Legal Research

Professor Genesis Agosto

Genesis Agosto Assistant Professor of Law Library & Reference Librarian

Genesis Agosto joined the Schmid Law Library faculty in August 2022 as an Assistant Professor of Law Library and Reference Librarian. She received her B.A. in History and Spanish from DePaul University. She was the first student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to complete the Joint J.D./M.A. in History through the College of Law and the Department of History within the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida, School of Library and Information Science.

In addition to her reference duties, Professor Agosto co-teaches the legal research component of the First Year Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program. She is also the faculty advisor to the Asian-Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) and the Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA).

Professor Agosto is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the Mid-American Association of Law Libraries (MAALL), the American Library Association (ALA), the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA), and the American Bar Association (ABA).

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David Dirgo Adjunct Law Professor

David Dirgo is a Career Law Clerk at the Nebraska Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.

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Sydney Hayes headshot

Sydney Hayes Lecturer, Assistant Director of the First Amendment Clinic

Sydney Hayes joined the faculty in 2023 as the Assistant Director of the First Amendment Clinic.  Prior to joining the University, she was a commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution associate at Husch Blackwell in Omaha, Nebraska.  She has experience in litigation involving complex constitutional issues and business disputes, among others.  In addition to her work with the University she continues to practice at the Law Office of Daniel Gutman.  Her practice focuses on civil rights, election, and ballot initiative issues.  

Sydney received bachelors of arts degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of South Dakota.  She graduated with highest distinction and Order of the Coif from the University of Nebraska College of Law.  

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Professor Rich Leiter

Richard A. Leiter Director of the Schmid Law Library and Professor of Law

Richard Leiter is the Director of the Schmid Law Library and Professor of Law. Although he assumed his current position in 2000, he had worked on the UNL law library staff years ago (1986-1988) as Public Services Librarian. He earned his undergraduate degree (with honors) in 1976 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, his J.D. in 1981 from Southwestern University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review, and his MLIS in 1986 from the University of Texas at Austin.

Before coming to the College of Law, he was Associate Dean of Information Technology & Services and Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. and Library Director and Associate Professor at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Prior to that he held various positions in both law firm and academic libraries on both coasts.

Professor Leiter has written widely on law library, legal research, and legal information technology issues. His most recent book, National Survey of State Laws, now in its eighth edition, is widely held by library reference collections and was named An Outstanding Resource by the New York Public Library. The seventh edition, published by WM S Hein & Co., Inc was released in January 2016 along with a database that contains all editions. In 2003 it won the prestigious Andrews Bibliographical Award from the American Association of Law Libraries and has been cited three times by the United States Supreme Court. He also recently published Landmark Supreme Court Cases, 2d Editions, which he co-authored with his friend and mentor, Professor Roy Mersky of the University of Texas Tarlton Law Library. He also has published, with Roy Mersky, two editions of a reader on law librarianship called, Spirit of Law Librarianship. 

He is an active scholar and has contributed to books, the Law Library Journal and numerous other law library publications. Professor Leiter is also the co-founder of the Spirit of Law Librarianship Award for Public Service, an award founded in 1991 that recognizes law librarians for their work serving their communities. The award was originally funded by royalties from the book, Spirit of Law Librarianship, a widely regarded reader in law librarianship, now in its second edition. 

In 2014 Prof. Leiter was named to the Fastcase 50, in recognition of his pioneering work in citation analysis for use in online legal database search algorithms. In 2012 he was included as one of the Top 50 Law Professors Who Use Twitter. For many years he hosted an irregular podcast, Law Librarian Conversations. 

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Professor Matt Novak

Matthew S. Novak Professor of Law Library & Reference Librarian

Matt Novak is a professor and reference librarian at the Marvin and Virginia Schmid Law Library of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law. Prior to joining the Schmid Law Library, he was an Assistant Public Defender with the Missouri Public Defender System. In addition to his reference duties, Professor Novak co-teaches the legal research component of the First Year Legal Research and Writing Course. He has lectured on legal research and legal information technology issues. Professor Novak received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his J.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law, and his M.A. in Library Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a member of the Nebraska Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries.

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Professor Stefanie Pearlman

Stefanie Pearlman Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Professor of Law Library & Reference Librarian

Professor Pearlman is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a professor of law library, and reference librarian. She teaches legal research in the First Year Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research course and serves as the faculty advisor to the Nebraska OUTLaw, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Muslim Law Students Association and Disability Law Caucus student groups.  She also runs the Schmid Research Fellowship Program.

Professor Pearlman is active in the American Association of Law Libraries and the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries. She is also a Commissioner on the Nebraska Access to Justice Commission.

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Professor Sandy Placzek

Sandra B. Placzek Associate Director and Professor of Law Library

Professor Placzek joined the Schmid Law Library faculty in October 1998 as an Assistant Professor and Reference Librarian. She received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1986, her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1993, and a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas-Austin in 1995. Before coming to Nebraska, Professor Placzek worked as the Acquisitions/Reference Librarian at the Drake Law Library.

During the first half of 2000, Professor Placzek served as the Interim Director of the law library; in October 2000 she was promoted to the Head of Public Services. In December 2003, she was promoted to Associate Professor of Law Library. In 2007, she was promoted to Professor of Law Library. In July 2010 she was appointed Associate Director.

In addition to her reference duties, Professor Placzek co-teaches the legal research component of First Year Legal Research and Writing, supervises the reference librarians and public services staff, and is responsible for the law library acquisitions.

Professor Placzek is a member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the Mid-American Association of Law Libraries (MAALL), the American Library Associate (ALA), the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). She has served as the co-editor and then editor of MAALL Markings (newsletter of the Mid-American Association of Law Libraries).

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Rachel Tomlinson Dick

Rachel Tomlinson Dick Lecturer, Director of the Housing Justice Clinic

Rachel Tomlinson Dick joined the College of Law in 2022 as a Housing Justice Fellow, helping to develop and institute the Housing Justice Clinic in its inaugural year. In 2023, Rachel was named Director of the Housing Justice Clinic, which focuses on serving vulnerable Nebraska families facing housing-related legal issues.

Rachel earned her J.D. with highest distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in May 2022, obtaining concentrations in Constitutional Law and Litigation. During law school, she provided over 200 hours of pro bono service to the Tenant Assistance Project, and served as a research assistant to Professor Ryan Sullivan, contributing to scholarship focused on landlord-tenant law in Nebraska. Rachel was also named the Theodore C. Sorensen Fellow, received the Woods & Aitken Outstanding Student Award, and served as member of the Nebraska Law Review. As a law student, Rachel presented at a White House and U.S. Department of Justice event focused on law schools’ contributions to eviction prevention work, and had the opportunity to argue an appeal on behalf of a Civil Clinic client in front of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

A Nebraska native, Rachel earned her B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology, and French from University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2010. Before attending law school, her work primarily focused on music and community activism, including helping to start Omaha Girls Rock Camp, and co-founding a boutique, not-for-profit record label centered on combatting sexism in the music industry.  

In her free time, Rachel enjoys playing guitar, doing crossword puzzles, working on craft projects, being outdoors, and spending time with her six-year-old daughter.

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