the Law Library at UNT-Dallas, wrote a recap of the IALL 2017 presentation on “Information Literacy in a False/Fake News World for DipLawMatic Dialogues.


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