Charles R. Dyer Consulting

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Charles R. Dyer

After thirty-one years of service in academic and public institutions, with twenty-eight years as a law library director, Charles R. Dyer retired in August 2005 in order to pursue scholarly writing and consulting in the areas of expertise that he developed during his career. Mr. Dyer combines a unique understanding of law, information science, philosophy, cognitive science, and cognitive linguistics with a well-honed understanding of both the best methods and the difficulties of practical application of the latest theories in these disciplines. Mr. Dyer consults primarily with law libraries and court systems, but is open to any role where he can make a contribution.

During his eighteen years as Director of the San Diego County Public Law Library, Mr. Dyer instituted many new programs that achieved national renown. The library built an award-winning website, one of the first that was aimed at both self-represented litigants and the trained legal community. Working with his excellent staff, he fostered the development of several classes for self-represented litigants in a variety of areas, including basic legal research, use of forms, using computers in research, civil procedure before trial, appellate procedure, and working in specific subject areas. The library staff also trained attorneys and court personnel and eventually began to train librarians at other libraries, under a federally funded grant. The Library was recognized as the 2004 Distinguished Legal Organization by the San Diego County Bar Association.

Mr. Dyer himself has won several awards during his career, most notably the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award, the highest award given by the American Association of Law Libraries. It is a lifetime achievement award that he received on the occasion of his retirement in 2005. That year, he also won the Bernard E. Witkin, Esq., Award from the Law Library Justice Foundation of San Diego County and the first Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Southern California Association of Law Libraries. In all three instances, the awards noted his strong service both in serving self-represented litigants and in legislative advocacy for public law libraries.

Areas of Expertise

  • Working with self-represented litigants. Self-represented litigants come with a variety of issues and barriers as they try to interact with the justice system. Modern cognitive linguistics has much to offer with regard to understanding the differing frames of reference and logical methods that self-represented litigants bring to the process. Current best practices still have limitations when dealing with the most difficult cases. A good theoretical understanding can aid any law library or court system in devising ways to handle such cases. Mr. Dyer brings both academic theory and research and over twenty years of practical experience working with self-represented litigants and devising programs to serve them. For more information, please click on "Consulting Practice: Self-Represented Litigation" on the navigation bar in the left column.

  • Legislative Activities. There are two components to legislative advocacy. First, you must build support for your cause so that you gain sufficient political respect that legislators will listen to you. Second, you must learn how to talk to legislators and their staffs. In addition to employing the best practices used in these two processes, you should understand the different communication styles that each entails. Mr. Dyer has over twenty-five years experience developing both local political support and lobbying legislators. He has also held workshops and training sessions for various groups interested in legislative advocacy for over fifteen years, mostly for non-profit causes and those advocating for governmental services. For more information, please click on "Consulting Practice: Legislative Advocacy" on the navigation bar in the left column.

  • Public Law Libraries. Public law library administration requires a wide variety of talents and expertise, including library organization, board relations, administration, budgeting, staff development and personnel, goal setting, marketing, fund raising, legislative advocacy, and cooperation and negotiation with governmental and other agencies. In addition to his eighteen years of heralded service as a public law library administrator, Mr. Dyer has written extensively and lectured on public law library administration and its various facets. For more information, please click on "Consulting Practice: Public Law Libraries" on the navigation bar in the left column.

Current Organizational Responsibilities

  • Self Represented Litigation Network Mr. Dyer currently serves as a member of the Management Team, the Research Working Group, the Forms Working Group, the Strategy and Outreach Group, and the Librarians Sub-Group of the last group. "The Self Represented Litigation Network is an open and growing grouping of organizations and working groups dedicated to fulfilling the promise of a justice system that works for all, including those who can not afford lawyers and are therefore forced to go to court on their own. The Network brings together courts and access to justice organizations in support of innovations in services for the self represented." The SRLN is hosted by the National Center for State Courts and is funded by several national organizations and court systems.

  • American Association of Law Libraries. In July 2008, Mr. Dyer finished his service as the first AALL Official Representative to the Self Represented Litigation Network. He still serves on the Joint Pro Bono Committee. "The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information. Today, with over 5,000 members, the Association represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies." The AALL is one of the national organizations that funds the SRLN.

  • Washington State Access to Justice Board. Since November 20120, Mr. Dyer has been serving in a consulting capacity to the Washington State Access to Justice Board as the Program Manager for its Pro Se Project. ("Pro Se" is the Legal Latin term for sefl represented litigant.) Currently, the Project is translating Washington State's family law court forms into plain language.


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