Professor Rich Leiter

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

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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. 


Advanced Legal Research Law 733/G (3 cr hr)
Advanced exposure to the tools of legal research: the nature of and philosophies surrounding organization and production of the materials themselves.


A Close Encounter: People to People International's Legal Research and Library Science Delegation Visits China,  13:6 AALL Spectrum 10 (April 2009)

Who Gets to be the Expert? Legal Research Skills Certification in Legal Education,  28 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 271 (2009)

The Missing Lawyer Skill,  12:9 AALL Spectrum 22 (July 2008)

Reflections on Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science,  95:3 Law Library Journal 411 (Summer 2003)

Reorganize AALL's Membership Structures for More Effective Representation of Members,  6:5 Spectrum 4 (February 2002)

Planning for the Inevitable,  20:9 Legal Information Alert 6 (October 2001) with Paul Morrison

AALL Exhibits 2001: An Annual Review,  20:7 Legal Information Alert 5 (July/August 2001)

Twenty Years Ago…A Reminiscence, Not a Database Report,  20:6 Legal Information Alert 9 (June 2001)

The Use of Law Reviews in Modern Legal Research: The Computer Didn't Make Me Do It!,  90:1 Law Library Journal 59 (Winter 1998)


Landmark Supreme Court Cases, 2017 Edition. (New York: Facts on File, 2017)

Landmark Supreme Court Cases,Second Edition. (New York: Facts on File, 2011)

National Survey of State Laws,Sixth Edition, Editor (Detroit: The Gale Group, 2008)

The Spirit of Law Librarianship,Second Edition. Co-Editor with Prof. Roy Mersky (Chicago: Alert Publications, Inc., 2004)

National Survey of State Laws,1st Ed. (1993), 2nd Ed. (1997), 3rd Ed. (1999), 4th Ed. (2003)

Spirit of Law Librarianship,1991 with Roy Mersky

Use of Law Reviews in Modern Legal Research: The Computer Didn't Make Me Do It!,90:1 LLJ 59 (Winter 1998)

Book Chapters

Law Librarians' Roles in Modern Law Libraries Academic Law Library Director Perspectives: Case Studies and Insights, 2015

Chapters 9 & 10, Fundamentals of Legal Research Ninth Edition. Barkan, Mersky & Dunn (New York: Foundation Press 2009)

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Frederick Charles Hicks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Law Librarianship, 2020 by the Academic Law Libraries Section of the American Association of Law Libraries  

Roy M Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award for Public Service, 2019  

Kenneth J Hirsch Distinguished Service Award, 2010, for Outstanding Contributions to Computing Services in Law Libraries by the Computing Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries  

2003 Winner of the Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award,  AALL


Host and founder of “Law Librarian Conversations,” a monthly podcast/radio program on BlogTalkRadio  The podcasts 41 episodes ran from 2008-2017 and boasted over 83,000 listens and downloads.


In 2020 Professor Leiter was elected chair of the Law Libraries and Legal Information Section of the Association American Law Schools  


M.L.I.S., 1986, University of Texas, Austin
J.D., 1981, Southwestern University School of Law
B.A., with Honors, 1976, University of California, Santa Cruz

Areas of Expertise


Director and Professor of Law at the Schmid Law Library, 2000

Media Appearances