On October 25, the Private Law Library and Academic Law Library Special Interest Groups jointly held a session about AI and the student experience.
Gathering to learn more about what students are learning and using in the school and firm environments, the groups had a lively conversation and left with a better understanding of how we can support students as they start seeing more AI resources during their school and articling careers.
We had 3 academic speakers sharing their perspectives, which ranged from "not touching on it at all" in lower-year legal research and writing classes to using the "cool mom approach": we know students will use AI, so let’s teach them to use it safely.
Each speaker stressed the importance of teaching students to question data sets and results, try multiple approaches, and not rely solely on AI for their research.
Our 3 firm speakers touched on the role and scope of internal AI committees setting policies and guidance for responsible AI use. Firms are also using research sessions to remind students to learn the limitations of AI tools and understand how to evaluate results for accuracy and authority.
While articling, students must also consider how client privacy requirements might influence how and when they would incorporate AI tools into their work.
Ending with a roundtable, the groups agreed that we have an important role in building AI skills, becoming experts in using AI tools for research efficiency, identifying training and development gaps, shaping use policy, and piloting new tools.
The AI landscape is still rapidly shifting, and we concluded with a recognition that academic and firm librarians will all succeed more effectively in this space if we continue to meet and share our experiences.
Le texte français suit.
The Membership Development Committee (MDC) is excited to be back in the full swing of things, with an excellent group of volunteers and plans in the works for membership events to come later this season.
In the immediate, however, the return of fall means the return of school visits on behalf of the Association.
As it has been a few years since we have had the opportunity to visit many of the professional and technical programs across Canada, the MDC is working on updating and expanding our list of contacts at the various school programs.
We would like to encourage our CALL/ACBD membership to forward along to us your ideas and suggestions for programs we should connect with; your contacts at your alma mater, and of course, your interest in attending a school visit, should you wish!
The MDC Co-Chairs Beth Galbraith and Katherine Melville can be reached at: email@example.com
Le Comité de recrutement des membres (CRM) est ravi d’être de retour dans le feu de l’action grâce à un excellent groupe de bénévoles et aux projets d’activités à venir plus tard cette saison.
En attendant, l’arrivée de l’automne est synonyme du retour des visites dans les établissements d’enseignement pour l’Association.
Étant donné que nous n’avons pas eu la possibilité de visiter les programmes professionnels et techniques au Canada depuis quelques années, le CRM s’efforce de mettre à jour et d’élargir sa liste de contacts dans les différents programmes d’études.
Nous invitons les membres de l’ACBD/CALL à nous faire part de leurs idées et de leurs suggestions concernant des programmes avec lesquels nous devrions établir des liens, des personnes à contacter auprès de leur ancienne université et, notamment, de leur intérêt à participer à une de ces visites!
N’hésitez pas à contacter les coprésidentes du CRM, Beth Galbraith et Katherine Melville: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you all know, 2024 is another election year for our association and a Nominations Committee has been struck to solicit expressions of interest, or the names of members who are willing to stand for election to the Executive Board.
The members of the Nominations Committee are Daniel Boyer, Vicki Jay Leung, Allyssa McFadyen, Carolyn Petrie, and George Tsiakos (Chair). Our sincerest thanks to these CALL/ACBD members for taking time to serve on this important committee.
In 2024, there will be one position open for election: Second Vice-President.
If you are interested in standing for office, please contact any member of the Nominations Committee [contact info available in the Members Directory in the members-only section of the CALL webesite].
Current Executive Board members also welcome inquiries about serving on the Board. The Committee will present an initial slate of candidates to the President by mid-November, and the President will communicate the names to the membership by Dec. 1.
Afterwards, a write-in process outlined in our Bylaws facilitates nominations from the general membership.
Serving on the Executive Board provides a tremendous opportunity to build your professional network and skill set. It is also personally rewarding and a great way to give back to the community.
We hope that you will give some thought to providing leadership to the association. The investment in time and effort is worthwhile.
Comme vous le savez, 2024 est de nouveau une année d’élection pour notre association. Un Comité des candidatures a été mis sur pied pour solliciter des déclarations d’intérêt ou le nom des membres qui sont disposés à se présenter à l’élection du Conseil exécutif.
Le Comité des candidatures est composé des membres suivants: Daniel Boyer, Vicki Jay Leung, Allyssa McFadyen, Carolyn Petrie et George Tsiakos (président). Nos remerciements les plus sincères à ces membres de l’ACBD/CALL qui se rendent disponibles pour siéger à cet important comité.
En 2024, il y aura un poste à pourvoir, celui de deuxième vice-président.e.
Si vous souhaitez vous porter candidat.e, veuillez contacter l’un des membres du Comité des candidatures [vous pouvez trouver leurs coordonnées dans le Répertoire des membres dans la section réservée aux membres du site de l'ACBD].
Les membres du Conseil exécutif se feront également un plaisir de répondre à toute question à propos des mandats au Conseil.
Le Comité des candidatures présentera une première liste de candidats à la présidente à la mi-novembre, et cette dernière communiquera les noms aux membres avant le 1er décembre. Par la suite, une procédure de vote par correspondance, prévue dans nos Statuts, facilitera la nomination par l’ensemble des membres.
Siéger au Conseil exécutif constitue une formidable occasion d’élargir votre réseau professionnel et de perfectionner vos compétences. C’est également une expérience enrichissante sur le plan personnel et un excellent moyen de redonner à la communauté.
Nous espérons que vous songerez à la possibilité d’assurer le leadership de l’association. L’investissement en temps et en efforts en vaut la peine.
The CALL/ACBD Board recently approved the creation of a new AI Standards Working Group as a sub committee of the Vendor Liaison Committee.
This group currently includes members from Ontario and Alberta, representing Academic and firm libraries.
We are currently seeking to add new members to the group.
Members from courthouse or government libraries from jurisdictions outside of Ontario and Alberta would be preferred, however all interested people are welcome to contact us with expressions of interest.
Please send an email to Annette Demers (chair) at "ademers AT uwindsor.ca" to express interest.
Le Conseil exécutif de l’ACBD/CALL a récemment approuvé la création d’un nouveau Groupe de travail sur les normes de l’intelligence artificielle à titre de sous-comité du Comité de liaison avec les éditeurs.
Ce groupe est actuellement composé de membres de l’Ontario et de l’Alberta représentant des bibliothèques du milieu universitaire et de cabinets d’avocats, et nous recherchons de nouveaux membres pour y siéger.
Des membres travaillant dans une bibliothèque gouvernementale ou de palais de justice dans une province autre que l’Ontario et l’Alberta seraient préférables, mais toute personne intéressée est invitée à nous contacter pour nous faire part de leur intérêt.
Veuillez transmettre votre déclaration d’intérêt par courriel à Annette Demers (présidente) à l'adresse "ademers a commercial uwindsor.ca".
It is republished here with permission of the author, with minor edits.
Generative AI will disrupt legal research. Its negative impact has been highlighted in mainstream media in the UK and the US. Many legal information professionals have valid concerns about how generative AI’s application in legal research may impact the integrity of the profession. Meanwhile, social media (e.g., LinkedIn and Twitter) is flooded with legal tech companies’ commentary on how it can be harnessed to streamline legal research, improving efficiency and productivity. I reached out to several colleagues to hear their thoughts and ideas on how to address this contentious topic in their legal research classrooms.
Determining whether the impact is net negative or net positive will take years, but while we wait, it is important to figure out how to address existing and developing generative AI applications with new legal researchers. Students will use them whether it is discussed in the legal research classroom or not. Once they graduate, students will be faced with AI laws, policies, and guidelines they will be required to follow as it becomes embedded in legal practice and daily-use tools. Ensuring they have the technological literacy to assess generative AI tools is crucial.
For the purpose of this post, I am using definition of generative AI with LLMs as presented by the MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI, “… computer systems that can produce, or generate, various forms of traditionally human expression, in the form of digital content including language, images, video, and music. LLMs are a subset of generative AI used to deliver text-based formats like prose, poetry, or even programming code.” This post does not address academic integrity explicitly, but there is, of course, overlap given that the context is law school.
There have been multiple accounts of generative AI passing law school exams and the bar, however these are examples of replacing a student or lawyer, not examples of an assistive technology. I intend to teach it explicitly as a supplemental tool in a way that encourages critical thinking and analysis. Most importantly, discussions and activities will communicate that AI should not be used to generate legal research from scratch. Foundational legal research skills are required for productive, accurate use of generative AI. I anticipate it will be an ongoing discussion throughout the year and not isolated to a single class.
I intend to introduce existing general-purpose tools, like ChatGPT, as I teach legal citation to highlight the significance of a well-crafted prompt and why the review and assessment of AI output are crucial. I will continue to do a comparison activity between the common legal research platforms and the variations in search results that I’ve done every year, but with the addition of generative AI legal research tools as a new comparator (e.g. Jurisage). I am also in the early stages of organising a Legal Research Technology day for my LRW class for this upcoming academic year that will inevitably include some generative AI tools, whether standalone or embedded in existing platforms.
To see how other legal research instructors are approaching generative AI, I reached out to several colleagues across Canada and the US to hear their thoughts and get some inspiration. They kindly responded to the following questions:
Annette Demers, Reference Librarian at the Paul Martin Law Library, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
For the fall semester, 2023, I have carved out one week to discuss the use of generative AI for law. I have two guest speakers slated to discuss the issues on the first day of class. On the second day of class that week, it is my intention to provide two very short examples of AI responses to a very contained (and specially designed) legal problem. One will be from Chat GPT and one will be from a provider that is built specifically for Canadian law. From there, I’m going to have the students work in groups to analyze the outputs of each. Students will need to submit their analyses and we’ll have an in-class discussion about the students’ findings versus my own observations.
Marcelo Rodriguez, Assistant Librarian & Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian at the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, University of Arizona
Will you address generative AI in your legal research classroom(s) this upcoming academic year? Or have you already introduced it in previous years?
Absolutely! I already touched on this topic in the previous academic year. Earlier this year, when ChatGPT made a splash in everyone’s lives, our colleague, Sarah Gotschall made a LibGuide called, ChatGPT and Bing Chat: Generative AI Legal Research. This is a great source which I used to craft a discussion in class around this topic and just assess where the students were, their thoughts and present different angles and perspectives on Generative AI and the Law. When it comes to these emerging and cutting-edge topics, sometimes the students are way more exposed and knowledgeable than you are. Therefore, I strive for a more socratic method and to foster critical thinking. I want to ignite their sense of curiosity, listen to their views and thoughts, and bring it all back to legal research.
Could you briefly explain why you are introducing it to law students?
There is no doubt that Generative AI is the new kid on the block. However, if you dig a little deeper, you realize that this is yet another head in the longer body of conversations we have had for a while now: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Tech Law, Ethics, Bias in AI, etc. I’m convinced that it’s your job as a Legal Research Professor or any professor for that matter, to guide students and help them connect the dots.
If you are introducing generative AI, could you provide a brief summary of how you intend to introduce it to your students?
I will probably follow the same approach I did last academic year: discussion, real examples on the big screen and present different points of view regarding the impact of generative AI on the law. This approach is not set in stone and it can’t be. Inevitably, such a new conversation will continue to develop in multiple ways, some of which no one has foreseen at all. In my class, I want that novelty and rapid change to be my students’ catalyst for curiosity. However, as a professor, I strive to connect these fast changing developments and their sense of curiosity to larger conversations which will empower them to be resilient critical thinkers and researchers no matter the new shiny technology that comes along.
Dominique Garingan, Sessional Instructor, University of Calgary Faculty of Law
Will you address generative AI in your legal research classroom(s) this upcoming academic year? Or have you already introduced it in previous years?
I will be addressing generative AI in my advanced legal research (ALR) course this year. I did not address it in my class last year, as it was not as widespread then. Because the course is comprehensive and the class will be meeting once a week, I only have part of one meeting dedicated to the topic. However, I anticipate it coming up in other meetings and being part of ongoing discussions.
Generative AI is a subject that taps into both research competence and technological competence. Reflecting on the current legal environment, organizations that students are set to join once they graduate may be introducing or implementing AI policies and practices, conducting trials, and/or evaluating AI’s use cases, risks, and returns on investment in various legal processes or workflows. This may include the use of generative AI in legal research.
Introducing generative AI to students in an ALR course, alongside responsibilities surrounding technological competence, critical thinking, information evaluation, and accountability for errors and omissions, may help students as they enter professional practice, which is arguably becoming more exposed to AI, automation, and other assistive technologies. On a more holistic note, addressing generative AI in ALR may help students allay any personal concerns, detect the limitations and capabilities of the AI tools they will be exploring, determine the immense value they bring as practitioners, and help reframe legal research as a process involving higher-level and critical thinking.
If you are introducing generative AI, could you provide a brief summary of how you intend to introduce it to your students?
I am still thinking about the how and haven’t quite settled on things yet. Because of the evolving nature of AI (the technology) and the course context, I may focus class activities on AI outputs that may, given accountability and extreme caution, be involved in the preparation of research deliverables.
I’m hoping to do a brief lecture on critical evaluation criteria that may be used for evaluating outputs (errors, omissions, and limitations) and an exercise using open-access generative AI tools. For the exercise, I’m hoping to have a question on prompt engineering and another on evaluating gaps and limitations in AI outputs. Because generative AI is a great subject upon which to exercise critical thinking skills, I’m hoping we can do an open discussion or debrief afterward. Much of this will be time-dependent.
Matthew Renaud, Law Librarian, E.K. Williams Law Library, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba
Yes, the plan is to address/discuss AI in my Advanced Legal Research course this upcoming academic year. I am aiming to have both a productive discussion on the topic and incorporate it into one of the major student assignments.
Law students are already well aware of AI tools like ChatGPT (with many having begun to use them) and we are no longer have the luxury of ignoring this topic. The disruption of the legal profession and legal research by AI is well underway, so not acknowledging it would be doing a disservice to students taking my Advanced Legal Research course.
The tentative plan right now is to introduce generative AI in the classroom by highlighting pre-existing tools (such as ChatGPT) to showcase their impact on legal citation and legal research. This will likely take up a single, 3-hour seminar block, but I imagine an organic discussion will take place throughout the semester.
The common theme presented is that this is an ongoing, evolving discussion that reiterates the importance of critical thinking and analysis.
Wikipedia was black-listed for academic research in the early aughts as being unreliable and lacking authority. Now there is an understanding that while it cannot replace robust academic resources or steps in the research process, Wikipedia can be used in the same manner as a traditional encyclopedia by providing researchers with an introduction to an unfamiliar topic and identifying key concepts and terms to assist further searches on appropriate platforms to find authoritative sources. It is important to figure out where generative AI may supplement, but not replace, steps in the legal research process. While there are valid reasons for concern, it is important to consider areas of advancement as well.
Addressing generative AI as an assistive tool in the legal research classroom while maintaining focus on teaching foundational legal research skills to new legal researchers should preserve professional integrity and prepare them for a profession undergoing an overdue technological evolution.
Thank you Anette, Marcelo, Dominique, and Matthew for sharing your thoughts and ideas.
The Private Law Library Special Interest Group (PLL-SIG) met June 27 for its annual general meeting.
Guest speaker Sarah Sutherland spoke to the concept of legal data – what is it, where it is going, and how Artificial Intelligence fits into the picture. It was a thought-provoking talk on a little-discussed but often thought about topic, and the PLL-SIG Chairs thank Sarah for her time.
After the presentation, there was a round table discussion on various data initiatives amongst the firms.
We all seem to be in similar situations; we have data to track and collate, but no one knows exactly what to do with it!
The group also talked about how difficult it can be to demonstrate value through quantitative data, and the challenge of designing metrics for research services.
The meeting closed with ideas and activities for 2023-2024, including AI in law firms and competitive intelligence.
Please see the PLL-SIG Base Camp site for the complete minutes.
We are also looking for a new co-chair; if anyone is interested, please contact Marnie Bailey or Carolyn Petrie directly.
Marnie and Carolyn
CALL member Marcelo Rodriguez, the Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian at the University of Arizona Law School in Tucson, Arizona, recently wrote an article entitled "Ceci N’est Pas Un ChatGPT".
It originally appeared on Slaw.ca on June 8, 2023.
It is republished here with permission of the author.
As I finished teaching my class, Foreign, Comparative and International Legal (FCIL) Research, this past semester, a couple of students asked me about ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI).
Given the ubiquitous presence of these topics in everyone’s minds, I should have expected these questions. This is clearly what everyone is talking about and my students are no strangers to these conversations.
As someone who works on legal research with sources in multiple languages and from a wide range of countries, I identify myself as agnostic when it comes to technology. In the end, I decided to share with my students the several times when I had to call another human being or when I had to use a fax to receive the materials I needed as major technological breakthroughs in the FCIL field.
Joke aside, there are clearly some major challenges when you pursue FCIL research regardless of advances in technology and the impact it might have on research. To this day, researchers struggle to grasp the idea that not everything is available online. (The horror!).
Simply put, ChatGPT and the promise of AI run afoul this reality in FCIL research. Regardless of the jurisdiction, timeframe, topic of interest, there is a high chance of probability that some relevant information for your research won’t be available online.
As an informed and skillful researcher, you should be able to overcome these challenges and that’s precisely what we work on in my class. And even if the information is available online, you need to assess and evaluate the information very closely: when was it updated? Is it translated? Who translated it? What are the sources of this information?, etc.
I believe there are a few lessons to be learned from FCIL research which can be applied to the current ChatGPT race.
As I have said before multiple times, having a research strategy is paramount to your research. I recommend my students and all researchers to build a research strategy which is both intentional and flexible. As the well-informed researcher in charge, you should be able to construct a strategy which streamlines your intentions and serves as a map to help you navigate the sources and information you will find along the way.
ChatGPT will not help you do that. I have asked ChatGPT several “how to do research” questions and they all fluctuate between incredibly general to completely wrong.
Spending a few minutes crafting and thinking about the steps, keywords, tools, and sources you will need in your research strategy will help you immensely along your research path.
As mentioned before, another great lesson from FCIL research which can be applied to ChatGPT is that not everything is available online.
Everytime I mention this in front of a classroom or even in my office or zooming in while talking to a researcher, I get a glaring look into the void.
Yes, my friends, it’s 2023 and still to this day, there are big chunks of legal information simply not available online. As someone who specializes in legal systems from around the world and internationally, I encounter this challenge regularly.
However, I also know from experience that this situation also arises in several developed countries, where legal information from lower courts is simply not available in major legal research platforms.
As it has been reported several times, if ChatGPT can’t find the information online, sometimes it makes things up: fictional cases, legislation, articles, etc.
In the FCIL world, if we can’t find the information we need online, we rely on each other. FCIL librarians have developed networks, groups and list servs where information is shared and other law librarians from all over the world help each out when needed.
By mentioning some FCIL lessons, my intention is for all of us to conceive ChatGPT as a tool, indeed a powerful one depending on what you need.
However, it’s still just a tool among many others empowering researchers to do their work efficiently.
As an educator, I’m a big believer in sharing information, building transparent pipelines and allowing people to think critically and rationally about the steps they are taking in an informed way.
[Message from Alexia Loumankis, Reference & Research Librarian, Bora Laskin Law Library, University of Toronto]
The CALL/ACBD Vendor Liaison Committee (VLC) acts as a liaison between CALL/ACBD’s members and legal information vendors by gathering input from the CALL/ACBD membership to advocate, recommend, and propose solutions to common issues that relate to vendor relationships and products.
While the committee meets throughout the year to work on these initiatives, its annual meeting, held around the time of the association’s AGM, is open to all CALL/ACBD members.
The VLC held this meeting on June 12 with over 50 CALL members in attendance. The meeting gave the VLC co-chairs a chance to outline the outcomes of their activities over the past year and set out their goals for the coming year.
The VLC co-chairs updated attendees as to their most recent meeting with Thomson Reuters representatives with regard to the transfer of loose-leafs from ProView to Westlaw Edge Canada.
Attendees were able to ask questions and share information in a collegial environment. The meeting also gave the opportunity to the co-chairs to drum up interest and volunteers for an upcoming webinar on negotiation and a subcommittee to create a “best practice” or standards document for the implementation of AI for legal applications.
CALL/ACBD members with questions or concerns are welcome to contact VLC co-chairs Alexia Loumankis and Annette Demers. The VLC will continue to update CALL/ACBD members on its activities through the In Session members bulletin and the new CALL Member Forum.
[Submitted by Julie Lavigne, Legal Studies Librarian at Carleton University]
The Scholarships & Awards Committee met on June 14 to review the 2022-23 year and start planning projects for the year to come. This past year was fairly quiet, and we focused our energies on simply ensuring the available awards and scholarships were granted.
We had a couple of new members join us at this meeting, and so we started by reviewing the committee’s mandate and the awards and scholarships for which it is responsible.
These include an award for excellence in law librarianship, an award for an emerging leader, awards for outstanding contributions (eg, publications or research) to specific areas of the law, and scholarships and grants providing financial support to members pursuing professional development through courses, webinars, etc.
More information on all of the awards and scholarships available to members is on the CALL/ACBD website.
Only a couple of these awards and scholarships were granted this year, and the committee plans to work on ways to further promote the various awards and scholarships over the next year, which will hopefully increase applications.
We are also happy to welcome Jennifer Walker, who has volunteered to take over as Chair from Julie Lavigne, who has now finished her term as Executive Liaison (Member at Large) to the committee. Welcome, Jennifer!
We are always looking for new volunteers! Any CALL/ACBD member interested in joining the Scholarships & Awards Committee can email Jennifer at email@example.com.
As many of you know, the CALL-L Listserv will be retired soon. The CALL/ACBD Board of Directors is excited to announce the launch of the CALL/ACBD Member Forum and Inter-Library Loan Forum!
The Member Forum will provide CALL/ACBD members with new ways to connect and engage with colleagues and continue the important tradition of information sharing (including Inter-Library Loans) made possible through the Listserv.
The CALL/ACBD Member Forum is an unmoderated discussion forum fostering an interest in and discussion on law librarianship in Canada.
A wide range of law library topics is discussed: reference question assistance, value of online databases, digital innovations, interlibrary loan, and many more.
Participation in the Member Forum is exclusive to CALL/ACBD members and is a membership benefit.
NOTE: All current CALL/ACBD members will automatically receive access to the Member Forum.
For a limited time, CALL/ACBD will be extending temporary access to the CALL/ACBD Member Forum to non-members who are members of the CALL-L Listserv.
If you are a non-member and would like to confirm your interest in this special offer, please complete this form by Monday, July 31st, 2023.
How do I access the Member Forum and Inter-Library Loan Forum?
The Member Forum and Inter-Library Loan forum are located on the main menu of the CALL/ACBD website under the ‘Get Involved’ tab. To access the forums, you will need to login to your member account.
What is the purpose of the Inter-Library Loan forum?
The Inter-Library Loan forum is an exclusive page for members to request for reference material using the similar process to that being currently used on the List-serv. This forum is reserved exclusively to manage these requests and should not be used for any other kind of discussion topics.