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Critical Law Librarianship-LLNE / SNELLA Spring 2022 Meeting

Nicole Dyszlewski, RWU School of Law, Head of Reference Instruction and Engagement

Nicole P. Dyszlewski currently serves as the Head of Reference, Instruction, and Engagement at the RWU Law Library. She joined the staff in 2015 as the Research/Access Services Librarian having come from a public legislative library. She received a B.A. from Hofstra University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar and the Rhode Island State Bar. Prior to becoming a law librarian, Nicole practiced real estate law. Her areas of interest are mass incarceration, access to justice, law library leadership, and engagement

Jordan Jefferson, Yale Law School, Associate Director for Research and Instructional Services and Lecturer in Legal Research

Jordan Jefferson is the Associate Director for Research and Instructional Services and a Lecturer in Legal Research at the Yale Law School. She teaches Advanced Legal Research and Research Methods in American Law. In addition to teaching, Jefferson also provides research services to students, faculty, and members of the Yale community, manages the daily operation of the reference desk, and participates in design and creation of library outreach initiatives and exhibits.

Jefferson’s professional interests include space and transportation law, user design and usability, intellectual freedom and access to information, diversity and inclusivity initiatives, and emerging technologies.


Tanya M. Johnson, UConn School of Law, Reference Librarian

Tanya M. JohnsonTanya provides reference services, including research assistance and instruction, to all library patrons. She is also an adjunct professor, teaching Advanced Legal Research and Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession. She earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and her M.L.I.S. from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Prior to her library work, Tanya practiced law at large and mid-size law firms, specializing in First Amendment law and complex litigation, and served as a Deputy Law Clerk for a Justice on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Cate Kellett, Yale Law School, Catalog and Government Documents Librarian

Cate Kellett is a Catalog and Government Documents librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School.  Her responsibilities include creating and maintaining catalog records as well as providing reference services to students.  Cate earned her J.D. and M.A. in Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She earned her M.A. in Spanish Linguistics from the University at Albany and a B.A. in Spanish and History from Cornell University.

Cate is a member of the Wisconsin Bar, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) and the Southern New England Law Librarians Association (SNELLA).

Nicholas Mignanelli, Yale Law School, Research & Instructional Services Librarian and Lecturer in Legal Research

Nicholas Mignanelli is the Research & Instructional Services Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library and a Lecturer in Legal Research at Yale Law School. A critical legal information scholar, he has twice won the American Association of Law Libraries/LexisNexis Call for Papers (New Members Division). More recently, he organized “Critical Legal Research: The Next Wave,” a panel honoring Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic held at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting and published as a symposium issue of the Boston University Law Review Online. In recognition of his work, he was named to the Fastcase 50, an annual awards program that honors the top innovators in the legal field. He serves on the editorial boards of Law Library Journal and Legal Reference Services Quarterly.

Before coming to Yale in January 2021, Mignanelli was the Reference & Instructional Services Librarian and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Miami School of Law. He began his career as a Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library Fellow at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Mignanelli holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of Arizona School of Information and a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. A New Hampshire native, he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in political science and a minor in classics from the University of New Hampshire, where he was also awarded the Malcolm & Virginia Smith Endowed Prize. He is admitted to the bars of New Hampshire and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. 

Brian Quigley, Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University, Research and Reference Librarian

Brian Quigley is a research and reference librarian at the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University.  He received a J.D. from Washington & Lee and a MLIS from Southern Connecticut State University.  Prior to becoming a librarian, he practiced at an insurance defense firm.  His academic interests include legal research technologies, legal history, and jurisprudence. 

Justin Simard, Michigan State University College of Law, Assistant Professor

Justin Simard is an Assistant Professor of Law at the MSU College of Law where he teaches Professional Responsibility, Commercial Law, and Legal History and directs the Citing Slavery Project. Justin has a B.A. in History from Rice University, a J.D. and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania, has been a fellow at the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy and at the Northwestern Center for Legal Studies. His work has appeared in the Buffalo Law ReviewLaw and History ReviewLaw and Social Inquiry, and the Stanford Law Review.

Dawn Smith, Yale Law School, Head of Acquisitions

Dawn Smith is the Head of Acquisitions at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School. Previously, she served for nearly a decade in several public and technical service librarian roles at Loyola Law School - Los Angeles. She is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and has served on several committees, caucuses, and special interest sections of that organization, including five years on the executive board of the Black Caucus of AALL. During her tenure as Chair of the Black Caucus, the caucus changed its status from a caucus to a special interest section. She then went on to serve as the inaugural immediate past chair of the Black Law Librarians Special Interest Section of AALL. She is also the current chair of the LLNE Scholarship Committee. 

She has presented or been a panelist at various library and information management conferences on topics such as integrated library systems enhancements, library acquisitions workflows, print and electronic serials processing training, hiring and management issues, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in collection development, hiring practices and recruitment and retention initiatives.  Dawn also serves on several Yale-specific committees, including the Yale Law School Staff Anti-Racism Working Group; the Lillian Goldman Law Library Anti-Racism Task Force; and the Yale University Library Advisory Committee on Library Staff Diversity and Inclusion, where she serves as the co-chair of the recruitment and retention subcommittee. 

Dawn holds a BS in Political Science from Texas A&M University-Commerce, as well as her MLIS in Library Science from the University of North Texas.  A Texas girl born and raised, Dawn is still trying to adjust to life as a New Englander; the cold winters make her wish for warmer days, but the warm people she has found in Connecticut make her proud to call the region home.

Yasmin Sokkar Harker, CUNY Law, Student Liaison Librarian and Law Library Professor

Yasmin Sokkar Harker is the Student Liaison Librarian and Law Library Professor at CUNY Law. Prior to joining CUNY, she was a reference librarian at Hofstra School of Law and has also held various positions in the legal publishing industry. Her research interests include legal research pedagogy, critical information literacy, legal research and social justice, and information access issues. She received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University, and Master’s Degree in library and information studies from the University at Buffalo. Professor Sokkar Harker is a member of the librarian national honor society, Beta Phi Mu.

Mike VanderHeijden, Yale Law School, Head of Reference and Lecturer in Legal Research

Mike VanderHeijden is a reference librarian at Yale Law School’s Lillian Goldman Law Library, where he’s worked since 2011. He coordinatesMike VanderHeijden reference services for the law library and teaches a class on corporate legal research. Before coming to Yale, he held a variety of positions including Research Services manager at a DC law firm, advocate for people with disabilities, house painter, and organic farm volunteer. He currently spends too much time on weekends doing his own house painting and gardening. He’s got an MLS from the University of Maryland, a JD from Northeastern, and a BA in political science and environmental studies from Muhlenberg College.    

Ronald Wheeler, Boston University School of Law, Director of Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries, Associate Professor Law and Legal Research

Ronald Wheeler, a recognized leader in the area of legal research instruction, has served in various law library management roles at law schools across the country, including Suffolk University Law School, the University of San Francisco School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, and the University of New Mexico School of Law. Wheeler has taught legal research in various contexts including in stand-alone first year legal research courses, upper division courses, online, and in study abroad programs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Linz, Austria.

Professor Wheeler’s scholarship focusing on legal research techniques, legal research instruction, and algorithm-driven search engines has gained him national attention, and he is regularly called upon to speak about innovations in teaching and other legal research-related topics. He is also a well-known author and speaker about issues related to law library management and the role of the law library in legal education. Wheeler penned several installments of Diversity Dialogues, a regular feature in Law Library Journal which aims to engage scholarly conversation on issues of diversity and inclusion in librarianship and the legal profession. In 2014, Wheeler was named to the Lawyers of Color “50 under 50” list of minority attorneys making an impact on legal education.

During 2016-17, Professor Wheeler served as president of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), becoming the first African-American male president of AALL. He currently chairs the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Awareness Special Committee of AALL and serves on the George Strait Scholarship and Fellowship Committee.  He is a member of the Law Librarians of New England (LLNE), serves on the executive board of the New England Law Library Consortium (NELLCO). He is an out and proud member of the Research Crits Caucus of AALL.