The Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture was established in 2004 to commemorate the memory of W.A.F.P. Steiner LLM (London), MA (Cantab), FLA, of Gray's Inn, Barrister–in–Law, an eminent law librarian of national and international stature. Willi Steiner was a significant figure in the law library profession and in BIALL. He was formerly librarian of two great law libraries, the Squire Law Library at the University of Cambridge (1959–1968) and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London (1968–1981).
Willi Steiner was a founder member of BIALL, having chaired its inaugural meeting and was a member of the Executive Committee from 1969–1975. He chaired several committees: on Cataloguing and Classification from 1974–1980; on Crown Court Libraries from 1972–1976; and on Law Library Provision from 1976–1977. He was responsible for BIALL's tenth annual conference in Cambridge in 1979, hosted at Sidney Sussex College and attended by 98 members out of a total membership of 220. Willi contributed the chapter on foreign law to BIALL's Manual of Law Librarianship edited by Betty Moys which became the leading work for the profession when it was published in 1976. He also became the first President to be invited from amongst the membership and served from 1985–1988. Life membership was conferred on him for outstanding and distinguished service.
Amongst many professional achievements during his career, Willi Steiner was editor of the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, an active member of both the Society of Public Teachers of Law and the International Association of Law Libraries, a Council member of the United Kingdom National Committee of Comparative Law and was consultant (and subsequently a visiting professor) at the European University Institute (EUI) in Fiesole. He created two classifications schemes during his career, one for the EUI and another for the Squire Law Library and this remains in use today. Several accounts of Willi Steiner's life and work have been published in the Law Librarian and in Legal Information Management.Footnote 1
Throughout his career Willi Steiner was devoted to law librarianship and worked to build ever closer links between librarianship and the legal profession. This series of memorial lectures are on topics chosen to reflect his role in law and librarianship. To date each of the lectures has been published in Legal Information Management.
The Memorial Lecture Series
The Inaugural Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture was delivered at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London on 12th May 2005, by the Law Commissioner, Professor Hugh Beale, QC, FBA, of the University of Warwick. The title of his lecture was “European Civil Code Movement and the Common Frame of Reference of the EU”.Footnote 2
The Second Memorial Lecture was given at the 2007 BIALL Conference in Sheffield by Adrian Dale of Creatifica Associates, entitled “The Architecture of an Information Revolution”.Footnote 3
This year, the Third Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Graham Virgo, Professor of English Private Law at the University of Cambridge and Senior Tutor at Downing College. His lecture addressed the following: “Why Study Law?: the Relevance of Legal Information to the Law Student. Researcher and Practitioner”. This issue of LIM opens with Professor Virgo's lecture.