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Jason R. Sowards

Associate Director for Public Services
Lecturer in Law

Jason Sowards oversees all public services operations in the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library at Vanderbilt, including circulation, interlibrary loan, document delivery, and stacks maintenance. Professor Sowards also coordinates the research component of the first-year legal research program and teaches courses in specialized legal research. In addition to his teaching and public services responsibilities, he evaluates and promotes the law library‘s electronic resources and manages the library‘s online presence.  Professor Sowards is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries, both at the committee and Special Interest Section levels, and the Southeastern Association of Law Libraries, having served on several committees as well as its executive board.  He was recently elected as Vice President/President-Elect of SEAALL.  He has spoken at the AALL and SEAALL annual meetings on legal research instruction and assessment. He has also served in a faculty advisory capacity for both Westlaw and Lexis. Before coming to Vanderbilt in 2011, he served as a research services librarian and adjunct professor of law at Wake Forest University School of Law.

Research Interests

Administrative law, legislation, legal research instruction, legal information literacy, legal education, instructional design, e-learning and distance education

Representative Publications

  • “Teaching to the Legal Research Process,” LexisNexis Southeast Academic Account Executives, July 23, 2014
  • “Basic Legal Research:  An Information Literacy and Metacognitive Approach,” Cornell Law School, May 30, 2014
  • "Measuring Student and Instructor Performance," at the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) 2013 annual meeting, Seattle, Washington, July 16, 2013, Wake Forest University (with co-presenter Kate Irwin-Smiler)
  • "Bespoke Librarian: How to Craft Made-to-Order Faculty Services," at the South Eastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries (SEAALL) Annual Meeting, April 19, 2013 (with co-presenters Pam Brannon, Maureen Eggert, and Caroline Osborne)
  • "Effective Research in a Rapidly-Changing World of Resources," as part of Legal Writing Never Gets Erased: Best Practices for Complaints, Answers, Motions, Responses, and Appellate Briefs, Tennessee Bar Center, March 22, 2013
  • "The Kentucky Family Court System & Domestic Relations Commissioners," in Kentucky Domestic Relations Practice, University of Kentucky Office of Continuing Legal Education (1st ed. 2006, 2d ed. 2012)
  • "Specialized Legal Research Courses: Administrative Law," 29 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 101 (2010)
  • Guide to North Carolina Legal and Law-Related Materials, American Association of Law Libraries, Government Documents Special Interest Section, State Documents Bibliography Series, 2010 revised edition (with Nichelle Perry and Donna Nixon)
  • "Incorporating Real World Research into Legal Writing Courses," Legal Writing Institute Workshop, Wake Forest Law School, December 3, 2010 (with Barbara Lentz)
  • "ALR 2.0: When Advanced Legal Research Met Wiki," 12(8) AALL Spectrum 8 (2008) (with Sally A. Irvin)