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New Supreme Court Bulletin Student Leadership

Jenna & Nicole

We recently selected new leadership for our Supreme Court Bulletin Previews.  Jenna Howarth is the new Editor in Chief, and the new Executive Editor is Nicole Greenstein.   

Jenna graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 2014 with a degree in English and a minor in Economics.  While an undergraduate, she interned at a Boston courthouse, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts’ Justice Initiative, and a Boston law firm.  After her first year at Cornell Law School, she spent the summer working in the Child Protection Unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.  Add to that the time she spent at a publishing company, and it’s easy to see the intellect, experience, and passion she brings to the Supreme Court Bulletin.  

Jenna is excited to lead the Bulletin during the Court’s 2016-17 term.  She says, “I have really enjoyed the work I have done for the Bulletin this past year, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to contribute even more in this new role going forward. We have already begun implementing some of our new ideas for the Bulletin and have selected a very strong Editorial Board and associate class to create more great previews next year.”

Nicole is a self-professed “grammar geek” who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with degrees in English and Political Science.  With minors in both Journalism and Consumer Psychology, she spent two summers working at TIME Magazine.  During those stints, she saw her reporting featured as the #1 “Most Popular” story on TIME Politics and #3 on  Reporting on politically charged issues such as the 2012 elections, US foreign relations, and revelations about the National Security Agency, Nicole decided that law school was the next step for her.  

Nicole balances her interest in politics with the Bulletin’s decidedly apolitical editorial policies.  She says, “I have always admired LII’s mission to inform the public about important legal issues in an accessible manner. It is an honor to be a part of such a wonderful organization, and I look forward to another great year for the Bulletin.”

Traditionally, the EIC is responsible for setting and enforcing standards and deadlines, as well as training and overseeing the work of the Managing Editors who work directly with the Bulletin’s Associates to create each Preview.  The EE manages the Bulletin’s relationship with the Federal Lawyer magazine and works with LII volunteer Frank Wagner to ensure the pieces we send to the Federal Bar Association for their publication have an additional layer of polish.

LII Donor Profile: S. Blair Kauffman, Law Librarian and Professor at Yale Law School

kauffman_blairBlair Kauffman is a law librarian’s law librarian. He first became director of an academic law library in 1981.  Since 1994, he has headed the law library at Yale, consistently ranked by US News and World Report as the top law school in the United States.  He is a longtime friend and contributor to the LII.  Tom Bruce caught up with him recently during a professional visit to Cornell, and asked him a few questions.

TB:  I understand that your first act as a law librarian was shelving the stone tablets Moses brought down off the mountain…

BK:  The problem was that they were really heavy.  It actually took more than just me to do it — I really can’t claim all the credit.  And, you know, things have gotten steadily better.

TB:  Seriously, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen during your time in law librarianship? It’s easy to point at digitization, but if you look a little deeper, what do you see?

BK:  I think that the quality of people who have entered librarianship has steadily improved.  We attract better and better students and as a result we have had more and more competent library professionals.  That’s a big part of it.

And it’s not just the digitization of legal information, it’s also the automation of library processes. All the back-room functions that used to be paper-based are heavily automated.  There’s a lot less work at the low end and much more at the high end.  That’s made a lot more time for specialty work.

TB:  We typically talk about digitization of content, particularly for preservation of print materials, but of course there’s also digitization of metadata, Linked Data techniques, and so on.  Is that included in the specialty work?

BK:  Our leadership in technical services here has transformed dramatically.  We have much more integration of technical and public services than ever before.  We have tech services people who are brilliant, who really understand the technology from a very high level. They’re thinking very much about ideas that are outside traditional law library approaches to cataloging and organizing materials. We’ve added a lot of other talents to the mix, particularly Web services for information access and digitization.  And they’re all involved in teaching, too. These guys are all deeply integrated with all our front-line stuff.  It’s been really healthy for the institution.

TB:  How do you see what the LII and other open-access providers complementing what you do in academic law libraries?

BK:  I think they fit together brilliantly.  We don’t duplicate, we intersect at certain points — providing low-cost access to critical legal information that you can trust, from a trusted source. It’s essential for students who are going into budget-conscious practice settings where they won’t be able to afford the commercial services. The LII is an ever-expanding source of up-to-date, easy-to-find legal information they can get access to. It’s important in a library setting to know about that, especially if you’re serving people who don’t have access to the for-pay services.  In the international setting it’s especially important — not just the LII, but all the other LIIs that you’ve helped spawn internationally, in Australia, Canada… it seems like it’s an ever-expanding organism.  I’ve worked in Indonesia, Afghanistan, and other out of the way places, and it’s important to point them to your resources, because they can’t afford to get access to American law in any other way.

TB:  You mentioned reliability.  Where do you think that perception comes from?

BK:  I’ve known you guys from Day One, and you really care about reliability.  I’m sure you guys are more conscious of the warts because you really do care about it. If I see “Legal Information Institute”, I think, well, the source has been vetted, and these guys aren’t going to put it up unless it’s the real deal.

TB:  Why did you send us a donation?

BK:  I’ve been an admirer of the LII from the time you started it up. I just thought, “This is such an altruistic enterprise”.  It’s been an incredible, wonderful thing for so many people.  If you care about access to legal information, and I think that as a law librarian, well, obviously, you do, then the LII is more than worthy of support.

TB:  You got a lot of attention, some of it pretty snarky, for introducing “therapy dogs” as an innovative library service for students stressed out by exams. How many things can I check out of the Yale Law Library that aren’t books?

BK:  If our user community wants it, and you can bar-code it, you can check it out. No giraffes.  But you can check out games, umbrellas, bicycles, snow shovels, and and air mattresses.  I suppose that because it’s so different it’s seen as not quite serious, but we meant it to respond to mental health concerns that the legal profession has.  The law is a very stressful profession and students need to learn healthful ways to deal with that.  And because we have a non-hierarchical relationship with the students, we are uniquely positioned to provide that kind of service.

[You can read more about Blair here, and about Monty, the therapy dog, here.]

A Note From our Director: Thank You

bonobo-berlin-dustin-main-15Thanks to all of you, and most of all to those who:

  • …gave a little so others could have access to the law;
  • …used the LII as part of an innovative model for your own legal practice;
  • …took our materials and gave them to your students;
  • …found us to be a reliable bargain;
  • …let us help with your legal education, formal or informal;
  • …think we’re just a good thing for everyone to have around.

You were exceptionally generous during our last campaign.  We raised over $138,000 during the year-end campaign, nearly half again as much during any December campaign in the LII’s history.  Best of all, our community of support grew by an astounding 2,200 new supporters, further confirmation that we help to meet an ever-growing demand for access to legal information.

I’m especially grateful to those who took the time to fill out our donor survey —  you were generous with your time and thoughts as well as with your money.  What you tell us about yourselves and what you value about our efforts helps us better understand the details of our mission.  Like us, you believe that helping people find and understand the law is important, and we need you to help us understand how that happens and how to make it happen better.

Together, you make it possible for more than 30 million people to get free access to American statutes and regulations each year. We multiply your impact by sharing our technical and business expertise with more than 30 namesakes worldwide, and with colleagues engaged in everything from helping American veterans claim their benefits, to opening access to law in Liberia, to building new constitutions in Chile, Morocco, and elsewhere around the globe.  Most of all, your donations are a vote of confidence that energizes us.  

On behalf of the eight of us here, thanks again. Do let me know if you have thoughts or suggestions for us — just write to me at

Tom Bruce