Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills

“Thank you for the opportunity to expand and polish my researching skills through a great program!” – James Biscone, current Oklahoma City University Law Student

 I. Purpose and History of Award Program

The purpose of the Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills (Award) program is to provide law students with additional training in legal research skills and to supplement the current research instruction provided as part of the Legal Research and Writing courses. Some Award classes are offered as refreshers on basic research skills, but others focus on specialized areas of law. After working as summer associates, many students recognize the need for additional instruction in a number of areas covered in the Award classes, including using print resources, specific practice area resources, and low cost alternatives to the subscription databases. All Award classes are taught by the reference librarians of Oklahoma City University Law Library (see section VI for current instructors).

Since the program’s inception in 2011, reference librarians have taught over 150 classes unique to the Award program; in addition, over one-half of our currently enrolled students have started accumulating points toward the Award. We celebrated our 100th recipient in May 2014, D.J. Burrus, a then first-year law student and President of Merit Scholars. Mr. Burrus felt that participating in the Award program was a rewarding experience: “Not only did it help me understand the basics of various legal research strategies, but it also gave me an edge on nearly every assignment I’ve had so far in law school. Briefs, research projects, class notes, and even participating in moot court oral arguments benefited from the information I learned in the legal research classes.”

Please contact Sabrina Davis at sadavis@okcu.edu with any questions about the Award program.

II. Eligibility for Participation

All currently enrolled Oklahoma City University law students are eligible to participate in this program.

III. How to Earn the Award

a. Requirements

Beginning Fall 2014, students must accumulate a minimum of 12 points to receive the Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills, which may be earned throughout the student’s law school career. (Students previously needed to accumulate at least 20 points.)

Students who started accumulating points for the Award program prior to Fall 2014 will be transitioned in to the new point system as follows: (1) students who have already earned 12 or more points will receive the Award certificate in the Fall 2014 semester, and (2) students who have earned less than 12 points prior to Fall 2014 will accumulate their remaining points in accordance with the new point system as set forth below. Students who fit in to either category will receive an e-mail in August 2014 notifying them of their current status.

In order to receive the Award, students must complete the Developing a Legal Research Strategy Award class, including the exercise. (This does not apply to students who earned the Award prior to Fall 2014 based on the above criteria; it does apply to students who have accumulated less than 12 points prior to Fall 2014.) Any other combination of Award classes or other designated Award opportunities may be used to accumulate the remaining 10 points. Note: as of Fall 2014, Legal Information Literacy/Legal Research Basics is no longer required.

b. Award Point Opportunities

Students will earn one (1) point for each of the following:

  • Attending an Award class or viewing it online (when available);
  • Submitting an optional exercise with at least eighty percent (80%) correct for an Award class (not all classes will have an exercise);
  • Submitting an optional exercise with at least eighty percent (80%) correct for Legal Research and Writing classes taught by a reference librarian (not all classes will have an exercise);
  • Research instruction by a reference librarian in substantive classes per request of the course instructor;
  • Research instruction by a reference librarian requested by student organizations, teams, centers, clinics, Law Review, Moot Court, etc.; and,
  • Attending special events as designated by the reference librarians; students will be informed by e-mail and social media of these opportunities.

Note: Points will not be awarded for attending vendor (Westlaw/Lexis/Bloomberg Law) training classes, research classes taught as part of Legal Research and Writing, Advanced Legal Research, Oklahoma Legal Research for Practice, or Texas Legal Research for Practice.

IV. Issuance of Award

Students who successfully complete the requirements will receive an award of completion signed by the Reference Librarians and may indicate this on their résumés. A letter outlining which classes students earned points for in the program will accompany the award. (Please note that students who complete the program will not receive any academic credit and completion will not be documented on the student’s official or unofficial transcript.)

V. Logistics

a. Schedule & Notifications

All Award classes are 50 minutes in length. The schedule of all classes will be posted on the Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills course calendar on TWEN and on the law school’s master calendar. Students will also be informed of upcoming Award opportunities on a regular basis via e-mail, Facebook (www.facebook.com/oculaw), Twitter (@OCULAW), and displays in the Law Library.

b. Location of Award Classes

Award classes will be held in the Homsey Small Computer Lab in the Law Library (Gold Star Room 197) unless otherwise indicated.

c. Registering for Award Classes

Students should register for Award classes through TWEN. Attendance is limited to 16 participants per session, on a first come, first served basis. However, students may contact Sabrina Davis at sadavis@okcu.edu to request special arrangements if all classes are full.

To initially enroll in the Award program, students need to do the following:

1. Sign in to Westlaw at http://lawschool.westlaw.com.
2. Select the TWEN link on the top of the page.
3. Select “Add A Course.”
4. From the list, select the course “Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills.”
5. Click the “Submit” button on the bottom of the page.

After enrolling in the Award program, students can register for individual Award classes by doing the following:

1. Sign in to Westlaw at http://lawschool.westlaw.com.
2. Select the TWEN link on the top of the page.
3. From the course list in TWEN, select “Award of Accomplishment in Legal Research Skills.”
4. Select the “Sign-Up Sheets” link on the left hand column.
5. Select the desired course.
6. Select the date and time.
7. Click “Sign-Up.”

VI. Instructors for the Award Program (Reference Librarians)

Lee Peoples – Education: B.A, M.L.I.S, and J.D. University of Oklahoma (semesters at Åarhus University, Denmark and Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Professor Peoples was appointed as Law Library Director in 2010. Prior to his appointment, he served as Associate Director, Associate Director for Faculty and Research Services, and Head of Reference Services. Before joining the faculty, Professor Peoples practiced law in Oklahoma City. He is admitted to practice in the State of Oklahoma, Western District of Oklahoma, and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jennifer Prilliman – Education: B.A. University of Central Oklahoma; J.D. University of Oklahoma; M.L.I.S. University of Oklahoma

Jennifer Prilliman is the Associate Director. Prior to entering the M.L.I.S. program, she taught advanced placement and college preparatory courses at a college preparatory charter school in Oklahoma City. While in law school she was a member of the Jessup moot court team, topic editor for the Oklahoma Journal of Law and Technology, member of the Board of Advocates, and received the Dean’s Award for Advocacy. She is an active member in the Oklahoma Bar Association, serving on the Law Day committee and the Bar Technology committee.

Timothy Gatton – Education: B.A. Cornell College; J.D. Oklahoma City University; M.L.I.S. University of Pittsburgh

Tim is the Head of Reference Services and is a 2010 graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law. While a student at Oklahoma City University, Tim was actively involved in many student organizations, wrote a cooking column for the student newspaper, and worked as a reference assistant at the law library during his last three semesters of law school. Tim worked as a reference intern at the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Library while completing his studies at Pitt.

Sabrina Davis – Education: B.A. University of Texas; J.D. University of Arizona; M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science, University of Arizona

Sabrina was a law library fellow at The University of Arizona while she was earning her library science degree. In that capacity, she provided research and reference services, assisted with collection development and cataloging, and conducted trainings for law students, faculty, and staff. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, Sabrina practiced family law in Tucson, Arizona for 3.5 years, and conducted research on court reforms in child abuse and neglect proceedings as part of The National Evaluation of the Court Improvement Program.