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Chickasaw Nation Law Library at Oklahoma City University School of Law: Legal Research Award

Award Program Transition

The Chickasaw Nation Law Library launched the Legal Research Award program in the 2010- 2011 academic year.  Over the last 11 years, we have seen several hundred students earn the Award as well as the Advanced Legal Research Award.

Recently, however, we have reassessed the needs of the students as well as the demands of our librarians and have come to the difficult decision to start phasing out the Legal Research Award program. Attendance has been dropping each year and the law librarians have been busier than ever with more course instruction than when we began the Award program.  

What Does This Mean For You? Our in-person, live sessions for the Award class will come to an end this semester. For students who began law school in the fall of 2021 or earlier, the Award and Advanced Award may still be earned after this semester, and prior to your commencement, by completing the Award classes online with our many recorded Legal Research Award presentations. These are all available on our TWEN site for the Legal Research Award. If you watch a video and send Professor Turner an e-mail listing three or four things you learned from watching it, you will be able to earn a point. If there is an associated exercise with that video, you can earn an additional point by successfully completing the exercise. If you have 12 total points, you will receive the Legal Research Award, and if you have 24 total points, you will receive the Advanced Legal Research Award.

New Opportunities for Skills Training & Certification The following are opportunities for law students to improve their skills and earn credentials valued by legal employers:

ProCertas Legal Skills Certification is available to students who complete online learning modules in using technology in legal settings including Adobe PDF and Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. (

Westlaw’s Knowledge Center ( offers web-based courses on legal research, transactional & litigation skills, and other subjects.  Students who complete online training can earn up to six Westlaw certifications and can display the credentials on their Linkedin profile.  Additional trainings are available in legal soft skills, practice technology, and other subjects.  

Lexis Legal Research Certification ( provides access to online training modules to help students use the Lexis research platform.

Purpose and History of the Award

“Thank you for the opportunity to expand and polish my researching skills through a great program!” – James Biscone, 2015 Oklahoma City University Law Graduate

The purpose of the Legal Research Award is to provide law students and other members of the legal community with additional training in legal research skills and to supplement the research instruction that was provided during 1L year as part of the Legal Research and Writing courses. Some Award classes are offered as refreshers on basic research skills, but others focus on specialized areas of law. After working as summer associates, many students recognize the need for additional instruction in a number of areas covered in the Award classes, including using print resources, specific practice area resources, and low cost alternatives to the subscription databases. All Award classes are taught by librarians of the Chickasaw Nation Law Library at Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, reference librarians have taught over 150 classes unique to the Award program; in addition, over one-half of our currently enrolled students have started accumulating points toward the Award. We celebrated our 100th recipient in May 2014, D.J. Burrus, President of Merit Scholars. Mr. Burrus felt that participating in the Award program was a rewarding experience: “Not only did it help me understand the basics of various legal research strategies, but it also gave me an edge on nearly every assignment I’ve had so far in law school. Briefs, research projects, class notes, and even participating in moot court oral arguments benefited from the information I learned in the legal research classes.”

Students who earn the Legal Research Award will receive a digital badge, suitable for adding to a LinkedIn profile, for example, highlighting the classes successfully completed.

Please contact Le'Shawn Turner at with any questions about the Award program.

Earning the Award

Eligibility for Participation

All currently enrolled Oklahoma City University law students are eligible to participate in this program.

How to Earn the Legal Research Awards

a. Requirements for the Legal Research Award

Students must accumulate 12 points to receive the Legal Research Award (Award). Points may be earned at any time.

b. Requirements for the Advanced Legal Research Award

Beginning in Fall 2015, students may also earn an Advanced Legal Research Award after completing the Award. Students must accumulate 24 points total (i.e., 12 additional points after earning the first Award) to receive the Advanced Award. Points may be earned any time during law school.

c. Award Point Opportunities

Students will earn one (1) point for each of the following:

  • Attending an Award class in person (sign-in at class required);
  • Successful completion of an exercise, if an exercise is required for the class;
  • Attending a research instruction session taught by a reference librarian as requested by student organizations (sign-in at event required);
  • Attending special presentations or other opportunities as designated by the reference librarians; students will be informed by e-mail and social media of these opportunities (sign-in at event required);
  • Completing an approved CALI lesson (available on the Award TWEN site) and submitting the Certificate of Completion to the drop box on TWEN. A student may earn a maximum of four (4) points toward the Award by successfully completing approved CALI lessons (see Online Options for more details).

Students will earn 1 point for viewing an online screencast by a reference librarian (available on the Award TWEN site).  See Online Options for more details.

Notes: Points will not be awarded for attending vendor (Westlaw/Lexis) training classes, research classes taught as part of Legal Research and Writing, Advanced Legal Research, Oklahoma Legal Research for Practice, or Texas Legal Research for Practice. Each student may only earn points one (1) time for each Award class; attending the same Award class more than once will not accumulate additional points.


Online Options

a. Online Lessons (Screencasts) by Reference Librarians

The reference librarians have developed screencasts of presentations on different legal research topics. Law students will receive notice via e-mail and social media when new lessons are available and instructions on how to access the screencasts.

Students will receive one (1) point for viewing a recording. To receive that point, the student should e-mail Le'Shawn Turner,, and list two things he or she learned from the recording.

b. CALI Lessons -

Law students may register with The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) to view online legal class lessons for free – see a reference librarian for information on how to register with CALI. Note: Not all CALI lessons will receive points toward the Award.

CALI lessons that are approved for Award points will be accessible on the Award TWEN site under the “CALI Lessons” tab. A student may earn a maximum of four (4) points toward the Award by completing approved CALI lessons, based on the standards set forth below.

To receive credit toward the Award, students must attempt to answer all questions in the lesson and must answer at least eighty percent (80%) correctly. Students may repeat the same lesson as many times as needed in order to obtain a score of at least eighty percent (80%). Students must then submit their certificate of completion to the appropriate drop box on the Award TWEN site. Additional approved CALI lessons may be added to the TWEN site periodically throughout the school year, and law students will receive notice via e-mail and social media when new lessons are available.


Schedule & Notifications

All Award classes are 50 minutes in length. They will be offered on different days and times in order to accommodate students’ busy schedules. Award classes will also be included in the calendar on the Award TWEN site and on the law school’s master calendar. Additionally, students will be informed of upcoming Award opportunities on a regular basis via e-mail, Facebook (, and Twitter (@OCULawLibrary).

Location of Award Classes

Award classes will be held in Room 119 unless otherwise indicated.

Registering for Award Classes

Students should register for Award classes through TWEN. Attendance is limited to 20 participants per session, unless otherwise indicated.

To initially enroll in the Award program, students need to do the following:

  1. Sign in to Westlaw at
  2. Select the TWEN link on the top of the page.
  3. Select “Add A Course.”
  4. From the list, select the course “Legal Research Award.”
  5. Click the “Submit” button on the bottom of the page.

Sign-up sheets will be available approximately one (1) week before a scheduled class. Students can register for individual Award classes by doing the following:

  1. Sign in to Westlaw at
  2. Select the TWEN link on the top of the page.
  3. From the course list in TWEN, select “Legal Research Award.”
  4. Select the “Sign-Up Sheets” link on the left hand column.
  5. Select the desired course.
  6. Select the date and time.
  7. Click “Sign-Up.”


Timothy Gatton – Education: B.A. Cornell College; J.D. Oklahoma City University; M.L.I.S. University of Pittsburgh
Timothy is the Associate Director for Research and Instruction and is a 2010 graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law. While a student at Oklahoma City University, Timothy was actively involved in many student organizations, wrote a cooking column for the student newspaper, and worked as a reference assistant at the law library during his last three semesters of law school. Timothy worked as a reference intern at the University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Library while completing his studies at Pitt.

Le’Shawn Turner-- Education: B.B.A. Langston University; J.D. Oklahoma City University School of Law; M.B.A. Oklahoma City University; M.L.I.S. University of North Texas
Le’Shawn is an adamant believer in making a well-informed decision; therefore, RESEARCH is vital. She worked at the Oklahoma Supreme Court for 13 years in several capacities including as a Staff Attorney and Contracts Manager in the AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts). Le’Shawn is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), Mid-American Association of Law Libraries (MAALL), Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), and the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA). In her spare time she loves reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family.

Susan Urban -- Education: B.B.A. University of Central Oklahoma, M.L.I.S. University of Oklahoma, M.B.A. Oklahoma City University
Susan is the Assistant Director for Access and Collections and has worked in the law library since 2014.  Prior to coming to OCU, Susan worked for the Metropolitan Library System and at Langston University as a reference and instruction librarian.  Before changing careers to librarianship, she worked in retail management.  She serves on the executive board of the Oklahoma Library Association as its treasurer.

Jordan Piel -- Education: B.A., Oklahoma State University; M.A., Texas Tech University; M.L.I.S., University of Oklahoma
Jordan is the Access Services Librarian.  He obtained a B.A. in Classics from Oklahoma State University and afterward attended Texas Tech University where he taught Latin and earned an M.A. in Classics in 2014.  He earned his M.L.I.S. from the University of Oklahoma in May 2016.  He started out in libraries as a clerk in the Ponca City Public Library, and spent time working with the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City and the Fine Arts and Architecture Libraries at the University of Oklahoma.  He is currently earning a J.D. from Oklahoma City University.


800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271